Posted tagged ‘Jesus Montero’

Milwaukee Brewers acquire Zack Greinke

December 19, 2010

What a crazy off-season. The next piece of shocking news is that the Kansas City Royals have traded ace pitcher Zack Greinke to the Milwaukee Brewers for Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Odorizzi, and a PTBNL. Wow. I know the Brewers name came up in trade rumors, but this is still shocking. I didn’t think a trade would happen this fast and I didn’t think Milwaukee would actually land him.

This is a real good deal for Milwaukee, imo. Despite having a stud in Yovanni Gallardo, their starting pitching sucked in 2010. But within a matter of weeks they picked up a solid #3 starter in Shaun Marcum and now add Zack Greinke, who is in the running for best pitcher in all of baseball. A trio of Greinke, Gallardo, and Marcum is quite good. Now, the back-end of the rotation still isn’t good, but if they can add a “project” pitcher, they could have a very good overall rotation. They have a lot of pitching depth, but the pitcher’s aren’t very good. So I would take a risk on a Jeremy Bonderman, a Ben Sheets, etc. If they don’t work out, it’s not like you don’t have someone else who can step in. It may not be a good pitcher, but it’s better than no pitcher.

The Brewers, right now, are my favorites to win the NL Central. Their starting pitching matches up with St. Louis, and the Brewers still have a good lineup. Prince Fielder is still at first. Rickie Weeks is at second. Ryan Braun and Corey Hart are still patrolling the corner outfield. Milwaukee has a good team that should compete with St. Louis and Cincinnati.

As for Kansas City, I am underwhelmed with their return. They got some solid players, but it was in return for Zack Greinke. They could have done better. Alcides Escobar could be a solid player for the Royals down the line. He isn’t much of hitter, but he is a defensive star. His glove should make him a capable everyday player and contribute to a solid KC defense. Lorenzo Cain is an athletic center fielder and a good fielder, but is not a star player in the making. I do think he has a small probability of becoming a star, but I don’t think he’ll get there. He’ll just be an okay, everyday player for KC. Now, Jake Odorizzi is a very good prospect. He’s young and has dominated the low levels of the minors so far. He could become one of the Royals best prospects in a very short time.

So yeah, Kansas City did get good players for Zack Greinke, but they could have done better. I mean, from the Yankees they wanted Jesus Montero. None of the players KC got from the Brewers is on Montero’s level as a player/prospect. The Brewers came out really good in this trade, and Kansas City’s return is just “eh”. I mean, they trade two, relatively cheap years of an All-Star pitcher in his prime, for two okay players and one good prospect (plus a PTBNL). But at least they got rid of Yuniesky Betancourt. So I guess it’s a win.

 

Yankees sign Russell Martin

December 14, 2010

No word on the details yet, but I’m sure it’ll be for less than he’s worth, making it a good deal.

I am a big fan of this deal. He is under team control for two seasons and is a cost-effective option at catcher. At worst, he is still the 2 WAR player he has been the past two years, which is pretty good for a catcher. At best he regains his power and becomes an All-Star caliber player again. Moving to Yankee Stadium and getting more days off could go a long way towards him discovering his old swing. If not, he can get on-base at a good clip. The signing also allows the Yankees to take their time with Jesus Montero, or even trade him for a quality pitcher if the deal is right. Plus, he isn’t a Boston Red Sock. They need a catcher and Martin would have the icing on the cake for the super team they have built up.

While this off-season has sucked for the Yankees, it got a little bit better this morning.

 

Cliff Lee is a Philadelphia Phillie

December 14, 2010

WOW. This might be the biggest off-season news story in baseball history. For real.

 

5 years and $100mil. $20mil per year. Yeah.

 

Not only is this out of left field, but it’s a STEAL for Philadelphia.

 

If you recall, I thought he could be worth as much as $147.5mil over five years or around $29mil per season. So Philly is saving ~$9mil per year in projected value or $47.5mil total. This is groundbreaking.

Does this give Philly the best rotation of all-time? Maybe, maybe not. The 1990s Braves had an okay staff. But we’re looking at three Hall of Fame pitchers, still pitching as if in their prime, and a fourth pitcher who could be a Hall of Famer one day. Simply amazing.

I thought Boston was going to be clear World Series favorites, but if Philly doesn’t win it all, they should all have to retire. But for real, I will myself when Boston and Philly play in the World Series.

The thing is, it’s such a good deal. If he signed in Philly for 7/$161mil or whatever deal the Yanks offered, it wouldn’t be so great. But it’s 5/$100mil. That is well below his market value. Wow.

Cliff Lee needs to enter the Witness Protection Program. He is the most hated person in the MLBPU. They  might hire people to do bodily harm to Lee.

 

As for the Yanks, sell sell sell on 2011. Stock up for 2012 and beyond when the Killer B’s and other top prospects are ready. Trade Nick Swisher while his value is high. 2011 is a lost cause.

We better get Russell Martin so this off-season isn’t a total lost cause. He could regain his past power and become an All-Star again. If not, he is the perfect person to split time with Jesus Montero and since we won’t compete in 2011, it allows us to take it slow with Montero.

Worst off-season ever.

Busy day in Chicago; Cubs sign Carlos Pena and White Sox sign Paul Konerko

December 8, 2010

The North side and South side both signed first basemen last night. Carlos Pena is going to the Cubs at 1/$10mil and Konerko is re-upping with the White Sox at 3/$37.5mil.

Let’s start with the North side deal because there is almost nothing to talk about. They need a first baseman. Carlos Pena is a first baseman. They signed him. Pena will be 33 years old and with aging is just an above average first baseman. Nothing special. He had an unusually poor 2010, mainly because he hit a ton of grounders. 44.9% of his balls in play were ground balls, well above his career average of 36.9%. So while his insanely low BABIP of .227 suggests bad luck, he also just didn’t swing the bat as well. He still has power- his ISO was above .200 and his HR/FB was above his career norm. He still walks a fair amount. But he didn’t hit enough line drives and power fly balls. If he can get his swing back, he should improve upon his 2010 numbers, but not too drastically. So he should be about a 2 WAR and be worth around $10mil. So it’s a solid deal for the Cubs. They won’t contend in 2011 so you can debate whether it was worth it to spend $10mil on Pena, but it’s “only” $10mil and it’s only one year. The Cubs DO need someone to play the position, so they went out and got a short term fix that won’t constrain them down the road.

The South Side deal is more noteworthy. Konerko will be getting an average salary of $12.5mil per year. Color me unimpressed. Konerko will be 35 next season, 36 in 2012, and 37 in 2013. Yet he will be paid $12.5mil. This seems like an irresponsible waste of money to me. They just signed another 1b/DH type player in Adam Dunn just a few days ago. Konerko was not needed. This also hurts Dunn’s value if they make him DH or play OF, making that deal much more of an overpay as well. But that’s besides the point. Konerko is OLD. Yes, he had a 160 wRC+ last season. But that’s an anomaly. Check out his wRC+’s from 2007-2009: 114, 106, 119. Yeah. But his BABIP was well above his career norms despite a LD% that is in line with his career average. So we should expect less fortune in 2011, which means less times on base, less extra base hits, and less offensive production, which in turn means less value. Being generous, I can start him at 2.5 in 2011. By 2013 he will be a 1.5 WAR player. So I have him being worth $29.5mil over three years. OVERPAY.

So that’s it.

I also really want the Yankees to sign Russell Martin. He would be a good catcher to split time with Jesus Montero on the cheap. Best case scenario he finds himself offensively and returns to being a 4-5 WAR player. Also, signing him would open up the possibility of trading Jesus Montero for Zack Greinke, leaving Martin as the starter until Austin Romine is ready. 1/$4mil with a club option for 2012? Please think about it Cashman.

My quick take on what the Royals should do with Zack Greinke

December 2, 2010

Keep him.

Yes, I know trading him now would bring back the ultimate return. The other team would be trading for two years of his services, upping his value since he is not just a rental. Moreover, after Cliff Lee there are no good starters on the market, so a team might overpay in a trade for Greinke. Despite all that, I would not trade Zack Greinke.

Why? Because he is amazing. And the team will be good soon enough.

Sure, Greinke wants to WIN. But the Royals have a LOADED farm system. From Eric Hosmer to Danny Duffy, the Royals only need a handful of their farm system stars to pan out. In a division like the AL Central, a talented, young team could go far. Having Greinke just makes the team even better and will bring about the success at a faster rate. Will it be tough to convince him? Maybe. The Royals have tried rebuilding before and it did not work out. But their current crop of talent is too good to completely bust. If Greinke can just wait another season or two, Kansas City could be the winning team he wants to play for. His deal runs out in 2012, but KC does have the money to extend him.

The only way I trade Greinke is if I get an absolute HAUL in return. I’m talking Jesus Montero and Dellin Betances from the Yankees. Scheppers, Perez, and Holland from Texas. Hicks and Gibson from the Twins. In that case, the return is TOO good to not give him up, and the farm system will become- like- the greatest of all-time.

Well, that’s my quick take so take it for what it’s worth.

If I’m Texas, maybe even New York as well, I go after Lee AND Greinke. Imagine a Texas rotation next season with Lee, Greinke, Wilson, Lewis, Feliz/Hunter?

My take on a Justin Upton trade

November 21, 2010

The biggest rumor swirling around baseball these days is a potential Justin Upton trade. At first it seemed like Arizona was just toying around, but apparently they are serious and a few other teams want to get serious with Arizona. A potential trade of this magnitude has probably never occurred before in baseball  history.

I mean, we have a 23 year old All-Star, with a VERY FAVORABLE contract for the next five seasons, who has HALL OF FAME potential. A player like that isn’t put on the trade market very often. As Dave Cameron wrote back in July, “he’s not a star yet, but not only could he become one, he could be the best player in baseball”. I’d have to agree.

So lets do some calculations!

So for those keeping score, that’s a net value of $104.25mil! No joke. And if you ask me, his WAR estimates might even be a little too conservative. The scary part is that by age 27, he should just be entering his best seasons.

Using Victor Wang’s prospect value chart, we know that a top ten hitting prospect is worth $36.5mil, a top 11-25 hitter is worth $25.1mil, and a top level pitcher is worth about $15mil. So yeah, trading for Upton means trading away any prospect of value in your system.

As a Yankees fan, a trade is intriguing. We’d be getting a potential Hall of Fame, at the ripe age of 23, and chances are he’d be a Yankee for life well beyond 2015. As the Yankees deal with lofty contracts belonging Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, among others, Upton will be relatively cheap. Especially from 2011-2013. Swisher will be gone after 2011 or 2012 anyway, with no internal replacement in sight. Trading for Upton would allow New York to trade Swisher, who could fetch a couple decent prospects which would somewhat “re-stock” the system after a possible Upton trade. But who would the Yankees give up?

The first name to pop up is obviously Jesus Montero. He is the number one positional prospect in baseball and many project his bat to play like Frank Thomas or Manny Ramirez as a catcher, if he can stick there. Would I give up him? Yes, but it would hurt. It would hurt since he is so close to joining the team after so many years of being awesome the minors. I’ve been waiting forever for him to debut. But he is still just potential. He could flop and fail. Upton has succeeded in the ML already and has Hall of Fame potential, as I’ve mentioned. Give me the sure thing. Especially since he would then probably remain a Yankee well past 2015 when his current deal is up.

Who else would the Yankees have to give up? I’d imagine some names would be Dellin Betances, Andrew Brackman, Manny Banuelos, Hector Noesi, and Ivan Nova. Outside Banuelos, I would give all of them up. Dellin could be a beast, but he does have a poor record of staying healthy and I don’t want to miss out on Upton because of the potential of a health-risk prospect. Despite giving up so many good pitching prospects, the Yankees would still have solid arms in Adam Warren, Jose Ramires, and Graham Stoneburner. Plus, we would still have Austin Romine, who I liken to Kurt Suzuki, and Gary Sanchez. Sanchez may be years away, but he is Montero 2.0 and could make us forget Jesus Montero, even if Montero goes onto a stellar career himself.

So if I’m the Yankees, I would seriously look into Justin Upton. What other team should get in on Upton? The Washington Nationals.

It’s time for winning baseball to return to the nation’s capital. They have a growing core in Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman, and Bryce Harper. Trading for Justin Upton would give the team a dynamic group of superstars to build around. Zimmerman is arguably the best third baseman in the game. Upton and Strasburg could become the best in the game at what they do. Many think Harper is a prodigy. Having all four superstars on one team would be insane. The Miami Heat of baseball. Plus, they have the pieces to get a deal done. Derek Norris, Jordan Zimmerman, Ross Detwiler, Michael Burgess, Ian Desmond, Drew Storen, and so on. Let Arizona pick from anybody in the organization besides their current big three. I really hope Washington is one of the teams getting serious.

The final question is why is Arizona trading Upton? To be honest, I don’t know. He is the face of franchise and while he would bring back a lot of great prospect, why not just take the production he will give you for a well below market value contract? It’s not like Arizona is a shitty team. In the NL West they could easily compete sometime soon. Moreover, while he should fetch the equivalent of $100mil in value, I don’t think Arizona will get that much in actuality, so I think they will be ripped off. I would keep him, but I don’t know what direction Ken Towers want to take the franchise. So we’ll see how this plays out.

It should be fun.

Yankees trade Juan Miranda for Scott Allen

November 18, 2010

In other news, the Yankees traded 1b Juan Miranda for minor league pitcher Scott Allen.

This news makes me sad, because I love Juan “Man Child” Miranda. But it’s a solid move. I think Juan Miranda could be a useful ML player. Maybe not a starter, because he could get 300-400 PA against righties a year and hit above average with power. But he has no place on the Yankees in the foreseeable future. First base is blocked by Mark Teixeira. DH wouldn’t be an option since the Yankees have a revolving door for old players (Jorge Posada, Alex Rodriguez) and even some prospects (Jesus Montero).

So the return for Miranda should be small, but the Yankees did a good job on that small return. Scott Hall was a 2009 draft pick in the 11th round, so he’s got some talent. Last season he made 16 starts and threw 78 innings in A ball. He had a 9.12 K/9, 2.54 BB/9, 0.58 HR/9, and a 2.97 FIP. So he has some potential. He gives up a lot of fly balls which could become a problem, but for now, he looks promising. There is a great chance he never throws an inning for the Yankees at the ML level, but his promise is worth trading a 28 year old first baseman who has not future for sure with the Yankees. I mean, the kid isn’t even 20 yet.

Meanwhile, Arizona very well could have gotten a decent starting first baseman, in a hitters park, for a low level prospect. Solid trade all around.

Addressing Yankee trade rumors: Dan Haren and Zack Greinke

July 23, 2010

Rumors of a potential Dan Haren trade have been swirling for weeks, but they have kicked up a notch recently, with the Yankees listed as one of the potential trade partners. I have been doubting New York’s true interest in Haren, but the latest rumors say that if Arizona wants to talk prospects instead of ML ready players, talks with New York would heat up. So let me break down a potential trade between the two teams.

First off, let me start by saying Dan Haren is an awesome pitcher. Here are his WAR numbers starting from 2005 to 2009: 4.0, 4.0, 4.9, 6.5, and 6.1. He’s a pretty good pitcher as you can tell. His career numbers include a 3.69 FIP, 3,61 xFIP, 3.99 tERA, 7.74 K/9, 1.97 BB/9, and 1.07 HR/9. That’s quite filthy. But 2010 has been a quasi-down year for Haren. While he is sporting a career best 9.00 K/9 and has a 1.85 BB/9, his home run rate has exploded. Currently it is 1.47 HR/9 which has led to a 3.92 FIP. On the bright side, his xFIP is 3.31 and his rest of season projection gives him a 3.27 FIP. His periphs indicate that he has been just fine.

So lets project him going forward. A 2.0 WAR the rest of the way, including the playoffs, is a plausible figure. At a 2010 market rate per win of $4, that gives him $8mil in value for 2010. Being conservative, lets project him to have a 5.0 WAR next season, with a 0.5 decrease each season thereafter. So in 2012 his WAR will be 4.5 and in 2013 it will be 4.0. For those seasons let say the market rate per win is $4.4mil. 4.4 x 13.5 = $59.4mil. Add in his $8mil in value for 2010 and you get a total value of $67.4mil. But through 2013, if his option is picked up, he will be owed $44mil. Subtract that from $67.4 and you get a total value of $23.4mil*.

*I didn’t adjust for inflation, but that shouldn’t hinder the results too much. And I did not tack on value for draft picks after the 2013 season, since I can’t say for sure he will be a Type A or B free agent, and plus the value of prospects can change over the next three seasons.

So that means the D-Backs should expect about $23mil-$24mil in return value. That instantly rules Jesus Montero out of the question. If you consider Austin Romine a top 26-50 hitting prospect, which many do, then he is worth $23.4mil on the dot. In reality would Arizona trade for Austin Romine straight up? I doubt it. A prized prospect (although I don’t see why) is Eduardo Nunez. A package with similar level prospects (Nunez/McAllister/Laird?) might be able to seal the deal, but again, I don’t see Arizona going for that. In the end, I think if the Yankees end up acquiring Haren, they will overpay to do so.

But is Haren even worth it? For 2010, he will help. With Pettitte out until September, he would be a significant upgrade over Sergio Mitre as a member of the starting rotation. Plus, he would still be in pinstripes for at least two more years and figure to be our #2 pitcher behind CC Sabathia. Haren is a stud with an affordable contract, so I’d be glad to have him. However, his HR rate in NYS might not be pretty and the move to the AL East might hurt his numbers. If the price is right, I’d be all for a Haren trade. If not, we can win in 2010 without him, and other options will be available in the next two years as well.

Another interesting trade rumor is Zack Greinke. Apparently, the Royals have no untouchables on their team- Greinke included. While the Yankees have not been linked in trade talks with the Royals, I would imagine Cashman is at least calling and kicking the tires. And he better be.

Greinke is one of the only players in baseball who I would trade a kings ransom for. He was ranked #20 on Dave Cameron’s recent “Trade Value” series and is a year removed from a Cy Young season. He is just 26 and has a fantastic, below market rate contract. If he posts a 2 WAR the rest of the way in 2010, a 6 WAR in 2011, and 5.5 WAR in 2012, I have his total value at $58.6mil. Subtract $29.5mil for his contract through 2012 and he has a total value of $29.1mil. But also factor in he will be a 28 year old pitcher at the end of 2012, entering his prime. If he is on the Yankees before then, you know they will sign him long term. So he would be worth way more than $29.1mil.

Jesus Montero would head the package for Greinke. Maybe even Joba Chamberlain as well. Greinke is THAT good. I probably would trade Montero and Chamberlain for a 26 year old Cy Young worthy pitcher. I don’t know how much further I’d go, but you could put the AL Pennant on lock down mode for the next few seasons. CC/Greinke/Hughes- yawn.

Know, I know about his mental health, but he should be just fine pitching in NYC. I doubt the Bronx environment will suddenly cause him to walk batters and forget how to throw a baseball. Maybe he might need to adjust at first to a new atmosphere, but he is not going to lose his talent. As a professional, he still goes to big cities such as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles as a visitor and he performs well there. I have enough confidence in him to trade Montero and other highly regarded players for his services.

In the end, I doubt the Yankees make a trade for either pitcher (especially Greinke) but I’m covering the bases, just in case.

OFFICIAL: Cliff Lee to Texas Rangers

July 9, 2010

Yup, it’s official. Cliff Lee and Mark Lowe will be going to Texas in exchange for Justin Smoak, Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke, and Matt Lawson.

Well, what a day.

This is a win-win for the two clubs involved. Seattle gets a very good return. Justin Smoak and Jesus Montero are interchangeable as far as I’m concerned. Both were top prospects entering the season with big time potential offensively. If anything, Smoak is the smarter move since he already is in the Majors, while Montero has struggled somewhat in AAA and still hasn’t put to rest notions that he cannot catch in the majors. However, Montero is projected to be a better hitter, with many comparing him to Miguel Cabrera or Manny Ramirez. While those are pretty optimistic comparisons, you get the idea. He’s also three years younger than Smoak. While David Adams and Zach McAllister are solid prospects, so is Blake Beavan, who has been pitching well in the PCL, a notorious hitters league.

Meanwhile, Texas all but assured themselves the AL West crown and bumped their World Series odds greatly. After the Yankees, I’d give Texas the best odds of winning the World Series over Tampa Bay, Atlanta, or any other team for that matter. They have a great defense, good offense, good bullpen, and now have an ace to compliment Colby Lewis, CJ Wilson, and Tommy Hunter. This team could be scary good from here on out. Yes, I know they are giving up six years of a cost-controlled player who will likely outproduce what Lee gives them the rest of the year. Yes, I know they gave a divisional rival four prospects for three months of Cliff Lee, but Texas has a deep farm system that wasn’t really dug into with this trade. Moreover, unlike New York, the marginal win value for Texas here is pretty big. Texas has never won the World Series before, so taking that into consideration along with everything else at play and it’s understandable as to why Texas would go all in for 2010. Plus, they’ll still get the two draft picks for Cliff Lee when he leaves.

As a Yanks fan, I can’t complain. I am glad we did not give up Jesus Montero and it’s a good thing he went to the financial shit hole that is Texas, because Cliff Lee will not be re-signing with them, making the Yankees the favorites to land him in the off-season. However, chances are we will face Texas in the ALCS. While we are still the better team, but in a seven game series anything can happen. Texas matches up well with us, so it will be a hard fought series. It should make for fascinating theater come October.

And Jack Z is a good, but crude GM. He played this beautifully. He used New York to drive up the price and once he got the offer he wanted from the Yankees, he pulled out to shop Lee around to the other suitors. However, we’ll see if his reputation takes a hit among the other GM’s. GM’s seem to covet their respectability among each other and other GM’s might see how Jack played New York and try to avoid business with him in the future. Either way though, Jack Z did play the game and was a big time winner.

Overreaction

July 9, 2010

Okay, so it’s been a couple hours and I’ve let the trade soak in.

I still think it’s an unnecessary trade where the value we give exceeds the value we will be getting in return. In fact, a commenter on RLYW said it best:

Of course we’re all going to back Lee, none of us ever said differently. We can only judge based off of what we do know, which is that we’re trading our best prospect since Jeter(maybe, arguable) for a 4 month rental of someone we could have had after the season purely for cash.

All in exchange for an extremely slight upgrade in our already high chances of winning it all this year.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Lee is amazing, but he only provides a slightly better chance of winning the World Series. That is not worth a prospect that has the magnitude of Jesus Montero.

However, there are positives to the trade.

1) We are clear cut World Series favorites. I should just embrace that. Rather than fret over losing a huge piece of the future, I should just sit back and enjoy the present moment, because who knows how the future will play out.

2) It’s Cliff Lee. SG of RLYW pointed out, he isn’t Pedro circa 1999-2000, but as I highlighted in my AL Cy Young post, Cliff Lee is having an historic season. There is a good chance he will break the single season record for K/BB. Our staff is already solid and boasts three all-stars, but Lee will make that four all-stars.

3) Dynasty. If we win the title this year it will mean the Yanks will be the first back to back World Champions since they did so from 1998-2000. But the near future could hold even more titles. In all likelihood, the Yanks will retain Lee’s services in the off-season. The rest of the team should pretty much retain in tact. But the development of a dynasty depends on a couple things. One is Austin Romine’s development. While he doesn’t have the star potential of Jesus Montero, I could see him producing similar to a Kurt Suzuki. I’ll take solid defense, league average offense- which is actually good for a catcher-, and 3 WAR seasons from my catcher. The other is the development of Gary Sanchez. As a teenager in the GCL, he looks like Jesus Montero 2.0 except slightly better defensively. If he can develop into a legitimate prospect three to five years from now, it will soften the blow of losing Montero. And if I had the choice between keeping Montero or trading Lee in the hopes of a dynasty, I would take the dynasty. The point of the game is to win championships. If the acquisition of Lee could be the foundation of a dynasty run, then yeah, it will be worth trading Montero.

If we don’t win a championship this season though…whoa boy. But let’s not even think of that possibility.

I’m going to miss you, Jesus. You’re the one minor league player whose boxscore I checked every night, going back to your days in the GCL. Good luck in the Seattle Mariners organization and don’t make this loss sting too much. Besides, six years from now when the Mariners don’t have the money to give you your 10/$100000000000mil deal, we might be getting you back in another trade (I can hope, right?).

And Cliff, welcome to the Bronx. Don’t let us down.

P.S.- Later today or tomorrow I want to breakdown Cashman’s past three “big” trades over the past seven months, going back to the Curtis Granderson trade. I adhere to the “In Cashmoney We Trust” motto, and he has made some absolute heists on the trade market, but these past three have been quite interesting to say the least.