The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:

Friday, December 21, 2012

NY Post: Yankees seeking righty-hitting OF

Asked how the search for a right-handed hitting outfielder to go with left-handed hitters Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Ichiro is moving, Brian Cashman didn’t sound like a man on the verge of filling the need.

“It’s not deep,’’ the general manager said of the free-agent pool and trade market.

If free-agent Scott Hairston continues to look for a two-year deal it’s unlikely he will get it from the Yankees, who have signed five free agents this winter and gave just one — Ichiro — a two-year contract. Free-agent Cody Ross is also looking for a multi-year pact.

As for the trade market, the names are enticing, but the dollars and years remaining on contracts put the Yankees out of play.

Minnesota may move Josh Willingham who hit 35 homers and drove in 110 runs last year and has two years and a combined $14 million remaining. And the Twins would likely want something better than what the Yankees could offer.

The Yankees have long liked Colorado’s Michael Cuddyer, but he is owed $21 million for 2013 and 2014. He is a .260 career hitter with a .795 OPS.

Vernon Wells could play the role Andruw Jones filled the last two years, but the Angels would have to swallow most of the astonishing $42 million across two years remaining on his contract.

Hairston and Willingham are the only two names above that interest me, but since Hairston wants a second year and since Willingham is signed for 2014 and would cost talent to acquire they probably are not feasible options.  I’m coming around to the idea that they can try Ronnier Mustelier and/or Melky Mesa in the role and hope one of them clicks.  They are going to need to fill holes in 2014 and getting some playing time in the majors for guys they have on hand that won’t cost them precious 2014 dollars is the sensible approach.  It’s so sensible I’d be surprised if they did it, actually.

--Posted at 8:47 am by SG / 83 Comments | - (0)


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[article] Vernon Wells could play the role Andruw Jones filled the last two years

Wells could fill the role Jones played last year quite nicely - completely ineffective RH bench player.

Wells would actually be an upgrade on what Jones did last year, as scary as it is.  That’s kind of why I’m comfortable with Mustelier or Mesa in that role.  Mustelier is probably the better bat, Mesa the better glove/baserunner (at least until he gets to 3B).

What about not signing Pierzinsky for a one year deal worth 7.5 million? The guy just hit .826 OPS last year from the catcher position (!!!) And the Yankees did not even try to sign him.

SG, if we’re going to continue advocating for Mustelier, can you at least provide some guidance for how to pronounce either of his names?

I’m really hoping it’s Raw-knee-ay Must-ee-lee-ay

Least credible comment of my career:

I was reading LoHud comments the other day, and someone there says he has a guy in the know who claims that the FO is forcing Cashman to go in-house for the catcher position because he promised, when trading Montero, that Romine would be ready by now, and this is some kind of “feet to the fire” type thing.

Mustelier is probably the better bat, Mesa the better glove/baserunner (at least until he gets to 3B).

Mesa also has more upside to be better for the future, as he’s several years younger.  Mustelier probably tops out as a RH bat off the bench who can play well enough at several positions that you can justify having him on the roster.  Mesa probably tops out as an average outfielder (enough bat for corners, enough defense for CF).  So yeah, I would definitely think it is worthwhile to find out if Mesa looks like he can be average(ish) for 2-4 years, or if he’s a 4th OF.

Average, and you have your cheap corner OF (w/ Gardner in CF) for 2014 and 2015, potential trade chip after that if you come up aces with the quality talent in the lower minors.  4th he still fills a valuable role for peanuts.  Anything less than that…probably hope that a team who could use a cheap OF that can be a starter for a 3rd division team would like him in a deadline trade.

[5] Today is boring enough to dwell on this comment.

Wouldn’t that be a step in the right direction? 

“You said he would be ready, right? And he’s not? Why not? Oh, he got injured? And he was out the whole year? Was it a freak thing? How long did his recovery take? Why did it take so long? Do we need improvements in our medical staff? Our player development staff?”

Doesn’t seem like a bad thing to me.

[7] If it involves those sorts of questions, sure. But forcing a GM not to address a weakness sounds more like a tantrum.

If those are the questions they’re asking, I agree. But isn’t there a chance they’re just trying to pin fan dissatisfaction on him, or something? I mean, I hope it’s not why they didn’t even consider AJP.

Evaluating what went wrong is one thing, but refusing to make a move because of a player development failure is pretty short-sighted. I’m feeling optimistic, so I’ll just hope that they feel good about Romine/Cervelli and that they are taking our advice of giving PAs to people now to see what they have in 2014.

[3]  Pierzynski does have the reputation for being a true jerk, so the most likely explanation is they don’t want him in the clubhouse. 

Also, LoHud posted an interview with Mark Newman where he called Romine a plus-plus defensive catcher, so that may be where they’re placing a lot of their hopes.

Beyond this, along the lines of [5], the organization as a whole might be thinking, “we have all these catching prospects, so maybe if we take away our veteran safety net, it will clear the way for them, starting with Romine, to take the big league job.”

“You said he would be ready, right? And he’s not? Why not? Oh, he got injured? And he was out the whole year? Was it a freak thing? How long did his recovery take? Why did it take so long? Do we need improvements in our medical staff? Our player development staff?”

If this is truly the end, it would be a shame to not spend some of it playing this back in your head, coming from the voice of George Steinbrenner as portrayed on Seinfeld with George Costanza standing in front of his desk.

I’m really hoping it’s Raw-knee-ay Must-ee-lee-ay

In my head I have been including the ‘R’ in the first name, so Raw-knee-year.  But the last name seems right to me.

Wouldn’t that be a step in the right direction?

I think so.  There’s no reason Cashman should have a lifetime pass to be the GM of the Yankees, and if he did in fact make a promise like that he should be held accountable for it.

I saw that comment on Lohud as well and while I’m reticent to take message board rumor-mongering at face value the substance behind it seems to make sense to me.    Cashman’s had the ‘full’ reins since 2006 now, right?  The system has produced some productive MLB players but unfortunately too many of them are elsewhere and now when the team’s new direction is screaming for an influx from the farm there’s very little in the way of ready-to-contribute help this year and next.

Obviously big years from a few of the top 10 prospects make 2014 look a lot more rosy, and that may be what it takes to save Cashman’s job.

[13] I don’t think that Cashman should have the GM job for life. But do you trust Levine/Hal/Hank to pick a viable replacement?

I don’t think Cashman is perfect, but I do think he is at least an average. I worry less about losing Cashman than I do about the quality of his successor.

Levine would probably hire Isiah Thomas as GM.

[15] I agree.

I don’t think Cashman is perfect, but I do think he is at least an average. I worry less about losing Cashman than I do about the quality of his successor.

I agree.  I don’t think Cashman is a bad GM, I just think that at some point any management is going to get stale.

I don’t trust Levine, but Hal Steinbrenner is not a dumb guy and if he really wants to run the Yankees on a budget he will probably want to look at bringing in the best available candidate for building the farm system.  It’d be awesome if they could get their hands on Andrew Friedman, but it’s also highly unlikely.

Opinions: The Yankees have considered moving Tyler Austin back to 3B. If they do and he plays average defense, does that make him the best Yankees prospect?

[19] I think he should stay where he is the better defender. It’s not like he is moving back to catcher or middle infield. If he is going to be above average at RF and below average at 3B he better stay where he is.

Is there any chance Mustelier turns out to be The Most Interesting Man In The World?

[19] No.  Heathcott and Williams are both looking to be plus (or better) defenders in CF.  Also, though Austin has had some nice SB numbers, by all reports it’s through baserunning smarts, not speed.  So where you can look at Williams/Heathcott regularly being 20+ SB threats - plus taking the extra base - Austin is limited in his upside as a baserunner.  And then you have Sanchez, who is a catcher.  Even if he’s a -5 catcher, that *still* gives him a 10 run head start for value.  Now, by the time we have enough innings to determine if he’s average at 3rd, we’ll ALSO have a better idea how is offense is progressing, how everyone else is developing, etc.  So Austin may indeed be their #1 prospect.  But if everyone progresses evenly, I don’t think the move to 3rd would be enough to move him to #1.

[20] There’s a 10 run difference between the two positions.  If he’s a +5 in RF and a -5 at 3rd it’s a wash, but then it comes down to where he’ll most be needed in a couple of years.  There’s definitely a chance that ARod will need to be a full-time DH by 2015, and they have lots of OF (but very few IF) prospects.  I’d say if the difference in defense is less than 6 runs, move to 3rd, more than 13 runs leave in RF.  In between they need to take into account needs of the organization, where he is most likely to get injured (could be different for different players), and how it may affect his offense.

[21] I wouldn’t put any money on it, but sure.

[10] Evaluating what went wrong is one thing, but refusing to make a move because of a player development failure is pretty short-sighted.

Some might say that having a policy where player development isn’t actually emphasized and important is short-sighted.

Someone here was talking about soccer tickets the other day. This is awesome if you haven’t already seen it:

[24] Are you claiming Cashman isn’t emphasizing and thinking player development is important?

[Edited because 27 is no more]

[Not edited because all I know is I don’t know nothing]

[25]  That was me.  Thanks, Lord J.  Really cool, I’d like to own one if they existed…

Some thoughts. My guess is Musteller would be ok as a right hand bat as long as his outfield defense is passable. Mesa could take his place mid year if he rakes at AAA.  Don’t see the upside to trading a lot for any +32 age player.  If indeed the owners want to stretch dollars right now it seems they need to use internal resources as much as possible.  I do have issues with Cashman to this day but on the whole I would say he’s slightly better than average and I echo the concerns of a potential replacement.  Why wouldn’t Friedman consider NYY? There’s a prestige factor in NY that Tampa will never afford him.
Getting back to Yankees I think they should move some players up the chain perhaps slightly more aggressively.  Austin for sure should begin at AA.  I would have Heathcott and Flores there as well and if any of the three break out early move them mid year to Scranton.  As to Sanchez it would be great if he could get to Trenton mid-year as well.  One of these guys if not two should be positioned for the bigs in 14 providing they play well. As to Levine what is his background and how did he get a connection to the team? He’s not a baseball guy so is he just an attorney poser?

I do think Cashman was a bit stupid in trading Montero given that Romine had already sustained back injuries in 2011. Should Romine go down, I think Cervelli/Stewart can do the job this year, but not at a particularly high level.
Who knows perhaps given a shot Romine will surprise. The team could use some youth and I would prefer they give him a true shot over some older guy.

[31] Friedman could not want the pressure that comes with being in NY.  Also, it seems like in Tampa owners give him a budget, his job is to do whatever he can with that budget.  Would he have that much freedom in NY, even with the bigger budget?  Remember, Billy Beane turned down the opportunity to go to Boston because he liked having a situation similar to Friedman’s…

As for players…yeah I think Austin will start in AA, as will Flores (full season of A+ behind him).  They’re going to let Segedin be the other OF in AA to see if the collapse last year was a SSS fluke adjusting to AA, or if he’s hit his limit.  The Almontes will go to AAA, probably with Mustelier in a corner and Mesa in the Bronx; remember Mesa is on 40 man and Mustlelier isn’t.  I think Williams and Heathcott both start in Tampa, as well as Sanchez.  Heathcott will be promoted when/if Flores/Austin are promoted, Williams will lag a bit.  Murphy will be the starting catcher in AAA if Romine is in NYY, otherwise he’ll start at AA.  Sanchez will probably be promoted when Murphy is.

[32] I think the Yankees had already given up on Montero as a C.  Sounds like the M’s are close to that as well.  It’s also possible Yankees didn’t think Montero’s bat would translate to the majors once scouting reports had gotten around.  So it could be possible that Cashman traded high on Montero, and it’s just bad luck that Pineda got hurt.

yeah, Montero’s struggles have made me feel much better about that trade. Sure, Pineda is never going to pitch outside of a trench again, but he’s a pitcher. Expecting them to pitch is asking a lot.

I dread having Stewart as anything more than a caddy at C, though perhaps that is just me being irrational.  Though that may just be the fear of having to see Youk’s unshaven mug playing every day next season.  I am NOT looking forward to seeing that in HD, not sure if my TV can handle it.

Guess I’ll just drink….more.

(Edited because I felt left out of the fun.)

I’ll be around in the next few days, but Merry Christmas to all, especially heathens who really need to know Jesus, like Mel Hall.

Hm, that almost rhymed.

As a soldier in the war on Xmas, PFC Bebop, Happy Holidays.  If only there were something for the rest of us.  I have many grievances to air. Swish in October.  Tex in April.  Arod’s contract.  Flaherty, Suzie and Serling year round.

[38] It would be particularly ironic for you to get coal in your stocking…

That happened once and I went jogging.  Hurt like hell.

I too have grievances to air!  Don’t forget Kay on your list - he’s the worst.

Shouldn’t we be thankful for Cone?

Cone, Mo, Andy, Derek, Reggie, Thurm, Whitey, Yogi and The Mick!  Most def!

Robinson Cano.  Paul O’Neill.  Po.

Not Cano yet he’s too infuriating at times.  Buckner, Bucky effing Dent and Booney.

At times like this I think….....what would thurm say smile. Sorry if I mis-typed I’m drunk and on my new IPad.

At times like this I think….....what would thurm say smile. Sorry if I mis-typed I’m drunk and on my new IPad.

Damn IPad 2x post.

I’m thankful for Jeter. And Giambino. Frustrating, but clutch.

Nettles. Superballs. Munson, unamerican facial hair hair and all. Boy genius’s monkey suit. Not so sure about the wrestling belt of the thong. Ruth and alcohol. Girardi’s triple. And, very much, without excuse - Jim Leyritz (not because of the Andy Hawkins no-hitter game). 1978 Guidry. 1997 Tino Martinez. 2 innings/game of Mo behind Wetteland. Lots of things.
Is it November?
Is it safe?

I was feeling like the Yankees really lost out on Pierzynski, but I have to admit to being somewhat blinded by his 2012. To wit, in 2010 and 2011, A.J. compiled a .688 .OPS, followed by a .728 OPS, in a very hitter friendly park. Considering his poor defensive reputation and questionable clubhouse presence, his dossier would have been highly unimpressive if not for clocking 27 homers last season. But his .OBP stayed pretty static, compared to ‘10 and ‘11, and the slugging was no doubt propped up by what could absolutely be a fluke year in terms of homers. So I must amend my opinion. Maybe it’s time to get just a smidge excited about Romine winning the job in spring training. It’ll be a golden opportunity for him, and I really like the fact he managed three homers in 61 Triple A AB’s after returning from the injury last season.

I wouldn’t go to 2 years, of course, but I still think Pierzynski represented enough value that he was well worth his one-year deal. The Yankees have lost a lot of home runs this off season and have not replaced them so far. It is not like he’d be going to a hitter-unfriendly park, ya know? In addition, while Romine should be the starting catcher in 2014, I don’t like the idea of the team relying on him being the starter in 2013 after he essentially lost all of 2012.

The Yankees seem to value makeup and clubhouse atmosphere. Perhaps Cashman went to Girardi and a few of the more prominent Yankees and asked them what they thought about AJP. And they vetoed the acquisition.

I didn’t care much for AJP. Below average hitter, below average defender. Not too optimistic on Romine though. He could step right into the role, stranger things have happened, but it’s unusual for a club like the Yankees to take such a risk on an unproven player.

However, they have a lot of catching depth in the system, so it’s important they start to figure out what to do with it, so I understand why they’re forcing the issue, especially considering the payroll imperatives. Sometimes things don’t work out according to plan and you just have to tolerate a season of suck.

Romine would be fine if they could just perfect the spine transplant to fix his back.

Well, they have been performing medical experiments on Ramiro Pena for two years…

[56] Is that why Bonds is so skinny?

Cody Ross to Arizona, 3/25. I sure am disappointed we won’t be paying him in 2015.

There’s no reasonable way to get significant playing time for players from the farm if you’re buying veterans to play in front of, rather than behind them.  The vets could get hurt, but if that’s your upside, how much more of it is there in not getting them in the first place? And playing the vets behind them is only going to happen if the young player is a can’t-miss up-and-coming superstar (Travis Lee?).
Otherwise the only way to get MiL-ers into the lineup is if you have “depth” in the form of 3 or 4 reasonable candidates in the MiL system at a single position.
If ever there were a time to take the risk, this is that time.

58: they must have a surplus of OFs now

But the way the position of catcher works, the back-up is guaranteed to start at least 45-50 games, which strikes me as the perfect way to bring along the young player who you expect to be your starter of the future but don’t know that he can cut it yet.

Which is why AJP on a one-year deal seemed like a great way of handling Romine’s ascension.

61 So then you give up on Cervo or he waits at Scranton to see if Romy Schneider fails?

I’m fine with Romine/Cervelli/Stewart as the catchers for next season. One will likely give you exactly what you’d get from AJP.

Heyman throws Jeff Baker in the mix.

Kubel would probably be a slight upgrade on Ibanez. At least he’s not like, you know, over forty.

I can hear the announcer at opening day:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2013 New York Yankees ! It’s not like they’re ALL, you know, over forty.”

Play ball !

[66] I’m pumped up.

Not sure if this was posted, but Sickels’ Top 20:

So then you give up on Cervo or he waits at Scranton to see if Romy Schneider fails?

The latter.

Not sure if this was posted, but Sickels’ Top 20:


It would be pretty amazing if the Yankees actually had an all-homegrown outfield in two years.

[68] Thanks for link. The Yanks placed 12 guys at B- or above, which is pretty cool. Obviously the Big Four guys continue to be highly rated, but there are plenty of other interesting prospects too. I’d like to hear Mike K.‘s take. With the quality in this system I think I’d be totally cool with a couple years of mediocrity in order to rebuild the core around these up and comers.

[70] Remember when they brought up the GOAT Closer, HOF SS, borderline HOF C, borderline HOF LHSP, and borderline CF all within 5 years or so? I think that was the player development equivalent of the last day of the 2011 MLB season. An outfield of Williams/Heathcott/Austin would be pretty terrific too.

Marshall is OK and will probably be ready sometime this year. In terms of upside he’s probably in between Hughes and Phelps. IMO his best years will be slightly better than Hughes’ best thus far. 2-3 win SP

Gumbs gets comparisons to Rickie Weeks but is still very raw. He also had elbow surgery to end his year, so that’s great.

Turley has been pretty good so far, for some reason I think he’ll end up as a very good reliever. But he’s a big lefty with solid stuff.

Black is a reliever.

DePaula reportedly has Ace stuff but has been held up with Visa issues for almost 2 years. He will probably move very quickly and dominated his first stint in pro-ball last year. He could easily jump into the top 5 next year.

Murphy has some upside, he was considered a bat first C when drafted but his D is ahead of his offense right now. Might have a future as a backup to Sanchez.

Mitchell has better stuff than Marshall but command/control have held him back, he probably won’t ever have enough of either to take full advantage of his solid arsenal. Could end up as a solid middle reliever.

Goody is another reliever. The Yankees are good at drafting relievers.

Everyone else in the top 20 has been discussed here.

And Swisher signs for 4/56. Option for a 5th year The Yankees get a draft pick.

I would have signed him for 14MM AAV.

Swisher—-> Gardner
Martin—-> Twilight/Back Injury/Cervello
Arod—-> Youk
Rafa—-> Mo
Ibanez—-> Ronnie Mufasa (?)

Looks like 4 downgrades and a push (assuming Mo coming off a missed year won’t be much better than Soriano was last year). What am I missing?

Jeter—-_> Nun-E… Then Teixeira’s Trench, Cano’s Cliff, Ichiro!‘s Implosion, CC’s Collapse, Curtiss’s Crash…

Letting Swisher walk was the right move. A .800 OPS bat playing below average defense in RF and a well below average baseruner doesn’t worth that money and a draft pick.

[75] By fWAR Gardner was 3 wins better than Swisher for 2010+2011 - if he’s healthy I’d say it’s an upgrade.  Especially since defense is more valuable to the Yankees than offense assuming they’re still a winning team.

The Swisher contract is pretty much a guaranteed five year deal if he stays healthy. Hard to imagine him playing five straight years with Cleveland, but it could happen, I guess. Good luck, Nick.

Not playing in the playoffs should make Swisher’s Baseball Reference page look rosier in the future.

[80] Post of the Post-Apocalypse Era.

Not playing in the playoffs should make Swisher’s Baseball Reference page look rosier in the future.

For 2013 and 2014, at least, he could have had that right here at DNYS!

“I think Cleveland got a bargain.” - Cashman

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