Saturday, January 14, 2012

Now, what about DH?

Welcome to New York, Mr. Pineda.

The Montero-Pineda trade? Love it. The Kuroda pick-up? Great. Now let's move on.

Last night there was plenty of speculation about what the Yankees would do in regards to the hole left at DH. I read some rumors about their interest in Carlos Pena (no thanks, the team could use a guy that hits for a good average, not a low average with power), and this morning there was something about a possible David Robertson for Mark Trumbo swap (an absolutely ridiculous idea if you ask me). I suppose the Yankees could make the DH slot a revolving door by using Andruw Jones against lefties, giving ARod some rest by starting him their once or twice a week, and possibly Eric Chavez the rest of the time. Not a horrible idea, but I would think Ninja Cashman could do better. Which leads me to a trade idea.

Yes, most trade ideas tend to suck. My ideas, including this one, probably aren't much bettter, but hear me out...

Now seems to be the best time to think about getting somebody that could not only fit into the lineup now, but also take over for Nick Swisher in 2013 and beyond. I was thinking about replacing Nick after this season, but with the hole that was created by the Montero-Pineda trade now seems to be the time. We'll start by taking a look at the depth of the Yankees' system, in terms of good/great young talent...

Pitcher - Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Jose Campos (the link will give you some info on Jose, and the trade that brought him to NY), Adam Warren, David Phelps, DJ Mitchell, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes
Outfield - Mason Williams, Ravel Santana, Slade Heathcott, Jorge Vazquez, Jordan Parraz
Catcher - Gary Sanchez, JR Murphy, Austin Romine

I'd say that's pretty deep, especially at pitcher. Which is why I'm not nearly as concerned as others at the loss of Hector Noesi in that Montero-Pineda trade (not to mention we got a pretty good pitching prospect in Jose Campos too... why are people concerned about that again?). So I looked around to try and find a team that could use some help in all three of those areas, and had an outfielder that would be attractive as well. I landed in Pittsburgh.

For starters, the only catching prospect in the Top 10 of the Pirates' system is Tony Sanchez. Well Tony is coming off of a horrible season at AA Altoona, where he put up a triple-slash of .241/.340/.318. Not that he has no future, as he'll be entering his age 24 season and saw success in the low minors (.314/.416/.454 in A+ ball in 2010), but if Pittsburgh could get another catching prospect then I'm sure they'd be interested. Especially if that catching prospect was able to start in MLB right away.

As for the Pirates' pitching they could use help too. Paul Maholm is a free agent after having the 2nd best ERA out of their starters last season, James McDonald and Kevin Correia were below average, Charlie Morton had a nice ERA but a poor WHIP led him to be average, while Jeff Karstens (who Pittsburgh got from New York) was easily their best starter. They just drafted Gerrit Cole so he's years away, and their #2 pitching prospect (Cole is 1st), Jameson Taillon, is only 20 years old and was in A ball last year... therefore he too is a few years away. So I know they'd be interested in acquiring a young pitcher that could help the rotation right away.

What about outfielders? Well Jose Tabata was injured for 71 games last season, starting with a quad strain that was apparently healed as he returned in mid-August and played without reaggravating it. Jose fractured a bone in his hand at the end of the season, but it was said at the time that he'd return in 10 days, so I don't believe it was major in any way. Their rightfielder was Garrett Jones, who did not impress much, putting up a triple-slash of .243/.321/.433. That's not horrible (he did hit 16 HR as well), but I'm sure the Pirates are looking forward to seeing what Starling Marte can do in MLB. Marte was in AA Altoona last season, where he put up a line of .332/.370/.500. Starling is probably only a year or two away, and since Pitt won't be competing next season, I'm sure they can wait on him.

This brings us to the man of the hour... Andrew McCutchen. I don't think I have to spend much time talking about Andrew, and what he could bring to the team. He turned 25 last October, and his triple-slash estimates are somewhere around .277/.370/.460, to go with 20 HR and around 20 SB. I believe he has 4 more years of team control left as well.

There were whispers back in November about listening to offers for McCutchen, although they were followed up with talk of re-entering extension talks. Keith Law suggested that the Pirates would have to be "blown away" by an offer, and I think I may have that offer.

Jorge Vazquez/Dellin Betances/Austin Romine/Adam Warren for Andrew McCutchen/Kyle McPherson (pitcher, #6 prospect in organization according to Baseball America)

Vazquez isn't the best outfield prospect the Yankees could offer, but he's MLB-ready and can bring much more power to the team than any other Pirate offered last season (McCutchen led the team with 23 HRs, and the next best was that 16 by Garrett Jones). Both Betances and Warren could fit into the rotation right away (replacing McDonald or Correia, along with Maholm), and Romine could start catching right away in place of last year's guy in Pittsburgh... Michael McKenry (he hit a measly .222/.276/.322).

The only question that would remain after this deal is "what do they do with Swisher?" Well that one's easy... move him to DH, along with giving him some starts at 1B to rest Mark Teixeira. This would allow the Yankees to pass on Eric Chavez, thus saving a bit of money, as Nunez could handle backing up ARod. And more importantly the starting lineup, along with the starting rotation, would be set.