Evans vs. Brost: Part I

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Editor’s Note: Using the formula that has worked so well at Grantland between Bill Simmons and Malcolm Gladwell, Yanks Go Yard editors Jason Evans and Billy Brost have decided to set a couple of days per week aside to exchange long-winded e-mails on topics that they discuss with each other in regards to the Yankees, free agent pitching options, Bret Boone, Jose Canseco, a Brett Gardner for Chase Headley trade, and a little bit of something in between.

Brost: This whole Masahiro Tanaka posting story is really starting to grate on me. I feel like MLB rushed to get this new deal done, almost as a way of punishing big market teams from blowing away teams like Houston and Seattle. Now, anybody can bid on him. As a result, Rakuten is upset that they missed their “Darvish and Mastuzaka-type” payday. Rakuten is now going to play games with MLB, and yo-yo this guy until the very last minute, while reports continue to post that he is being posted, that he won’t be posted…ENOUGH ALREADY! This new posting agreement is becoming a joke rather than helping smaller and mid-market clubs from being able to acquire elite Japanese talent. What should’ve gone into the agreement, was a deadline date for Japanese teams to either post or keep their players. Forgetting to do this, has put the entire domestic free agent market into a standstill. Ridiculous.

Evans: The Japanese are getting really screwed over in this deal which made me skeptical of the deal to begin with. It’s okay though. This standstill is making me think of launching a new Twitter campaign #garzainpinstripes. Can we use the yanks account to do this?

Brost: That would be great if I wanted Garza in pinstripes, but I don’t, and I’m not sure the higher ups would be keen on investing time and manpower to campaign for someone who when healthy is no better than a #3 starter in most rotations. I feel like he is the most overrated free agent arm on the market in the past several years. He began last season on the DL with the Cubs, got his wish and was traded to a contender, and not only did he have some ugly outings, his elbow began to bark towards the end of the season. I smell Carl Pavano somewhere, and his current incarnation is Matt Garza.

Now if you are looking to spend the same money, and be assured of both high Ks, a guy that makes 30 starts every single season, and has shown the ability to be a legit #1, then you’re talking about #BringUbaldoToTheBronx. I know he’s had his share of rocky outings (pun absolutely intended), but when he was right in 2010 in Colorado, and the second half of last season, there were many more dominant right-handers in the game. Sure he had a softer schedule to pitch against in the second half, but he did post nice victories over Kansas City, Baltimore, Texas and Toronto-all of whom don’t have anemic lineups by any stretch of the imagination. I think it bodes well for the Yankees that Cleveland has been the only team to really show interest in bringing him back, and if his issue was indeed mechanical, and he’s corrected that and can maintain it, he’s easily the best of the three starting pitchers looking for the bigger, longer deals.
Evans: Ive just never liked Ubaldo. He’s had 1 1/2 good years in his career, other than that his numbers make Garza’s look Hall of Fame-worthy. His fastball velocity is declining faster than University of Texas football.  Speaking of decline, how about Matt Thornton?
Brost: The Yankees missed the boat on allowing Logan to go to Colorado. So I’m reading today that Tanaka is a better fit in Seattle than New York. How exactly is that the case? Sure, his former teammate in Japan currently plays for Seattle, and that region of the country has a large Asian population, but he will never win, and what about marketing and endorsements? Casey Close is a much more experienced agent than Jay-Z, and I can’t see him with a clear conscience, allowing his client to minimize his exposure by signing in Seattle. Last time I looked, things went pretty well for Matsui, and the Yankees have Kuroda and a living Japanese legend in Ichiro…
Evans: You don’t know that he will never win. The Mariners have won in the past. What if their prospects develop and they add Nelson Cruz too?
Brost: That division is loaded. Oakland keeps finding ways to do it on a minor league budget, Texas has a ton of depth both at the ML level and in the minors, Artie Moreno isn’t going to sit by and spend all of that money and not get something out of it, and even Houston is making basic attempts to compete. Cano’s numbers are going to drop in that ballpark and with no protection in that lineup. Cruz is no guarantee, as the Orioles are still in on him, and other teams may see his market falling and make a run at him. The Mariners haven’t mattered since Ichiro was first coming on to the scene. Seattle has a lot of work to do to make themselves contenders.
Evans: Okay, but saying they will never win is silly. Did anyone see the Orioles coming two years ago? It’s baseball, so you never know.
Brost: Two words: Lloyd. McClendon.
Evans: So he sucked his first time. You know who was a bad manger before he got to the Yankees? Joe Torre.
Brost: Difference is, Joe Torre kept his teams competitive and continued to get recycled throughout his career. McClendon was Jim Leyland‘s lap dog since getting fired in Pittsburgh. Besides, I don’t think Stengel in his prime could get the Mariners above Oakland, Texas and LA in the AL West.
Evans: He made the playoffs once before the Yanks…
Brost: I said competitive, not championship-caliber. We are getting off topic, simply stated, only a miracle will get Seattle over the hump in the AL West. My guess, is that within three years of this deal, we are going to be reporting that Seattle is shopping Cano, and the Yankees could be a possible landing spot. I agree with former manager Eric Wedge, the front office and ownership in Seattle has gone sideways, and this isn’t just sour grapes on the way out the door from Wedge. The Mariners offered him a job to stay in the organization, and he said thanks but no thanks. That tells me a ton about where that franchise is right now.
Evans: I don’t think the Yankees will want to take on that deal if he’s out there in 2016 or 17.
Brost: I think they would, but they are going to make the Mariners pay for stealing him away by eating a chunk of that contract.
Evans: I think they’ve moved on and wouldn’t want to do that. Don’t think it would look good.
Brost: I thought the same thing when Clemens and Pettitte left them high and dry at the end of ’03, and yet we saw them come back again. The Yankees are about winning, and if Cano is made available down the road, and the team is still looking for a solid second baseman, I wouldn’t put it past them whatsoever.
Evans: But of those were for shorter commitments and they went closer to home, not for the money.
Brost: If Cano is producing, and the Mariners once again go into rebuild mode a few years into the deal, I could see the Yankees making a run at him.
Evans: Yanks may not have the prospects to get him.
Brost: We can only sit back and see who develops. I still think it’s funny how people constantly bag on the Yankees farm system, yet when a big trade is involved, the team always has someone to get the deal done…they may not work out at the big league level, but hey, that’s on their scouts, not the Yankees. Selling the prospect is half the job of dealing them.
Evans: They certainly know how to sell.
Brost: I still wonder if Jesus Montero would’ve hit better in New York. Outside of a handful of guys, Seattle has been a wasteland for hitters. Remember when they signed Adrian Beltre and he didn’t do ANYTHING? Goes to Boston, becomes the LA Dodgers version of Beltre, then goes and gets paid and is continuing to hit in Texas.
Evans: Bret Boone didn’t have an issue…
Brost: Bret Boone was Mark McGwire. He didn’t hit that way in Cincy, Atlanta, or San Diego. Look how quickly he went over the cliff.
Evans: Are you saying he juiced?
Brost: We know he juiced.
Evans: What report was he mentioned?
Brost: Take it for what it’s worth and however you may feel about Jose Canseco, but here’s what Canseco said: In Juiced, Jose Canseco describes an encounter at second base with Boone where Canseco comments about Boone’s physique to which Bonne replies ‘Shh, don’t tell anybody.’ Canseco calls him an ‘obvious’ user with a ‘small frame and huge arms’.
Evans: Forgive me if I say no way to Jose.
Brost: How many players did Canseco name have sued him for libel, slander or defamation of character? The silence is deafening.
Evans: They probably don’t want to bother with him.
Brost: I’m not buying it. He was a mediocre player prior to his time in Seattle, juiced up, and became a beast. Began breaking down, and was out of baseball within a few years. At least brother Aaron fessed up to his mistake (pick up basketball). Haha.
Brost: Do you think the Yankees are going with Robertson? Are Balfour and Rodney still on their radar? If Garza signs elsewhere, will you now concede the fact that Ubaldo is a the better fit in pinstripes?
*Evans: Just because Garza may sign elsewhere doesn’t mean he’s the worse fit. I still believe Balfour will be in pinstripes as I talked about in my bold predictions!
Brost: That was a great piece. Got some interesting reactions on the Twitter page for some of those. You might be a little nuts for some of those, but go bold or go home. I’d still like to see Balfour come to the Bronx, and I think Tanaka and Ubaldo would make the rotation the most dangerous outside of the Dodgers.
Evans: Not when Ubaldo gives up more homers than Hughes!
Brost: He had one bad season…enough with the home runs allowed already! The guy was well under league average for most of his run in Colorado, which the last time I looked, was a launching pad.
Brost: I will always believe had the Yankees realized that Hughes’ best role was the one he served in the bullpen back in ’09, that bullpen would be even better than is has been in recent years. It’s a shame nobody had the stones to say that to Cash or Girardi.
Evans: And what about Ubaldo’s declining velocity and his terrible first half of 2013?
Brost: Velocity has always been overrated. Did Maddux ever throw 97 or 98? It’s about locating pitches. Jimenez made several mechanical adjustments, which helped him turn things around during the second half.
Evans: And if he cant keep the changes?
Brost: What pitcher can? That’s where non-start work, film review and working with Larry Rothschild comes into play. They now know what works to make him elite. There have never been reports of him being a slacker or a bad teammate.
Evans: **
Brost: I just think if the Yankees are going to lay out big dollars on one of the three not named Tanaka, Ubaldo Jimenez is the guy. Big upside, more than average risk, but it’s not a health issue. The Yankees could get a relative steal, and he could turn out to be a #1-A or a #2 starter if he pitches to his potential.
Evans: Or he’s Pavano Part: 2 with a better work ethic.
Brost: I didn’t know we had moved back to Garza. Yes, Garza is Pavano Part II. Pavano had smaller injury issues prior to coming to New York. Garza is a Tommy John surgery waiting to happen. I have no reason to believe that Jimenez will ever be an injury risk for the Yankees. Hell, he had every reason to be when he first arrived in Cleveland and struggled, but he didn’t. He just went out and took the ball every fifth day.
Evans: And he sucked. And Garza is over the injury issues.
Brost: He did indeed…until it he corrected his issues. He has shown ace stuff in both Colorado and Cleveland. Garza is far from 100%, and the balky elbow came AFTER he was traded to Texas. Or maybe that was just what my father used to term “Loser’s Limp”. That’s when a guy knows he’s in over his head, and rather than take his beating like a man, makes up some nonsense injury to bow out of the game. That wouldn’t surprise me with Garza one bit.
Evans: And if Ubaldo breaks down? He showed ace stuff for a year and a half other than that he was trash.
Brost: His time in Cleveland was less than desirable. I’ve always admitted that. He was a big time power arm in Colorado, and the Rockies wiped out Cleveland’s top prospects to get him. It’s a big “if” believing he will ever break down. Handing Garza anything more than a 1-year deal is like resurrecting Carl Pavano all over again. Which by the way, I read he is wanting to work out for some teams. Cashman approached him about a return to the Bronx a couple of years ago, you think there is ANY chance the Yankees have scouts at that workout?
Evans: There’s a better chance of them watching me and I throw the speed limit.
Brost: Touche!
Evans: So if Yanks don’t get Tanaka or Ubaldo is Gardner gone for a pitcher?
Brost: I think he’s gone even if they get one of those two. Ideally, you’d like to sign both and keep Gardner, then perhaps deal him for a third baseman upgrade if A-Rod is done for any extended period of time. I still like the idea Gardner going to San Diego for Chase Headley.
Evans: Do they even want him?
Brost: From what I understand, the Padres have always loved Gardy. His bat plays well in that yard and he can maximize his speed. I think he would obviously add a new dimension to a lackluster offense. At some point, the Pads are going to give up on trying to extend Headley long term, and might feel their best bet is to deal him for a desirable player they would also like to keep long term. To me, it’s a good match up trade-wise.
Evans: But they can’t afford Gardner so why would the Pads do that?
Brost: Even with Gardner hitting free agency, I don’t think he would command the contract on the open market that Headley would. Perhaps they think if he comes out there, does well, enjoys the beautiful community of San Diego, and they make a competitive offer, he’ll sign a deal to stay.
Evans: Gardner and Ellsbury are comparable and look what he got…
Brost: They are comparable in two facets: basepaths and defense. It’s like Reggie Jackson said a couple of years ago about Gardner: If the guy could even hit .280, he’d be the most dangerous weapon in the American League. Ells has figured out how to hit, and even had a season with what, like 32 home runs? I don’t expect to ever see that again, but Gardner looked lost on the bases at times last year. I think he took a step backwards.
Evans: I don’t know, I think Gardner would have a very good argument when negotiating for a deal.
Brost: I think he will get paid, just not Ellsbury-type money. I look at Gardy as a tier below Ellsbury.
Evans: He could still get like 85 mil…
Brost: And I think if the Padres believe they are on the verge of contending, I could see them going there with him.
Evans: Then who’s on third for San Diego?
Brost: The Padres always seem to have someone they are ready to bring up and give some run to. I don’t know their minor league system well, but I suppose they could shift Jedd Gyorko over there. They seem to be pretty high on him.
Evans: Ok then who plays second? Forsythe? You’re robbing Peter to Paul then…
Brost: Well, by adding Gardner, you are playing to your ballpark’s strengths: speed and defense. As productive as A-Gon was in San Diego, he was an anomaly compared to the rest of the roster. Headley is the same way. While not nearly as powerful, he isn’t speedy and makes his money on being a run producer.
Evans: Still, you’re making yourself a weaker team by doing that if you’re the Friars…
Brost: I think Gardner long term with that team, that ballpark, and the NL-style of play, makes more sense for the Padres long term than Headley does. Just my opinion though…
Evans: I get that but they won’t be able to afford him. Plus it’s a very weak outfield free agent market next year.
Brost: San Diego isn’t as poor as everyone thinks they are. They just don’t want a bad contract (A-Rod, C.C., etc.) They are very frugal in that sense, but if Gardner were to be dealt out there, provide a charge into that lineup that gives them a different look, I could see them offering up $75-$80 mil if he performed. If he doesn’t, and remains a .250-.260 hitter, they will offer him less, and he won’t make much more on the open market.
Evans: Can always have that one desperate gm…like Seattle’s haha!
Brost: Game. Set. Match.
Be sure to follow editors Jason Evans @jasonjpevans and Billy Brost @Billy_Brost on Twitter!
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Tags: Brett Gardner Matt Garza New York Yankees News Ubaldo Jimenez

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