Yesterday, Brian Cashman pulled off two trades. First we heard that the Yankees had acquired DH/1B Lance Berkman from the Houston Astros in exchange for Mark Melancon and low-A second basemen Jimmy Paredes. Then we got news that the Yankees had acquired OF Austin Kearns from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for a player to be named later. Then, on the day of the Trading Deadline the Yankees acquired Kerry Wood from the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named later or cash.
Lance Berkman is owed 5 million dollars for the remainder of the season and then he has a $15M option for 2011 but part of the trade agreement is that the option cannot be picked up so the Yankees will have to buyout Berkman’s option for $2M. So in total Berkman is guaranteed $7M, but the Astros have agreed to pay about $4M of the $7M leaving the Yankees with only $3M to pay. The Yankees aren’t giving up too much to acquire Berkman, Paredes is years away from ever becoming a valuable major leaguer, if he ever does become one. However, it is tough to give up Mark Melancon. Melancon has the potential to be a top-flight reliever but has struggled in the opportunities he has gotten in the majors. In addition, Melancon has struggled the entire 2010 season in AAA. His top quality used to be his great strike throwing ability, but this year he has not shown that. Maybe the Yankees think his struggles are permanent, or more likely the Yankees just had to give up quality to get quality in Berkman. Berkman should settle into the DH role when the Yankees are facing right handers and he could bat second in the order if Girardi feels that is where he is best suited.
Austin Kearns is a nice backup outfielder and should fit in nicely with the Yankees. His arrival probably means Colin Curtis will be sent back to AAA though. Still, Kearns is an upgrade over Curtis. Kearns is a very good rightfielder (11.0 career UZR/150 in RF). In limited appearances in left field and center field he hasn’t been as good, but that’s tough to qualify because of the small sample size. Kearns wOBA this season is sitting at .342 with is almost exactly in line with his career wOBA average of .343 so the Yankees should expect consistently decent hitting out of Kearns.
Kerry Wood is just coming off the DL, but could be a huge part of the Yankees bullpen.