Every time the New York Yankees are eliminated from postseason play, 137 New Yorkers die (per season avg.)
Ok. I just made that up. But it sure seems that way doesn’t it? Actually, I probably could of made that number a little bit higher, but I think I got my point across.
Brian Cashman, Joe Giradi, Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump and Jay-Z aren’t down with anything short of a ring. As the recent “Moneyball” spoof indicates, they’re New York, they have a lot of money, and apparently in their neck of the woods money can be the cure all to their troubles.
The Yankees still score runs and they had the deepest bullpen in the MLB according to the WAR statistic. Regardless of what happens with C.C. Sabathia’s deal, I will make the assumption he is going no where, and Ivan Nova looks like he is going to have a fine career as well. That being said, the Yankees are going to be looking to bolster their rotation this off-season. Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon, despite their great contributions in 2011, are clearly not long-term solutions.
The 2012 free-agent market for pitchers is on the light side. The group will be headed by the 31-year-old C.J. Wilson from the Texas Rangers. You also got Aaron Harang (34) from the San Diego Padres. With Harang, you got the issue of an NL guy moving to the AL, which always seems to raise a red flag for a lot of people. And with Wilson, I’d suspect the Rangers are going to do every thing in their power to keep him around.
So, if the Yankees want to hit a home run in the starting pitching department and land a true difference maker, they might have to do so via trade. With the playoffs still going on, it may be premature to really get into discussions like these, but Brian Cashman and the Yankees will be getting an early start on targeting guys, since failure in New York is a little less acceptable compared to other places.
Since I’m assuming the Yankees will be focused on bringing in a real difference maker, here is a short list of two dream candidates, and two off-the-grid guys for New York:
Despite the coming out party for Justin Verlander in 2011, and the continued success of Roy Halladay, King Felix still might be the best pitcher in baseball. Still only 25, Hernandez possesses nasty stuff. The Seattle higher ups have to be tempted to see what a haul for King Felix would entail – it might be a group of players that could turn around things rather quickly if they played their cards right.
The repercussions would be extreme if they were to deal one of their two franchise players. Odds are it would piss of their fan base something serious.
But things from a pitching perspective in Seattle aren’t exactly in dire straights if you were to deal King Felix. You have your ace-in-training with Michael Pineda, and the supporting cast isn’t bad either. What the team really needs is some more offense to go around guys like Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley.
Morton pitched the best baseball of his career in Pittsburg this year, and at the age of 27, he has time to get better. The things about Morton I think should intrigue the Yankees are his groundball rate and fly-ball to home run ratio. Obviously due to the dimensions of the Yankees ballpark, New York needs to consider guys that keep the ball on the ground and can keep the ball out of the seats.
Morton’s groundball rate was the third best in baseball this year at 58.5%. He also had one of the lower HR/FB ratios at 5.8%
Charlie Morton wouldn’t exactly fit the bill as a sexy pick-up for people in the Bronx, but these two statistics might suggest a logical fit.
Porcello would kind of fit the mold of a Charlie Morton. His groundball rate and HR/FB rate are a little less impressive then Morton’s, but you would also be getting a kid who is only 22-years-old.
Rick Porcello would also have the experience pitching in big games, as his Tigers are still alive in the postseason, and he threw the infamous game 163 against the Twins a couple of years back.
When its on, Porcello has one of the most effective sinkers in baseball, and he could potentially get a lot of AL East opponents to spank the ball into the ground towards New York’s reliable infielders.
Gonzalez would no doubt be a big splash. The Oakland A’s have a guy with one of the nastiest curves in history in his cheap years. But as is the case with King Felix, the A’s need some guys who can swing the bat, and in that case the Yankees would be dealing from a position of strength.
Ok. Basically I have given you two guys with Felix and Gonzalez who are premium pitchers, and two somewhat under-the-radar guys with Porcello and Morton. All four of these guys could easily be unrealistic options depending how their employers want to direct the focus of their ball clubs moving forward.
That being said, the Yankees have one player who could potentially get the ball rolling in all four of these cases. That would be Brett Gardner.
Now, obviously the Yankees don’t want to move Gardner. I would attest he is easily their most promising young player other than Robinson Cano. But the fact is Gardner could be a gigantic asset to all four of these teams in question. All four of these teams are desperate for a guy who plays great defense and can get on base.
Brian Cashman very easily could want nothing to do with trading their young outfielder, but look at the alternatives. Do the 2012 Yankees want to trust A.J. Burnett in a crucial playoff game again? I’m not so sure.