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Tag: trading deadline

It’s 4pm. Do You Know Who Your Yankees Are?

The latest buzz has the Yankees acquiring Kerry Wood from the Indians for a player to be named later. The Yankees needed a relief pitcher, but Wood, who was just activated from the disabled list where he had landed due to a blister on his right index finger, is an underwhelming solution. Not only is he seemingly always hurt, but in two seasons with the Indians, he has posted a 4.80 ERA and 4.7 BB/9, the worst of that work coming this year (6.30 ERA, 5.0 BB/9), while his typically stellar strikeout rate has been a bit more ordinary at 8.1 K/9 (down from 10.3 K/9 both last year and career). Wood has also given up 1.4 home runs per nine innings this year, all of which combines to make him look a lot like Kyle Farnsworth with a sketchier injury history. Given that Joe Girardi used to catch both pitchers with the Cubs and was likely a driving force behind the Wood acquisition, the comparison seems apt.

As Tyler Kepner has been pointing out on twitter, Wood has been better since a disaster outing on May 19, posting a 3.78 ERA since, but even that figure isn’t overwhelming, and he’s still blown two games and lost a third over the course of just 18 games before landing on the DL with that blister. All of which is to say, I’m not optimistic, and part of me would have rather taken a chance on Chad Qualls (who went to the Rays early this morning) and his outlandish .427 BABIP. Qualls has had better peripherals than Wood this year and, from what I can tell, has never been on the DL. Anyone want to place bets on who pitches better over the next two months?

Update: The Wood deal is official, with Joel Sherman tweeting that the compensation could be money or two “middling” minor leaguers. Indians’ choice if Wood says healthy, price drops after the fact if Wood gets hurt.

Collect ‘Em All

As we bear down on Saturday’s trading deadline, I have a few more items over at SI.com. First, I look at the Phillies acquisition of Roy Oswalt and how the team would have been better off had they simply kept Cliff Lee. Second, I look at the top-performing deadline acquisitions of the Wild Card era.

No Yankees make my top five in the latter piece, but a few pop up in honorable mention. David Cone, surprisingly, doesn’t appear at all. Looking back, Cone went 9-2 for the Yankees down the stretch that year, but he posted an underwhelming 3.82 ERA and had fewer than twice as many strikeouts as walks. The Yankees scored an average of 7.1 runs Cone’s nine wins and, over a six-start stretch from August 19 to September 13, Cone failed to make a single quality start and posted a 6.28 ERA.

Some notable additions that didn’t make my list include Cliff Lee to the Phillies last year, Jason Bay to the Red Sox in 2008, Ugueth Urbina to the Marlins in 2003, Scott Rolen to the Cardinals in 2002, Aramis Ramirez to the Cubs in 2003 (Ramirez didn’t hit all that well that year, but the Cubs did win their first postseason series since 1945 that year, and Ramirez did emerge as a star on the northside in the years that followed; Jamie Moyer going from the Red Sox to the Mariners in 1996 was another deadline deal that paid off for years to follow, ditto Jason Schmidt to the Giants in 2001). Two notable performances that didn’t result in playoff berths were Cliff Floyd’s .316/.374/.561 line for the Red Sox in 2002, and Bobby Bonilla’s .333/.392/.544 line for the Orioles in 1995.

The Final Four Hours

The trading deadline is this afternoon at 4pm EST.

Jarrod Washburn, believed to be the Yankees’ top target for the rotation, was just dealt to the Tigers, who have a Joba-like innings-limit issue with rookie Rick Porcello and might have just wrapped up the AL Central by solidifying their rotation.

Cliff Lee’s a Philly, increasing their odds of repeating as NL Champs.

The Giants won the Freddy Sanchez sweepstakes by overpaying for him, but may have sewn up the NL Wild Card as a result.

The Pirates are likely done with their fire sale unless they decide to flip catcher Ryan Doumit, closer Matt Capps, or starters Paul Maholm and Zach Duke.

But thus far no word on Roy Halladay or Victor Martinez. If Halladay goes to Boston or Martinez to Tampa Bay, the AL East will get a whole lot tougher. Meanwhile, the Yanks could use an extra starter.

I’ll have some trade reactions over on SI.com’s Trade Talk blog (my stuff is here), where Jon Heyman will likely have the news as it breaks (or will break it).

Meantime, consider this an open thread for the final four hours leading up to the deadline. As Alex would say, whaddya hear? Whaddya say?

Arms Trading

Over at SI.com, I follow up my look at the five biggest offensive holes on contending teams with a look at the five contenders most in need of pitching help. When I started writing the piece, I had no idea that number five would be the New York Yankees. As a fan, I’m optimistic, encouraged by the team’s 9-1 start to the second half, Joba Chamberlain’s “rejobanation,” Andy Pettitte’s two strong home starts, CC Sabathia’s ability to battle, even A.J. Burnett’s string of quality starts and Sergio Mitre’s ability to keep his team in the game. As an analyst, however, I see this:

Joba Chamberlain is quickly approaching his innings limit for the season (assumed to be 150, he’s already over 100 and has been pitching deeper into games since the break). If the fragile A.J. Burnett or the 37-year-old Pettitte (currently sporting a career-worst 4.67 ERA) should break down, the Yankee rotation could fold like a cheap card table under the weight of CC Sabathia. Hughes lurks in the bullpen, but he’s been so good there (he has an active streak of 23 1/3 scoreless innings in which he’s struck out 28 batters), the Yankees seem reluctant to restore him to the rotation, particularly given the chance that they won’t get much more than the production listed above. For now, their fifth starter is Sergio Mitre, another Tommy John reclamation case who hadn’t started in the majors since 2007 (and in his case didn’t start much in the majors before 2007 either). Prospect Ian Kennedy is out for the year following surgery. Alfredo Aceves is an uninspiring alternative. Like the Angels, the Yankees are riding high (9-1 since the break), but their rotation may not make it all the way to the finish line as currently assembled.

Meanwhile, the top story on SI.com’s baseball page has John Heyman speculating about the Yankees chasing after Jarrod Washburn yet again. The only trouble with all of this is, what exactly would you be willing to give up to get another starter? I could have parted with Melky before Brett Gardner got hurt, but that’s out the window now. I wouldn’t trade any of the team’s top young’uns (Hughes, Chamberlain, Jackson, Montero, though I’d be most willing to part with Jackson). What else do the Yankees have to offer? Low-minors catchers? A struggling Andrew Brackman? The deadline is Friday. Stay tuned . . .

Take a Holliday From The Neighborhood

The remaining three games in the Yankees series against the A’s just got easier as the A’s have traded their best hitter, Matt Holliday, to the Cardinals for a trio of prospects including third baseman Brett “The Walrus” Wallace. This just hours before SI.com posted my Trade Talk post about the biggest offensive holes on contending teams heading into the trading deadline. The Cardinals’ left-field situation was originally fifth on my list:

5) Cardinals, LF
Production to date: .211/.293/.333 (64 sOPS+)
League average LF: .262/.338/.427
The Guilty (VORP): Chris Duncan (-1.5), Rick Ankiel (-7.3), Nelson Stavinoha (-3.2)
The Targets: Matt Holliday (25.9), Magglio Ordoñez (-0.3)

The Cardinals have already traded for sometime left fielder Mark DeRosa, but he was supposed to fill their hole at third base (.219/.291/.355, 72) and is currently on the DL. They also just acquired Julio Lugo from the Red Sox, for Duncan no less. If the plan is for Lugo to play shortstop with Joe Thurston and Brendan Ryan platooning at second, thereby allowing Skip Schumaker, whom I listed as the worst defensive second baseman in baseball earlier this week, to return to the outfield, then they might be done. If not, they could pull the same trick with even better results by acquiring a second baseman from the Twins’ target list above. Putting Schumaker back in the outfield is likely a better solution than overpaying for Holliday or hoping that Ordoñez or Austin Kearns (-4.6) would benefit from a change of scenery and a return to full-time play.

The pressure is now on the Cards not only to win the NL Central, but to resign Holliday this winter given that they traded a potential long-term solution to their hole at third base.

Taking the Cardinals’ place on the list are the Rays, whose current catcher situation, staffed by former Yankee farmhands Dioner Navarro and Michel Hernandez, is what’s keeping them out of the AL East race.

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