What getting Cliff Lee means to the Yankees


Off the top of my head it would mean a few things:

  • The Yankees would have too many starters: Lee, Sabathia, Pettitte, Hughes, Burnett and Vazquez. The obvious solution would be to trade Vazquez, and indeed, Buster Olney’s been beating that drum for a while.  The prospect of the Yankees not only getting the best starting pitcher this summer but also peddling a very valuable starting pitcher for even more useful parts has to be pretty sobering to the Rays and Red Sox.  Olney suggests the Phillies, who are in the market for a pitcher, but there are any number of possibilities.
  • While Lee in New York would obviously up the Yankees’ already considerable chances to repeat as World Series champions, one wonders if this move isn’t a bad thing for them long term. We’ve heard much about Jesus Montero’s stuggles behind the plate, but the fact is that he is the Yankees’ most promising hitting prospect in years.  With A-Rod, Jeter and Posada growing older, offense may be scarce sometime in the next couple of years (relatively speaking). The fact is that the Yankees could have waited until this winter to get Lee while still keeping Montero (or at least trading him for a bat) while still remaining a strong contender for the title.
  • Which gets at my beef — however limited it is — with this deal.  It’s kinda gilding the lily, ain’t it? However great a deal this is in the short term, the Yankees didn’t really need this.  That’s not their problem — the minute they stop trying to do everything within the realm of the possible to win is the minute they stop doing their job — but this does strike me as a bit excessive, with some risk, however minor, of hurting their competitive position in the long term.
  • Of course, if the Yankees trade Vazquez for a youngish
    bat or if one of their non-Montero catching prospects is gold, it might not
  • Final thought: if the Yankees get Lee for prospects who aren’t missed and then turn Vazquez into a useful bat, doesn’t that make Brian Cashman the GM of the year?  After all: those aren’t mere money moves. Those moves —
    going back to getting Vazquez from the Braves — are all trades that (a) vastly improved the Yankees’ competitively speaking; but (b) were also trades that most any team could have
    but didn’t. Lee and Vazquez werent/aren’t outrageously overpriced at the time they were acquired. Montero may be great, but he isn’t a prospect of a quality that is singular to the Yankees.

Fascinating deal in many, many ways (if it goes through).  My comments earlier this morning about there being “an uproar” don’t reflect my own personal feelings. I have questions about it, but hey, go with God, Yankees.  I’m still guessing there will be a lot of “rich get richer” disgust out there, but there’s a lot more going on here than all of that.

The Cubs acquire Rex Brothers from the Rockies

Rex Brothers Rockies

The number of people who, if you held a gun to their head, would say that “Rex Brothers” was a game show host and/or local TV news personality from the late 1970s or early 80s is not insignificant. But if you’re a Rockies fan or if spend all day thinking about baseball you know that he’s a reliever who has played in Colorado for the past five years. Now you know him as a reliever for the Cubs:

Brothers — a former Best Shape of His Life All-Star — was pretty good until he hit a brick wall in 2014 and spent most of 2015 in Triple-A. He had something of a bounceback after being called up when rosters expanded in September, but that’s not the sort of thing to excite anyone. He could be useful for the Cubs or just spring training cannon fodder and organizational depth.

Cabrera just turned 18 a couple of weeks ago and pitched a grand total of 14 games in the Dominican Summer League. He’s young and was a $250,000 signee from the Dominican as a 16-year-old so, by definition, he’s a project. Worth giving up Rex Brothers for him if you’re the Rockies, worth risking for some depth in the pen if you’re the Cubs.

Diamondbacks hire Dave Magadan as hitting coach

Dave Magadan Rangers
Leave a comment

Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks’ new hitting coach is Dave Magadan, who “parted ways” with the Rangers last month after three years filling the same role in Texas.

Magadan also previously was the Red Sox’s hitting coach and his teams have generally done pretty well, including the Rangers scoring the third-most runs in the league this year.

He’ll have plenty of talent to work with in Arizona, as the Diamondbacks scored the second-most runs in the league led by Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, and David Peralta. Turner Ward, who had been Arizona’s hitting coach, chose to leave the team two weeks ago.

A’s reacquire Jed Lowrie in trade with Astros

Jed Lowrie

Jed Lowrie, who was traded from the Astros to the A’s in 2013 and then re-signed with the Astros as a free agent last offseason, has now been traded back to the A’s.

Lowrie got a three-year, $23 million deal from the Astros with the idea that he’d play shortstop in the first season and then move to another position whenever stud prospect Carlos Correa arrived. Instead he got hurt right away, Correa became an immediate star, and the Astros weren’t so keen on paying him $15 million over the next two seasons.

He could resume playing shortstop for the A’s, who watched rookie Marcus Semien make an absurd number of errors there this year. Lowrie hit .271 with a .738 OPS in two seasons in Oakland, which is similar to his career totals and makes him a solidly above-average offensive shortstop. There’s a decent chance the A’s will have a Lowrie-Lawrie double-play duo in 2016.

In return the Astros get minor leaguer Brendan McCurry, a 24-year-old right-hander who split 2015 between high Single-A and Double-A with a 1.86 ERA and 82/17 K/BB ratio in 63 relief innings. He was a 22nd-round draft pick in 2014 and doesn’t have exceptional raw stuff, but McCurry’s numbers are incredible so far.

White Sox sign catcher Alex Avila to a one-year deal

Detroit Tigers' Alex Avila, right, is congratulated by third base coach Dave Clark after his solo home run in the third inning in the second game of a baseball doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox, Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

There have been a lot of articles published in the past few days about how to navigate awkward Thanksgiving conversations with your relatives. Heck, we even wrote one.

But there’s always room for more! Such as “How to talk to your father at Thanksgiving dinner about the fact that he let you walk away from the only team you’ve ever known to sign with a division rival.” Which is what Alex Avila will likely be talking about with his father, Tigers GM Al Avila:

The older Avila can’t even say he did it because he’s opposed to nepotism. After all, he just hired his other son — who has had his law degree for just over a year — as the Tigers assistant legal counsel for baseball operations. Though I’m sure that wasn’t nepotism. He probably just aced the interview and impressed everyone more than the other candidates did.

OK, those are jokes. In all seriousness, this is a good move for Alex and Al and, probably, the White Sox. With the emergence of James McCann, there really is not space for Alex Avila in Detroit in anything other than a backup capacity. In Chicago, he’ll get more playing time. At least if he can (a) stay healthy; and (b) not hit .191/.339/.287 again like he did in 2015.