2010 Trade Deadline Analysis

With the 2010 Trading Deadline in the rearview mirror, we can finally stop listening to the latest rumors and actually think about the trades which were made. This year, many teams seemed to be very active in the trade market, including the Yankees. We all know that GM Brian Cashman tried very hard to acquire Cliff Lee and later Dan Haren. But when those two trades didn’t work out, I for one didn’t expect the Yankees to make any more moves until after the Trading Deadline. However, Cashman had other ideas. The Yankees would acquire Lance Berkman, Austin Kearns, and finally, Kerry Wood while not giving up too much. In total, the Yankees gave up Mark Melancon, Jimmy Paredes, a player to be named later, $4.8M, and another $0.5M or 2 organizational (it’s the Indians’ choice). Let’s take a deeper look at the players that the Yankees acquired and see how each individual improves the team.

Lance Berkman

"The Big Puma is happy to be with the Yankees." Photo Credit: Reuters Pictures via Daylife

Ever since Nick Johnson hit the DL, the Yankees have not really had a regular DH. Lance Berkman now helps fill that hole. Lance Berkman can fill in a first base occasionally if needed, but expect him to be the regular DH when the Yankees are facing right-handed pitchers. When the Yankees face lefties there is a good chance Berkman takes the bench and Marcus Thames gets the start as the DH (even though Berkman is a switch hitter, he isn’t that great against lefties). This DH platoon would be pretty impressive. Let’s take a look at each players’ splits.

In his career against righties, Berkman has a .304 AVG, a .425 OBP, a .584 SLG, and a .425 wOBA. Pretty impressive, huh? This year, his numbers are down a bit across the board, but they are still good. Against righties this year Berkman has a .256 AVG, a .390 OBP, a .471 SLG, and a .377 wOBA. If he could put up those numbers with the Yankees, they would be more than happy. So, we’d have to expect that Berkman will be the regular DH versus right-handed pitchers.

When the Yankees face left-handed pitchers, Marcus Thames will probably be the DH. In his career he has a .261 AVG, a .335 OBP, a .509 SLG, and a .361 wOBA.  This season Thames has only had 54 ABs against lefties so it’s hard to judge him based on that but he has put up a .315 AVG, a .406 OBP, a .426 SLG, and a .373 wOBA.

So acquiring Lance Berkman allows the Yankees to utilize Marcus Thames’ strength better and play him only against lefties which in turn allows the Yankees to utilize Berkman’s strength and only play him against righties. This way the Yankees now have a very good DH made of two players.

Kerry Wood

"Most people look good in Yankee pinstripes, but Kerry needs to shave that thing." Photo Credit: Getty Images via Yahoo Sports

We all know the Yankees bullpen hasn’t been too stellar this year. Outside of Mariano Rivera, pretty much everyone has been inconsistent. David Robertson has been very good lately, and I fully expect Joba Chamberlain to start putting up good numbers again. Still, another bullpen piece couldn’t hurt. Enter Kerry Wood. You may remember Wood since his phenom starter days with the Cubs, unfortunately he was never able to live up to the expectations due to injuries. The Cubs eventually moved Wood to the bullpen where he put up very good numbers. The Indians acquired Wood in 2009 and he put up okay numbers. This year Wood has not been that good and he is coming off an injury. So Wood is kind of gamble, but the Yankees basically gave up nothing to get him and he could pay great dividends. Imagine a Yankee bullpen where Wood becomes a reliable eight inning guy, Joba figures his stuff out and has the 7th inning covered up, and David Robertson continues his success. I’m not saying that will all happen, but it could. I love the move to bring in Kerry Wood.

Austin Kearns

"Kearns should fit in nicely with the Yanks." Photo Credit: Getty Images via Daylife

The Yankees acquired Austin Kearns because they had a lefty heavy outfield and were afraid to put Marcus Thames in the outfield. In Kearns they get someone who is a very good defender (8.5 career UZR/150 in the OF) and is not a bad hitter. Kearns has a .272 AVG this year with a .354 OBP and a .343 wOBA. If he can maintain that he will prove to be a great pickup. I would expect to see Kearns play against lefties occasionally probably getting starts in left field with Gardner moving to center field and Granderson moving to the bench. Hopefully a few days off against lefties here and there doesn’t hurt Granderson’s production. Still, I like the move to acquire Kearns.

Overall Grade: A-

I give Brian Cashman and the Yankees a A- for their efforts prior to the Trading Deadline. They improved the team while giving very little in return, what’s there not to like? How would you grade the Yankees pickups?

Check this out if you don’t already know about wOBA and want to learn more.

Yankees land Berkman, Kearns, & Wood

Photo Credit: Getty Images via Yahoo Sports

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.

Game 75: Yankees at Dodgers

The Yankees have split the first two games in this series against the Dodgers (which has been way overblown by the media) and tonight they look for the series win against Clayton Kershaw. Here is the starting lineup via Chad Jennings

SS Derek Jeter

RF Nick Swisher

1B Mark Teixeira

3B Alex Rodriguez

2B Robinson Cano

C Jorge Posada

CF Curtis Granderson

LF Brett Gardner

LHP Andy Pettitte

"Joe Girardi and the Yankees will say farewell to Joe Torre and the Dodgers tonight." Photo Credit: Getty Images via Yahoo Sports.

Interleague coming to an end…

Tonight the Yankees will play their final game against a National League team in 2010 except of course if they make it to the World Series. Since the Yankees will be returning to American League style baseball and rules, I’d have to imagine we will see a roster move coming up. The Yankees could of course stick with their current bench of Colin Curtis, Chad Huffman, Kevin Russo, Ramiro Pena, and Francisco Cervelli. However, it wouldn’t be out of proportion to think that a move may be made. In addition, I’d love to see Mark Melancon or Jonathan Albaladejo brought up to help out the bullpen.

Eiland returning…

Marc Carig reports that pitching coach Dave Eiland will return to the team on Tuesday after taking time away for personal reasons. It seems many people have liked blaming any recent pitching issues on Eiland’s absence so I guess that is finally over. Anyway, I hope all is well with Dave’s personal life and I am glad to have him back.

Brackman makes AA debut…

Just the other day I mentioned that the Yankees planned to promote Andrew Brackman to Double-A in the near future and it has happened. Brackman made his Trenton debut yesterday and pitched respectably, not that numbers mean much in the minors. Mike Ashmore has excellent coverage of Brackman’s start which includes over 1000 words worth of info, 5 exclusive photos, and 12 exclusive videos. You really should check it out.

Culver debuts

2010 draftee, Cito Culver, already has two games of professional baseball under his belt (and one hit). How’s that for signing extremely quickly? Anyway, the Daily News has a great article on Culver. It’s definitely worth the read.

"A-Rod will have to say goodbye tonight to Manny for the forseeable future." Photo Credit: Getty Images via Yahoo Sports.

A-Rod and Thames save Yanks from loss

Last night the Yankees defeated the Red Sox in a very exhilarating game. While I don’t want to waste all my time analyzing the entire game, I’ll try to break it down a bit.

This graph really shows how the momentum of the game really changed last night. First it was all Yankees, then all Red Sox, and then obviously back to the Yankees favor.

Pitching

If I had to sum the Yankees pitching last night up in three words, I’d say “not very good.” Fortunately, I’m not limited to three words.

Phil Hughes started last night’s game and only lasted 5 innings while giving up 5 runs and 2 home runs. He simply wasn’t very sharp. Although he threw a lot of strikes, they weren’t necessarily good strikes. In addition, it’s possible he didn’t have his best stuff. In the end, he didn’t pitch well, but he battled and that builds character and perhaps allows a pitcher to mature more than a dominating game does. I wouldn’t worry about Hughes yet, and remember young pitchers struggle.

Boone Logan followed Hughes and in one inning of work he allowed a home run to Victor Martinez. Logan may impress people with his velocity, but upon further look it’s clear his control is awful. There are tons of people who throw hard, but unless they can control the ball they aren’t very valuable. So far, Logan has fallen into that category. In addition, Logan (a lefty) has actually been worse against lefty batters this year than righties (not to say he has been good against righties). In my opinion the Yankees would be better off having Mark Melancon in the bullpen instead of Logan.

Chan Ho Park came in after Logan. Fresh off the DL Park looked good in his first inning of work. However, in the eight inning Park allowed 3 runs on 2 home runs. He looked very fatigued, and this was expected considering he hasn’t pitched multiple innings in over a month. I think in normal circumstances with the bullpen more deep, Girardi wouldn’t have turned to Park for two innings. I wouldn’t worry about this appearance at all, just remember his stamina is low coming of the DL and it certainly showed last night. Once he gets built back up he should return to form.

Damaso Marte took over for Park in the eight and got good results. In 1.2 innings of work Marte allowed no runs on 1 hit and 1 walk.

Javier Vazquez came in to get the last out in the ninth as it appeared Marte was tiring. Javy did the job, and actually picked up the win. Considering he only threw 4 pitches, Javy is still in line for his Friday start.

Offense

The Yankees scored 5 runs of Daisuke Matsuzaka in the first inning of last night’s ballgame, but they cooled down after that. Through the second to eight inning the Yankees only picked up 2 more runs. Going into the ninth inning the Yankees trailed 9-7. Would there be any late inning heroics like there were in 2009? Yes. With a man on and facing Jonathan Papelbon, Alex Rodriguez crushed one to left field to tie up the game. Then with Francisco Cervelli on base, Marcus Thames came up to the plate looking dead red. And he got red and took it deep to left for a walkoff home run. Ballgame over, time for pie! I don’t know about you but I never get tired of these unreal endings.

"A-Rod watches his home run leave the park." Photo Credit: Getty Images via Yahoo Sports.

"The look of pure happiness on Marcus Thames' face last night has to make you smile." Photo Credit: Getty Images via Yahoo Sports.

“Catching up with the blogging world”

Check out Matt Vereb’s exclusive interview with Nick Swisher. You can really see how nice a person Swisher is, plus Matt asks some good questions like “Who’s your best friend on the team?” I won’t spoil the answer, go check it out!

P.S. If there is a game tonight, you’re welcome to use this post to discuss it.