There's only hours left until the (non-waiver) trade deadline, and my guess is the Yankees will pull off at least one deal, if not more. Obviously the target for improvement would be in the bullpen, and the most attractive prize out there is Eric Gagne. The question then becomes would the Rangers lower their ridiculous demands, or would they continue to ask for the moon in hopes of signing Gagne to an extension (remember, Gagne is represented by the anti-extension agent, Scott Boras).
Farnsworth certainly seems to have worn out his welcome. It's a shame. The guy has all of the talent in the world but never really has learned to pitch. A big problem that the Yankees have right now is that they have too many similar relievers, guys with good fastballs without a lot of movement who relay mainly on that pitch alone (Farnsworth, Proctor, Bruney). One of them is going to go, and interest in Farnsworth seems low. Cashman has had an interest in Wilson Betemit for a couple of years now, and while the guy certainly has potential, he's yet to really put together any sort of impressive campaign in the major leagues. Moving Proctor however would give the Yankees a better backup option than Miguel Cairo in exchange (although my guess is Torre would elect to keep both players for some reason) and free up a roster spot for Joba Chamberlain.
The Rockies supposedly have interest in Farnsworth. Perfect. A guy who throws a 100 mph flat fastball in Coors (humidor balls or no humidor balls). Can't wait to see the 600' HR Pujols hits off of him.
In a perfect world, when Chris Britton returns from injury and finally gets a long overdue promotion, the bullpen could shape up like this:
Of course that would mean promoting the effective guys, going with a 7 man 'pen, and saying goodbye to Mike Myers. Villone stays because of all of them, he's the only one really capable of a long relief role (I don't think Joba should be used that way unless he's on a regular work schedule, ie. 3 innings every 3 or 4 days. Historically, Torre lets his long man sit in the bullpen for ages without use.) A more realistic option would have Britton toiling away in AAA, and Myers still on the big club (Joe's gotta have those crafty vets, you know).
Ian Kennedy stays in AAA as a starter. I suppose he's now the new "next in line" should an injury happen.
Besides Betemit, there are other infield options. Houston's Mike Lamb is available, and Cashman should certainly look into picking him up. He was a Yankee during spring training a couple of years ago, but lost the roster spot to Travis Lee. He's hitting .299/.378/.480 with an OPS+ of 123 and can play RF, LF, 3B, 1B, and 2B. For everyone who's fallen in love with Andy Phillips lately... well, he's a lot better than Andy Phillips, and has the versatility to move around the field when needed. In my oh so humble opinion, he is exactly the type of player the Yankees need on the bench at this point in time.
I'll be back throughout the day with updates as rumors become deals and deals become official.
Update, 8:15 AM PST: The Red Sox send Joel Piniero to St. Louis for some sticky ribs and a bucket of used baseballs. Pretty much a non-factor deal. I do love though how in every trade rumor I read involving Boston, they are said to be offering "a package involving Wily Mo Pena." Well, no shit. You don't want Pena, but neither does anyone else.
Update, 9:57 AM PST: It seems as if Proctor for Betemit is a done deal. I really don't know how big a fan I am of this deal because I still think Mike Lamb was a better option and now because of the glut of infielders that Joe Torre loves, there's very little chance of bringing him over. On its own though, I like the move. This seems kind of odd though:
The Yankees view Betemit as another first-base/DH/bench option for this year, and a potential third-base replacement for Alex Rodriguez next year.Bench? Sure. First base? Ok, in the mix. DH? Why in the world would the Yankees need another DH when you have Jhonny the Homicidal Maniac and Godzilla in the field, and the zombie formerly known as Jason Giambi on the mend? There's no reason to DH the guy. The OPS+ of 116 is good, but I'm sure you'll hear a lot more about the .231 BA from the mainstream idiot media.
At least when Proctor's arm inevitably falls off, it will be up to Russell Martin (and not Jorge Posada) to catch the bloody stub.
Update, 10:36 AM PST: The San Diego Union-Tribune has a story in today's paper that the Padres may be interested in Kei Igawa, for whom they bid $10M this past offseason. It wouldn't be the first time the Yankees and Padres swapped a Japanese import. The Padres are still in contention for the Western Division title though, so probably wouldn't be willing to give up much in the way of major league ready talent. Add in the fact that they just traded away one of their relievers, and the likelihood of this deal going down just doesn't seem very high.
Update, 11:25 AM PST: The reports all say it's Gagne to Boston for David Murphy and Kason Gabbard. What makes no sense here is that by all reports I've read, Texas turned down offers of Clippard/Marquez and Clippard/Karstens and demanded Hughes and/or Chamberlain from the Yankees, and yet they accept this deal from Boston for what seems to be far inferior talent? I'm no conspiracy theorist. I'm not the type that thinks MLB conspires against the Yankees. However, Scott Boras is Gagne's agent. The one team in the mix of teams (Boston, Milwaukee and the New York clubs) that was on Gagne's limited no trade list was the Red Sox. In order to waive that clause, Boston will probably have to guarantee him the "closing" incentives in Gagne's contract, which add up to well over $3M for this year. Does it sound that ridiculous that Jon Daniels has a handshake agreement with Boras to get his client the extra $3M from the Red Sox in exchange for bringing Gagne back next year, or setting up another player's contract or extension? With Boras, this seems almost status quo, so this deal in retrospect isn't surprising at all.
Update, 12:28 AM PST: ESPN live chat line of the day:
Bob: In your opinion, who's the most knowledgable baseball guy for ESPN?
Jonah Keri: (3:22 PM ET ) Too many to count. Gammons, Stark, Neyer, Law, Caple, Neel, the always sharp Curtis Granderson...great bunch.
Alex (Toronto): Does Chris Berman not count as a baseball analyst? Or is he too busy with leather?
Jonah Keri: (3:23 PM ET ) hehe
Labels: brian cashman, ian kennedy, joba chamberlain, joel piniero, kei igawa, kyle farnsworth, mike lamb, scott proctor, trade rumors, trades, trading deadline, wilson betemit
posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 7:46 AM