Thursday, November 19, 2009

Two More Yankee Rumors We're Not Buying

First up, via MLBTR, Bob Nightengale throws out one that's new to me:

Not so quietly anymore, apparently.

Even if we assume that Nightengale's sources are correct and that Brian Cashman has let other GM's know that Swisher is available for the right package (which every player essentially is), I can't see this leading to an actual trade.

We've discussed the state of flux that the Yankees' outfield is in this offseason multiple times, but with the assumption that Nick Swisher remaining in right field was a constant. Swish had a solid (albeit streaky) year at the plate and is signed for a reasonable $6.75M next year and $9M in 2011 with a $10.25M team option for 2012. With a team-friendly salary and above average offensive production (29 HR, 129 OPS+), Swish - along with Robinson Cano - make up the extent of movable impact bats in the Yankee lineup, so of course the club should listen to offers for him.

However, if Cashman does decide to trade Swisher, it would leave the Yankees with holes to fill in each corner of the outfield this offseason. As a slugging switch hitter, Swisher is a key component of the Yankees lineup and his average defense in RF over the last two years certainly hasn't been a detriment. Sure, the Yankees could trade him, but in all likelihood, they'd have to replace him with someone who is either not as good or more expensive.

If the Yankees played inside of a vacuum instead of in the Bronx, it might make sense to trade Swisher. They'd be certain to get back more than they gave up for him last offseason, thus "buying low and selling high", but it's unlikely that it would suit the club's long term plans, something that Brain Cashman undoubtedly would take into consideration.

The other rumor, which is now one day internet month old, is that Jon Heyman thinks the Yankees "have a real reason to believe" they could land Roy Halladay. The Blue Jays have reportedly willing to deal within the division and have granted Halladay a window to negotiate with any potential trade partner. That window would be used to determine if the team would be willing to extend him a contract offer that he would be in favor of waiving his no-trade clause for.

The fact that a team could secure him long term would help justify sacrificing the prospects they give up, but what kind of contract would Halladay be looking for? Considering that Doc is 32 years old, he probably wouldn't get CC Sabathia or Johan Santana money, but let's say, conservatively, it's 5 years at $100M. Would the Yankees really want to lock up very nearly $60M a year in three starting pitchers (Halladay, Sabathia & Burnett) for the next 4 years?

The Yanks had a chance to pay the double barreled cost of prospects plus a free agent-sized contract to acquire Johan Santana from the Twins (via a similar negotiating window) and passed. Do we really think that they want to do it now, after committing to Burnett and Sabathia with large and lengthy contracts? Our friends at River Ave. Blues don't.

I think that that situations involving Swisher and Halladay have a common thread. In both cases, the Yankees are doing their due diligence even though neither are likely to culminate in a trade. Reporters are paid to churn up these kinds of details during the offseason and might as well present them as if there is something to them. And that's generously assuming that these reports are correct.

A good GM should be leaving no stone unturned this time of year. They should be collecting every trade offer possible and inquiring about everyone who is available. But keep that in mind when one of these transmissions is breathlessly reported and subsequently analyzed. There's a lot more said than actually done 'round the ol' hot stove.


  1. Not only do I believe the Swisher rumor, I wholeheartedly endorse it. Bring me a man who can play right field without any of the misjudged fly balls and general goofiness.

  2. Even if said guy is more expensive or an inferior hitter?

    Swish does make his fair share of mistakes in RF, but he covers a good amount of ground, has a good arm, hits for power, gets on base and doesn't make much that money. Yeah, he's a little goofy sometimes, but the guys who have to deal with that on an everyday basis (his teammates/coaches) routinely cite him as a positive addition to the clubhouse.

  3. I desperately want Milton Bradley or Vernon Wells.

  4. "The Yanks had a chance to pay the double barreled cost of prospects plus a free agent-sized contract to acquire Johan Santana from the Twins (via a similar negotiating window) and passed. Do we really think that they want to do it now, after committing to Burnett and Sabathia with large and lengthy contracts? Our friends at River Ave. Blues don't. "

    Sigh. I really wish this meme wasn't so ossified, because I really think it takes the wrong lesson away from from the Santana sweepstakes. The Yankees weren't willing to "pay twice" for Santana because there was a good chance that Sabathia would be a free agent the next year, and Sabathia represented a suitable substitute for Santana. So the relevant question isn't so much whether they'll do the same thing again, but:

    A) Whether or not they want Halladay

    B) Whether or not they see someone who's likely to be a free agent as a suitable substitute for Halladay.

    C) What they would do in such a situation with the absence of any substitutes.

  5. Brien, that's a fair point but the Yanks don't have a giant, gaping void atop their rotation like they did when Santana was available. There was an urgency associated with that pursuit, which is why who might have been available during the next offseason was relevant. They had both the need and the dollars to spend. They might still have both of those but to a far lesser degree.

  6. No, the need isn't the same as it was then. Still, they do have holes, and behind Sabathia there isn't any starter who really strikes me as truly dependable. Burnett could get hurt, Pettite could get old, Joba and Hughes could be ineffective, etc. So I think it's perfectly likely that the Yankees could have legitimate interest in Halladay. So going back to my checklist, here's the differences I see:


    A) Yes they wanted Santana
    B) Yes there was a potential substitute (Sabathia one year later)
    C)Given the cost Minnesota was asking, they decided to wait and bet they could land Sabathia on the free agent market.


    A) Yes, I think they'd like to get Halladay
    B) I don't think there's any likely substitute for Halladay on the free agent market, at least unti Felix potentially gets there after 2011.
    C)I think it's ultimately all about cost. If the Yankees are comfortable with the dollars and prospects it would take to get him, I think they'll do it.

    Anyway, I meant to challenge the CW about the Santana trade more than argue for trading for Halladay.

  7. You can never have too much starting pitching.
    what would doc do in this rotation?
    burnett could benefit possible more good aj than bad aj next year
    besides somebody will go down during the year

  8. Personally, I don't want Halladay on the Yankees. I DO, but I don't. We have 2 excellent starters and for the $ it would take to sign Halladay, it would just be a little much. He throws a ton of innings like Sabathia, and one of these days, one of them (or even both) are gonna go through a big injury period. I also kinda get a tired of a bloated team salary. I love our desire to win at all costs, but I am much happier when we can win with developed homegrown guys. I'd rather not kill our farm system for a top pitcher in his 30s who throws a bajillion innings every year. It screams Randy Johnson all over again to me.