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Monday Morning Yentas

For great baseball gossip, there are no two guys better than Peter Gammons and Ken Rosenthal. Today, Rosenthal writes that the Mets might not move centerfielder Mike Cameron after all, while Gammons checks in on the Yanks:

The Yankees are trying to get Oakland’s Mark Kotsay, who can be a free agent at the end of the year. But whether or not Brian Cashman will give up the prospects needed to get one of the game’s premier center fielders, like right-hander Philip Hughes and perhaps third baseman Eric Duncan, remains to be seen. Cashman has talked to a number of general managers, but isn’t offering to break up the team as some have suggested. Getting Kotsay would completely change their outfield defense and give them a solid leadoff hitter as they try to move Tony Womack.


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1 Ken Arneson   ~  Jun 20, 2005 7:54 am

1.  You can't have him. Period.

2 JohnnyC   ~  Jun 20, 2005 8:01 am

2.  Kotsay doesn't kill me but he is a plus defender and a decent bat, he's sort of Damon-lite but a much better glove. Considering he's a half-year rental, I can't see Cashman giving up any top-tier prospects for him (nor will any other teams in need of a centerfielder, since I think Baltimore has a better shot at Cameron than the Yanks, thereby shortening Beane's market). Let's not over-reach for a centerfielder, especially at the coast of a Philip Hughes or Eric Duncan.

3 Marcus   ~  Jun 20, 2005 8:18 am

3.  There was a brief article about the Kotsay rumors in today's SF Chronicle (I can't find it online), mentioning the fact that since Kotsay was traded from the Padres he can opt out of his contract after this season. Since he missed out on the playoffs last year with the A's and this year seems a whole lot worse, he's likely to do that. Beane is working on signing him to an extension supposedly, but it's not clear how receptive Kotsay is that. Kotsay has a limited no-trade clause that does not include the Yankees.

Given the limited pool of free agent CFers this coming winter, it seems like it would be to Kotsay's financial benfit to test the waters. Although, I'm not sure what other teams will be looking for a CF. If the Red Sox don't sign Damon, then they will likely be in the running.

The way I read Gammons' column, he is suggesting they would have to give up Hughes and/or Duncan, but it doesn't sound like he has any solid sources on that. Although it'd be nice to have an exceptional defensive CF this year, it's almost not worth giving up the prospects if they can just sign him in the offseason. In other words, can Cashman get rid of Womack in this trade somehow?

4 jedi   ~  Jun 20, 2005 8:27 am

4.  Not high on Kotsay. So I wouldn't be high on giving up a prospect for him especially for a half year rental. Upside is he can be a great "role player." A component that we lost within the last 3 years.

But, to be honest, I am not high on Eric Duncan. I seen him play and there really isnt anything there that impresses me. I wouldnt be too upset if brian pulls the trigger and brings in a bigger name than Kotsay to roam the outfield for Duncan. I dont think we got a chance for Cameron given the Mets dont want Duncan because of Wright secured at 3B. Looks like Padres are out of the picture. Seems like they realized earlier than the Yanks that Womack is a waste.

5 Nick from Washington Heights   ~  Jun 20, 2005 8:34 am

5.  Kotsay seems to fulfill a lot of things the Yanks need right this sec: good defense in center, a solid on base threat and most importantly, his presence will lead to Womack's departure. If the Yanks could resign him, he'd be a viable and cheaper alternative to Damon who will certainly be overpaid on the open market.

6 Paul in Boston   ~  Jun 20, 2005 8:42 am

6.  We need to be clear that "getting something for Womack" is not necessary, but "not playing him regularly" is! So good chance if he's traded, he'll be dumped for a low-level prospect or someone else's salary problem. Cashman can't fool anyone on this guy, even though we appeared to be fooled by his 2004!

7 dtrain   ~  Jun 20, 2005 10:48 am

7.  the one good thing i can say about womack is that he's pretty decent in mvp baseball 2005. i think the game's designers, like the yanks, were also fooled by his 2004 numbers.

8 JohnnyC   ~  Jun 20, 2005 12:01 pm

8.  since Beane eschews high school pitchers and Hughes is only 19 and since Hughes is actually disabled right now due to shoulder tendonitis (Yanks are extremely cautious with young pitchers so it's not perhaps real serious), Beane won't be reeling in hughes anytime soon. BTW, the high risk of injury for younger pitching prospects is one of the main reasons Beane doesn't like drafting high school pitchers (although, with the dearth of high-ceiling college pitchers this year, he went against grain in the 2005 draft). And jedi, re: Duncan, he is one of the youngest players in AA this season at 20. John Sickels, who likes him as a power prospect if not a 3rd baseman necessarily, thinks the Yankees are rushing him. Generally speaking, Duncan gets good grades from most scouts. Is he Eric Chavez? Probably not. But, he might be a better bet than trading for Lyle Overbay at First Base.

9 sabernar   ~  Jun 20, 2005 12:14 pm

9.  I agree with JohnnyC - Duncan is very young for AA. They should get a lot more than Kotsay, who is a role-player at best and is NOT an "on-base threat" considering his OBP this season is around .330 (last year was about .370 if I remember correctly).

10 Voxter   ~  Jun 20, 2005 12:42 pm

10.  To me, Kotsay-to-the-Yanks rumours come down to the same things that every XXXX-to-the-Yanks rumour does: 1) What, exactly, are the Yankees planning on offering for this guy (I'm not sure that either Hughes or Duncan rates even half a season of an above-average major leaguer when other things might be available)? And 2) Will it make enough of a difference that it makes any sense to do it? I keep coming back to the probability that anybody who is good enough to make the kind of impact the Yanks are gonna need to catch the O's is gonna cost more than they have to give. Kotsay's excellent defense would be awfully nice plugging up the seive out there, but (last season notwithstanding) he's not the 3-wins-in-half-a-season kind of improvement that they're gonna need to truly compete this year.

11 brockdc   ~  Jun 20, 2005 7:52 pm

11.  The one place - other than catcher - where defense is of the essence is CF. WE NEED A SOLID DEFENSIVE CF!!! Kotsay's a good fit because he has a solid glove and good range. Whether or not he's a decent "on base threat" is irrelevant at this point. The Yankee defense has been simply inadequate this year and it won't be getting better any time soon.

Also, it's not like Kotsay's some broken down old powerhitter. He is relatively young and spry. This trade would be a plus, assuming the Yankees only have to give up one prospect.

12 Hank   ~  Jun 20, 2005 11:09 pm

12.  The Dodgers will probably sign him to a long-term deal soon, but if they let his contract lapse I'd love to see Milton Bradley playing center for the Yanks next year. I'm sure they regret missing out on the last young, switch-hitting center fielder who was out on the market, but look at the stats:

Bradley: 188 AB, 35 R, 10 HR, .298/.345/.511 RF: 2.71
Beltrán: 239 AB, 28 R, 8 HR, .268/.323/.427 RF: 2.50

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