In case you missed it, Sam and I held a video chat this afternoon, and you can go back and watch it in the archives. Otherwise, here are a few notes and links from the day.
• Jerry Crasnick reported the contract details of Eric Chavez’s minor league deal with the Yankees: He’ll make $1.5 million if he makes the big league roster, and he has the chance to earn another $4 million or so based on plate appearances and time on the roster.
• Joel Sherman reports that the Yankees managed to void their minor league contract with reliever Luis Vizcaino after he was injured this winter. Perhaps most interesting is Sherman reporting that the Yankees’ scouts had Vizcaino steadily hitting the mid-90s and thought he was a legitimate candidate to make the roster.
• Kevin Long expects most of the Yankees lineup to be better in 2011 than in 2010. “It would be hard for Cano and Swisher to duplicate what they did last year,” Long told ESPNNewYork. “If they stay even close to that, great. But I expect the rest of them to do better.”
• Frankie Piliere is high on the Yankees top prospects, ranking Jesus Montero (4), Manny Banuelos (13), Gary Sanchez (34), Dellin Betances (44) and Andrew Brackman (60) among the Top 100 prospects in baseball.
• FanGraphs likes the Red Sox signing of Alfredo Aceves as a low-risk move with some upside.
• It almost goes without saying, but Bryan Hoch took a look at Michael Young as a potential trade target for the Yankees and found that it’s not a good fit.
• Good news for former Yankees pitcher Ross Ohlendorf: He won his arbitration hearing.
• Bad news for Ohlendorf: He’s still with the Pirates.
Decisions to be named later • 01.26.11
When today’s guest post suggestion first popped into my email inbox, I remember immediately trying to come up with Brian Cashman’s most embarrassing prospect loss. Mike Lowell, maybe? That’s a bad one, but it also came more than a decade ago. Most recently, Ben’s right on the money: Cashman has traded away young players who became solid big leaguers, but no stars.
Giving away C.J. Henry for Bobby Abreu was a steal. So was landing Nick Swisher for a package built around Jeff Marquez. When the Yankees traded for Alex Rodriguez, the PTBNL was Joaquin Arias, who actually had quite a bit of prospect clout at the time. As Ed pointed out, Dioner Navarro and Brandon Claussen never developed into stars. I’ll add that neither did John-Ford Griffin, who was traded barely a year after being a first-round draft pick.
It’s hard to argue that Cashman has generally known which prospects to keep and which to trade, but to be fair, some of Cashman’s recent prospect dealing is still to be determined. Four trades that standout to me as to-be-judged-later:
July 26, 2008
Fighting to make the playoffs, Cashman made a deal with the Pirates to add outfielder Xavier Nady and left-handed reliever Damaso Marte.
The cost: Jose Tabata, Ross Ohlendrof, Jeff Karstens and Dan McCutchen
There’s no chance this trade will ever be a positive for the Yankees. They missed the playoffs in 2008, Nady was hurt in 2009 and Marte has been a disappointment (aside from the ’09 playoffs). This was a bad trade for the Yankees, the only question is how bad. It hinges on Ohlendorf to some extent — he’s proven to be a solid starter, might never step to the next level — but it mostly hinges on Tabata. Always highly touted, Tabata’s stock had taken a hit when the Yankees traded him, and he bounced back with the Pirates. Tabata hit .299/.346/.400 last season. For a Yankees team light on upper-level outfielders, he’d be a nice option in 2011.
December 8, 2009
Uncertain about Austin Jackson’s ultimate upside, the Yankees worked a three-way trade to add Curtis Granderson as a short-term and long-term solution in center field.
The cost: Austin Jackson, Ian Kennedy and Phil Coke
Whether the trade was worth it will depend on whether Granderson keeps making the strides. Whether Cashman gave up the wrong prospects will almost certainly depend on Kennedy and Jackson. There’s no question the Yankees sold low on Kennedy, who was one year removed from a brutal showing in New York, and only a few months removed from surgery. Kennedy pitched well next season, and could help in their current situation. Did the Yankees give up too soon? Jackson was a Rookie of the Year candidate, but high strikeout total and relatively low power numbers were significant reasons the Yankees were willing to lose him. There’s was never any doubt Jackson would be a solid big leaguer, the question was — and is — whether he can take the next step to become a star.
December 22, 2009
Looking to add stability to the back of the rotation, the Yankees traded for Javier Vazquez, who was coming off a career year and had always — except his one previous year in New York — been a steady source of 200-plus innings.
The cost: Melky Cabrera, Mike Dunn and Arodys Vizcaino
Short-term, the trade didn’t work especially well for either team. Dunn and Boone Logan pretty much negated one anther, while both Cabrera and Vazquez were significant disappointments. The long-term impact of this trade will depend on Vizcaino, who was considered the Yankees top lower-level pitching prospect, ranked as high as No. 3 overall in the Yankees organization by Baseball America. There’s raw talent, but Vizcaino is young enough that there’s significant risk between now and his potential big league debut. His first year with the Braves was cut short by injury, though not before he had a dominant 14-start stretch in Low A.
July 30, 2010
Needing to upgrade the bench and add some outfield depth, the Yankees made a move for fourth outfielder Austin Kearns, who was hitting .272/.354/.419 at the time in Cleveland.
The cost: Zach McAllister
Kearns was a huge asset for a brief time with the Yankees — at a time when injury meant he was a key part of the lineup — but he ultimately finished with awful numbers in New York. To get him, the Yankees gave up a starting pitcher who was having the first truly bad season of his career. McAllister had been a highly touted pitcher, one of the high points even in the Yankees deep system, but he had a 5.09 ERA in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at the time of the trade. Clearly McAllister isn’t missed right now — too many other pitchers have taken significant steps forward — but if McAllister bounces back, he could certainly be a player the Yankees regret losing.
Yankees farm update: Pittsburgh edition • 08.25.10
It’s been more than two years since Ross Ohlendorf was a part of the Yankees organization — which is more time than he actually spent in the Yankees organization — but I still find that I click on stories about him and pay attention when his highlights are on television. He’s an interesting, easy-to-like guy who was part of two significant Yankees trades. When his name pops up, you notice.
It looks like Ohlendorf is going to miss the rest of the year because of a strain behind his right shoulder. It some ways, it puts him out of his misery. He has a perfectly respectable 4.04 ERA, but he’s 1-11 as the Pirates ace.
The other guys sent to Pittsburgh in the Nady/Marte trade:
• Dan McCutchen is tonight’s Pirates starter. He has solid Triple-A numbers, but a 6.65 ERA in the big leagues. He’s pitched 16 times — seven starts — and has allowed 11 home runs.
• Jeff Karstens was supposed to be tonight’s starter, but he’s being skipped because of arm fatigue. He has a 4.98 ERA, but twice as many wins as Ohlendorf.
• Jose Tabata is playing well in his first big league season. He’s hitting .310 with three homers. He also hit three homers in Triple-A giving him six for the year. Most he ever hit in a season with the Yankees was five.
The other guys brought to New York in the Randy Johnson trade:
• Steven Jackson made six big league appearances this year but ultimately lost his spot on the Pirates 40-man roster. He has a 4.01 ERA in Triple-A, getting a lot of ground ball outs but not many strikeouts.
• Alberto Gonzalez is hitting .276 as a utility man with the Nationals. He has 123 at-bats and four RBI. Ramiro Pena has 121 at-bats and 16 RBI.
• Luis Vizcaino hasn’t pitched since last year.
Since we’re on the subject of the Pirates and former Yankees:
• Chan Ho Park has pitched seven times for Pittsburgh: 7.2 IP, 11 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 4 K. He’s allowed two homers.
• Randy Winn is hitting .250 with three home runs and four stolen bases as a part-time player in St. Louis.
• Mark Melancon has made three scoreless appearances since joining Triple-A Round Rock in the Astros minor league system. Jimmy Paredes is hitting .290/.313/.409 in Class A with the Astros. It’s almost identical to his .282/.312/.408 pre-trade line with Charleston.
• Zach McAllister was assigned to Triple-A Columbus in the Indians system. In his debut last night he went 6 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 5 K. All five runs came in the second inning.