Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Why Make a Sideways Deal?

Why are people giving up on me already? It's only Spring Training.

The Yankees have extra pitching, so it's no surprise that people are thinking about dealing some of that extra pitching in order to fill a need. I'm not part of this group, but there are those that see a need when it comes to a DH to hit against RHP.

Raul Ibanez was brought in to fill that role, and I was one of the few that was good with that decision. Although Raul's numbers vs. RHP last season were far from eye-popping (his line was .256/.307/.440), in his career he's hit RHP to the tune of .286/.351/.488. His home run total vs. RHP last season was 16 in 437 PA, which is right in line with his career average of 17 HR/437 PA. Not that I was expecting him to match that career triple-slash vs. RHP, but looking at the projections at Fangraph's it seems like a line vs. RHP of .266/.332/.451 is about right (I looked at the average change in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage by the 4 projections from 2011 to 2012, and then added them to his triple-slash vs. RHP last season).

Lately the talk has been trading for Bobby Abreu, as he's clearly not happy with what will most likely be a part-time role on the Angels, thanks to the OF being full and Kendry Morales looking good this spring. Initially I saw this idea as another nostalgic move, like how so many Yankee fans longed for Johnny Damon's return while citing what he did for the team 2+ years ago, rather than what would be best for the team. But I decided to take a look and see if Abreu would be a better alternative anyway.

Bobby Abreu's 2011 vs. RHP was .259/.366/.400. Looking at his projections, like I did for Ibanez, the only true change I see for Bobby is to up his slugging percentage a bit. So chances are, at this point, he's not an improvement over what the team has anyway. I think the Yankees should just hold onto that extra pitching, and see what Ibanez can do during the regular season. If after a month or so he proves to not be the answer they were looking for, and Abreu is still available, then look at using the extra pitching to acquire him.

Besides, if Ibanez is looking okay (especially considering he'll be batting in the lower third of the lineup), then that extra pitching could be used on a future replacement for Nick Swisher or Russell Martin.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)