Saturday, July 26, 2008

Yankees Acquire Xavier Nady And Damaso Marte

  • Yankees acquire Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte from the Pirates for Ross Ohlendorf, Jose Tabata, Phil Coke and George Kontos:
Yankees GM Brian Cashman finally used some of that "organizational depth" he constantly
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refers to and filled two gaping holes. In acquiring Xavier Nady, it's hard to believe that the Yankees are under any illusions about what they're going to get out of him. He's not the .330 hitter he's been this year and he's had a history of being injury prone and/or unlucky; that being said, he's a good guy in the clubhouse; handled New York before and got some big clutch hits with the Mets; is a decent enough outfielder and can play first base; and he also hits well enough to the opposite field that the short right field porch at Yankee Stadium will be put to good use. With Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada both out or hindered for extended periods, the Yankees needed to beef up their offense and Nady is just good enough to do that. He's going to make a lot of money in arbitration this winter given the year he's having, but the Yankees have a load of money coming off the books and if Nady plays well, they're not going to blink about paying him.
Damaso Marte is a former Yankees farmhand who's bounced around and found a home with the Pirates as more than just a lefty specialist. His numbers against righties are good
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enough that he's no Mike Myers/Tony Fossas where leaving him in to pitch to a righty----any righty----is done so at their own risk. He was a workhorse with the White Sox before and during their championship season and pitched well for the Pirates as a set-up man and occasional closer. He has a $6 million team option for 2009, but the Yankees won't think twice about exercising that or extending it if Marte does well for them.
The Pirates had previously been asking for the moon for both Nady and Marte, but acquitted themselves well enough in this trade. They probably wouldn't have gotten more from any other interested team, so it was smart to take the Yankees deal when it was offered. Ross Ohlendorf struggled as a long-man/mop-up man for the Yankees this year
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and they projected him as a reliever, but he showed potential as a starter in the minors and may be better off in that role as a potential innings-eater at the middle-to-back-end of the rotation. He's big enough (6'4" 235) to handle a heavy workload. George Kontos is a right-handed pitcher who's also big (6'3" 215) and has put up big strikeout numbers in the minors as a starter. (Presumably both Ohlendorf and Kontos are smart as the former went to Princeton and the latter went to Northwestern.) Phil Coke sounds like more of a project than prospect since he's already 26, but he's lefty and has put up promising strikeout numbers. The big part of the trade for the Pirates, other than stockpiling some power arms, is Jose Tabata.
Tabata was one of the Yankees "untouchable" prospects that they were reluctant to
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include in any trades for veteran pitchers like Johan Santana (although I think Cashman was just trying to find excuses not to trade for Santana and then have to pay him as the Mets did). Tabata is still a baby as he's only going to be twenty next month; his walk totals imply plate discipline impressive in such a young player; he can run and will develop power as he matures; he's struggled a bit at Double A this year, but not enough to raise any questions about his future. If the Yankees make the playoffs and get what they need out of Nady and Marte and the Pirates get use from at least one of the pitchers and Tabata becomes a productive big leaguer, neither team is going to regret making this trade which had to be made from both ends. The Yankees couldn't afford not to improve both their bullpen and injury-ravaged outfield and the Pirates couldn't let their demands stand in the way of clearing salary for players they probably weren't going to keep past 2009 and who weren't going to be present when the Pirates become true contenders anyway.
  • Now that you mention it, the Padres should trade Jake Peavy as well:
Joe at Statistician Magician commented on my last posting that if my logic that the Padres should trade Adrian Gonzalez is accurate, then they should also deal Jake Peavy, and he's right; more so, in fact. Peavy is Tommy John-surgery waiting to happen with that motion and if
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the Padres are going to replenish their organization as quickly as possible, they should take advantage of Peavy's gaudy results to hypnotize another team into surrendering a big chunk of their farm system to get him and let them worry about when his arm is going to explode. The problem is that I have no faith in the Padres hierarchy to make a Marlins-like deal to extract slabs of another organization's best, blue chip prospects and develop them into stars; so as long as they still have the current management team, it's a big risk to do anything of consequence that would haunt the organization if it doesn't work.
  • Mets 7-Cardinals 2:
Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen is going to get the credit for the development of Mike Pelfrey, but the hot streak started well before Warthen arrived and while Rick Peterson was
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still there. Peterson's departure probably helped guys like Oliver Perez (who's a head case), but it doesn't diminish the good work he did with the Mets. I don't think anyone could've expected Pelfrey to mature and develop this fast and he has a chance to win 16 or 17 games if he keeps it up, and who would've predicted that?
I had to look back into my previous postings to make sure I never said anything too derogatory about Carlos Delgado and I didn't. While guys like Mike Francesa and the other "experts" at WFAN and in other places were saying that Delgado should be dumped or released----released!----my view was that as a veteran player who has lost bat speed, Delgado can't catch up to the fastballs of top-notch pitchers anymore, but since they had other holes and few alternatives, the Mets had little choice but to keep writing Delgado's name in the lineup and hope for a resurgence. Well, that hope has come true (for awhile at least) as Delgado has carried the Mets during this hot streak.
Looking at it objectively, Delgado's lack of production was considered age-related when it
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may have been just a slump. If he were ten years younger, no one would've said a word about releasing him; they would have come up with other suggestions, but releasing him and saying that he's "finished" wouldn't have entered the conversation (or PEDs might have been suggested); but with a struggling veteran at age 36, in the age of testing for PEDs and, possibly more importantly, amphetamines, it's harder for such a veteran to regain the public confidence without a sustained streak like Delgado has had. That he's had it has made people like Francesa look foolish. And this isn't an indictment for the statements that were made; Delgado did look finished for much of the first half; my problem with these critics is that they have to come up with a justification for their statements and still try to weasel away from making the credibility-accruing admission: I was wrong. And if Delgado continues this hot streak, they still won't admit they were wrong; and I don't think they realize how such an attitude damages credibility, but if they haven't figured it out yet...
  • Rockies 7-Reds 2; Dodgers 3-Nationals 2:
Don't look now, but the Rockies are only six games out of first place. Their position is so precarious that the next few days will determine whether they aggressively try to trade Matt Holliday, but after last year's comeback it's starting to look like they'll hang onto him at least
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into the winter to see if they can come up with another hot streak.
I'm going to maintain my belief in Joe Torre and the Dodgers. They've been lucky that the Diamondbacks haven't taken control of the division and, with all their injuries and horrendous performances (see Jones, Andruw), they're still right there at the top of the division. By late August, they're going to start getting their injured veterans back; the cooling weather will rejuvenate guys like Jeff Kent and Nomar Garciaparra and they'll have a characteristic Torre-run to make the playoffs. The Wild Card, though unlikely, isn't completely out of the question for any of the three teams either.
  • Braves 8-Phillies 2:
It doesn't look like that comeback against the Mets on Tuesday spurred anything in the
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Phillies other than Jimmy Rollins's mouth and the benching of Rollins and his attitude could eventually become a problem within that clubhouse. Nor does it help that Brad Lidge got lit up for the first time this season last night against the Braves; it also came at a characteristically inopportune time for Lidge, who looked like he was returning to his Astros, "Lights Out" Lidge glory, but in important games, there has to be concern about his mental state and resulting performance.

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