In case you have not heard yet, ESPN’s Jayson Stark is reporting the Yankees and Phillies have finally completed the deal. The Yankees didn’t have to give up Hughes or Tabita, which was good. But, I am not sure this trade was really that benefical.
First, the deal. The Yankees will welcome Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle for Yankee prospects Matt Smith, 2005 no.1 pick CJ Henry and another player to be named later. According to ESPN.com new sercices the Yankees are taking Abreu and are only expecting to how $22 million through 2007. Which is important because he is owed something like $16 million in an option year for 2008.
Now the catch. CJ Henry is a decent shortstop who was stuck behind A-Rod. Potentially you could have moved him to 2B or 3B. Realistically though he was shut out, but I think we could have gotten more in return for what he brings in. Matt Smith is 27 and at a point where he is either going to make it or not. Decent stuff for a releiver but expendable.
So what is the catch. Abreu has seriously declining power numbers which is not a good sign for any player. In 99 games so far he is 30 points below his batting average and only has 8 home runs. The good side is his on base percentage is strong and that is what the Yankees need. The issue though is Melky Cabrera. I like this kid and he has earned a spot on the roster. The problem is the outfield is now a little crowded when the Yankee MASH unit decides to send back our boys.
Damon is in center and will be for another year two more, but could move to right field. Abreu is a right fielder and well can’t move anywhere. Melky is best suited for left. Fine, but Matsui is a left fielder who can play center but not as good as left. Remember were up to 4 players now. Then there is Shef. Okay, we can drop his salary after the season and he has quicky become a non-factor with injuries and declining production. But , that makes 5 OF’s. Then you have Guiel who has done a good job as a Yankee and Crosby who has the talent, though hitting like **** this year, but is great defensively. That’s 7 players in the OF. We haven’t even mentioned Bernie who can play another year or some of the other young studs in the minors such as Thompson. Thats 9 players for 3 spots.
Use the DH? Yeah, but that is locked up in Giambi who can’t play first anymore becasue he can’t move and Williams who will be shut out of the outfield because he can’t move either. Though I would say both are dangerous with the bat still.
Worst case senerio our outfield for 2007 is Mastui, Damon and Abreu. That shuts out Melky who I think is the next Bernie. I would rather see Melky get playing time over Abreu and yes even Damon. Matsui give you 300% and that is always a good thing. So in reality we gave up a #1 draft pick for more headaches in the outfield.
The secret for this deal will be Cory Lidle who has all the talent in the word, despite so so numbers. In New York I think he can be a good #4 starter and is far better than Wright, Pavano and Ponson. Which btw, brings up the question who is either dropped, traded or moved to long relief? Wright or Ponson? Tough choice, because both are talented and can pitch and both have ****** and get rocked two out of three times for no reason. Ponson has far less time on the DL, throws harder and can pitch past 5 innings assuming he dosen’t give up 8 runs first. Wright isn’t batteling addiction issues, maturity issues and has had better games recently than Ponson. Both are not worthy of a 5th spot but because Pavano is Mr. zillion dollar no show, were stuck with it. I say, drop both dissapointments and bring up Steven Wright from AAA who has shown some real talent.
In the end, the trade is what it is. The media will call it a blockbuster while in reality its a dud and changes nothing with the exception the Yankees might actually have a better back end of the rotation pitcher than they have had thus far this year. But, blockbuster? Not!