Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Let's Make A Deal... But For Who?

According to a tweet by Buster Olney early this afternoon, the Marlins are aggressively working on trading Ricky Nolasco. After 16 starts this season, totalling 100.1 innings, Nolasco's ERA is 3.68 and has a FIP of 3.55. His 1.4 WAR ranks him 21st among National League starting pitchers (tied with Mike Leake and Cole Hamels). So there's no doubt he could help out pretty much any team in Major League Baseball.

Please, get me away from that ugly thing on the other side of the center field wall.

To nobody's surprise, Nolasco has been connected to the Yankees. I'm not sure there's ever been trade talk revolving around a good player, in which the Yankees weren't mentioned. After learning that the Yankees could very well have a large chunk of money to spend due to the WBC insurance on Mark Teixeira, the connection does make sense. Ricky has about $6 million remaining on his contract this season, which wouldn't be a problem for the Yankees.

Actually, is money ever a problem for New York?

But there is a problem... The Yankees don't need a starter. Would it be nice? Sure. But the team has way more pressing concerns than run prevention. While the Yankees are the only team in the American League East to have given up less than 300 runs (294), they are also the only team in the division to have scored less than 300 runs (293). I don't have to dig up a dozen more numbers to prove that they need to score more runs... not prevent them.

I was looking at the list of free agents to be after this season, and a few names stuck out...

I've mentioned Corey Hart in the past, and seeing as how the Brewers are 15 games out of 1st place and rumors of them dealing Yovani Gallardo are already swirling, he could probably be had. But it was reported today that Hart's suffered more setbacks, and a return soon after the All Star break is really nothing more than a pipe dream. So that idea's no good.

At this point I wouldn't trust me either.

It would be awesome if the team were able to trade for Nelson Cruz, as the guy already has 19 home runs this season, and the Bombers could definitely use the power. But seeing as how the Rangers sit atop the AL West right now, in a tough battle with Oakland (only 1 game back), there's no way anything there is happening.

I'm a fan of Shin-Soo Choo, but the Reds are right there with St. Louis and Pittsburgh for the NL Central, so it's the same story there as with Cruz.

But there was one name that not only stuck out to me, but seemed like a viable option...

Michael Morse

We're not talking about somebody that's a great all-around hitter, as Michael is batting .251/.313/.454 this season. However, it's the power he can bring that's intriguing. He's hit 11 home runs this season, and had 31 in his last full season in 2011 (he missed 50 games in 2012 with a strain in his right shoulder). This season he's striking out a bit more than normal, due to a big drop in contact percentage on pitches outside the strike zone. If he can either improve his eye, or start making contact like he normally has in the past, then he could be a nice "get" for the Yankees.

Morse has spent most of his playing time in right field this year, with a little time in left field and first base. So position wise he does fill a need. He could start at first base against left-handers, seeing as how Overbay is next to useless against same-sided pitching. Then again, Overbay isn't anything special against right-handers either. Anyway, as I was saying... Versus right-handers Morse could be valuable in the outfield since Wells has been useless against any pitcher, and Zoilo Almonte could come crashing back to Earth.

Morse will be due about $3 million around the trade deadline, and seeing how Seattle is not likely to contend this season (currently 10.5 games out of 1st place in AL West), it would come down to having the right prospects to match up in a trade.

The unfortunate thing is that it would be hard enough for the Yankees to put together a package of prospects to get a Michael Morse, so making another significant move would be pretty difficult.

I had an easier time beating this guy.

When the Yankees get back Francisco Cervelli, Derek Jeter, and Curtis Granderson sometime after the All Star break, the only true problem I see at that point is at third base. Kevin Youkilis, even if we were to assume a healthy back meant he'd hit better, could very well be out the rest of the regular season. David Adams is said to be the starting third baseman right now, but after a torrid start to his MLB career he's cooled down quite a bit (.191/.226/.292 on the year).

While I don't think the Yankees would have enough to deal for Chase Headley to take over third base, even before a trade occurred for Michael Morse, perhaps somebody like Mark Reynolds would be within the Yankees' grasp. But to be honest, I'm not sure he would be much of an improvement anyway. Reynolds is only hitting .233/.321/.427 this season, which is really close to what he did last year (.221/.335/.429). Not that Headley has been a superstar this season (.229/.332/.360), but he did hit 31 homers with a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger Award, and 5th place finish for the NL MVP last season.

So the team may just have to hope Adams can at least be a replacement-level player, while Morse's power gives the team a boost, and Francisco Cervelli, Derek Jeter, and Curtis Granderson return fairly strong.

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