I was surprised to see a report in the Daily News today that the Cubs might make a move to send Melky Cabrera or Brett Gardner to Chicago in exchange for a pitcher. According to FoxSports.com, the move would be initiated by the Cubs GM.
With the recent loss of the Cubs OF Milton Bradley and the Yankees shortage of pitchers, coupled with the fact that the Yankees have extra outfielders and the Cubs have extra pitching, the deal would make sense.
As the Yankee outfield looks right now, its Granderson in center, Swisher in right and Melky in left. Gardner and recent Rule 5 draft pick-up, Jamie Hoffman, would be the fourth and fifth outfielders respectively.
Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lily, Ryan Dempster and Randy Wells are the Cubs top pitchers. Zambrano is a head case that I don’t need to watch everyday, freaking out in the clubhouse. Dempster had a great year in 2008, but is iffy otherwise. Lily is a solid, veteran starter. Wells is an extremely young starter who seems to have a lot of potential.
So, in the rumor stages of this deal, you can pick which pitcher you would like to see. Either way, the Yankees need pitching. As it looks right now, these options on the Cubs look a lot better than what’s left on the market. Neither Gardner or Cabrera is going to be a huge difference maker, but will the Yankees be willing to give one of them up?
UPDATE 8:58 p.m. Ken Davidoff of Newsday tweets that the Yankees talked to the Cubs about a trade for Zambrano. No talks are active as of now. Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated also tweets that if this trade were to happen, the Yankees could go after Jermaine Dye to fill in for Melky/Gardner.
Poll of the Day:
Should the Yankees trade Melky/Gardner for a pitcher?(online surveys)
Back and forth we go. The 36 year old Damon has made it very clear that he wants to return to the Yankees, but his price has been set too high for the liking of the Yankees. Damon’s agent, Scott Boras, wants $13 million for three-years, no less. Or so he says.
Ken Davidoff of Newsday tweets that the Yankees offered Damon two-years for $14 million. Boras responded with a counteroffer of two-years, $26 million, lower than what he initially demanded.
And so unfolds the truth.
Ken Davidoff tweeted later that the Damon requested a two-year, $22 million deal, which the Yankees declined.
When you first look at this story, you say: Well, I guess the Yankees just don’t want Damon. That is not at all the case. Cashman has expressed his desire to bring back Damon, specificallly by calling him “the perfect number two hitter.” He has never outright said that he has closed the doors on talks with Damon.
Instead, I think that this decline was a strategy. When Boras countered with a two-year deal, the Yankees saw that Damon really wanted to play for the Yankees, and was willing to lower his offer. So, all of the talk about going to another team was, indeed, a bluff.
Once again, the Yankees are in the drivers seat. It seemed a week ago that if Damon was going to come back, the Yankees would have needed to back down. Instead, it’s now Damon that will need to back down. What else is new?
Poll of the Day:
Should the Yankees resign Damon regardless of the price?(opinion)
Bottom line: With Bruney and Coke gone and left field taken care of, the Yankees need pitching, and lots of it. With the bullpen thin, Chamberlain and Hughes need to stay there. So, as the rotation stands right now, there are only three guys there. Cashman has hinted that Lackey is too high of a price, so lets take a look at a smaller investment: Kelvim Escobar.
- He will come pretty cheap.
- He has a 4.15 ERA in 12 seasons.
- He has pitched in Anaheim, so he is used to big games.
- He has postseason experience.
- He is pretty young at age 33.
- He has started over 200 games in his career.
- He isn’t a type A or B, so the Yankees won’t lose any draft picks.
- There are better options on the free agent market.
- He was injured last year and had very limited playing time.
- He walked 7.2 batters per nine innings last season.
Chat or Chuck?
Chat. With three accomplished and reliable starters in Sabathia, Burnett and Pettitte, a big game ace pitcher, such as Lackey, is just unnecesary. Escobar can be a reliable end of the rotation pitcher. Like I said, the Yankees need pitching. Every option is important, and Escobar is a very good option.