Now that the 2012 MLB All-Star is over and the second half of the season is about to get under way let's take a look at the major moves the Yankees GM Brain Cashman made during this past off season to see if those moves have been worth it so far.
One of the Cashman moves that has made headlines in New York has been a woman was charged with stalking Cashman in an attempt to extort money from Cashman in alleged extramarital affair. We'll leave that move for another blog or a different type of site and stick to baseball for now.
The biggest move this past January was the four player deal between the Yankees and the Seattle Mariners in which the Yankees acquired right-handed pitcher Micheal Pineda and pitcher Jose Campos in exchange for top prospect catcher Jesus Montero and pitcher Hector Noesi. This move has turned out to be a disaster for both clubs. Pineda has yet to throw a pitch for the Yankees after being diagnosed with an anterior labral tear of his pitching shoulder and will be out until next season.
Once considered the Yankees top prospect is catcher Jesus Montero. So far while in Seattle Montero has been mostly used as a designated hitter, hitting .245 with 8 homeruns, 28 RBIs, 67 strikeouts with only 14 walks in 274 plate appearances. The 23 year old Montero has always been known as a free swinger so maybe with some plate discipline he can turn his numbers around. He certainly has plenty of time to do it. Unlike Pineda at least Montero's on the active 25 man roster.
In 17 appearances Hector Noesi had a record of 2-11 with the Mariners and an ERA of 5.77 with 60 strike outs. In 96.2 innings he has walked only 34 batters which is a good ratio but maybe the pitches he threw were too good because he gave up 20 homeruns. After losing 8 straight decisions Noesi has been sent down to Triple-A Tacoma.
The after thought and probably the only bright spot in this whole deal is right-handed pitcher Jose Campos. Campos who will turn 20 on July 27th is currently pitching for the Yankees Class-A affiliate Charleston RiverDogs in the South Atlantic League. In his five starts the Venezuelan native Campos is 3-0 with an ERA of 4.01. He has 26 strike outs, given up 8 walks, 2 homeruns in 24.2 innings and is the Yankees # 5 Top Prospect. We'll keep an eye out for him for sure.
So who made out on this deal ? Hmmm, I could say Seattle because at the very least they have somebody in the lineup but I'll call this Cashman move a push.
On Feburary 19th, 2012 the Yankees traded pitcher AJ Burnett to the Pittsburgh Pirates....(the first place Pirates) for minor league prospects Diego Moreno and Exixardo Cayones. Soon after arriving at the Pirates spring training camp Burnett suffered an eye injury during a practice bunting drill. After a short stint on the DL Burnett has returned to make 14 starts and has compiled a record of 9-2 with an ERA of 3.74. In 86.2 innings Burnett has struck out 74 batters while walking 31. He has a WHIP of 1.327. He has a 7.7 SO/9 ratio and guess what ?? he has only thrown 3 wild pitches !! When this deal was made I seem to recall somebody on this blog site saying AJ would pitch well....gee I wonder who that was ? Oh yeah, it was ME !! I'll skip the numbers for Moreno and Cayones because their very young and not very much to report.
Which brings me to why Burnett was traded. AJ wasn't traded for two prospects, he was dealt because he was a five hundred pitcher. He went to Pittsburgh so the Yankees could make room for another five hundred pitcher Hiroki Kuroda. Don't tell me it's because of money ! If you check out my last blog the Yankees would be saving money had they kept Burnett. Kuroda has been just as inconsistent as Burnett was when he was a Yankee. You want to talk about five hundred ? Just watch Kuroda. He'll pitch a bad game and just when I'm ready to blast him he pitches a good game. For the first half of the season his record is 8-7 with an ERA of 3.50. He has 83 strike outs in 108.0 innings. He has a WHIP of 1.216. June was Kuroda's best month. He was 4-1 with an ERA of 1.98. Four wins in June, that means he won only four in the previous two months. Sounds like an inconsistent five hundred pitcher to me !! Let's see if he can be better in the second half, especially in October. I can see it now..Game 3 2012 World Series, Pirates Yankees with Kuroda and Burnett in a nail biting pitcher's duel at Yankee Stadium. How great would that be ? I said it before and I'll say it again, I knew Burnett would pitch well. I know some Yankee fans won't agree but... Advantage Pirates.
So far the signing that has had the most impact has been the addition of Raul Ibanez. In the first half he hit .240 with 11 homeruns and 36 RBIs. He has a slugging percentage of .457 an OBP of .298 in 242 at bats. He biggest contributions have been big hit after big hit, a very clutch hitter so far and that's what this team is going to need down the stretch and in October where is matters most. Worth it ? A+ deal by Cashman.
When the Yankees acquired catcher Chris Stewart in the spring I didn't see the reason for it. Why would they sign a backup catcher when they have Fransisco Cervelli. I love Cervelli's attitude, energy and his get dirty style of play but they sent him down to Triple-A when they got Stewart. Statistically their numbers are about the same. Stewart is hitting .256 with no homeruns and 10 RBIs in 82 at bats while Cervelli is at Scranton/Wlikes-Barre hitting .251 with 2 homeruns and 29 RBIs in 229 ABs. Since this move doesn't really mean that much, I'll give this one to Cashman.
Yankee fans were excited to have Andy Pettitte come back but the question was how is he going to pitch coming out of retirement. Well he was pitching fine. Although his record was only 3-3 he had an ERA of 3.22. In the games he lost he usually kept the it close to give the Bombers a chance to win. Unfortunately on June 29th Pettitte suffered a fracture of his left fibula after getting hit by a line drive. He was placed on the 60 day DL and is not eligible to return until August 28. I'll call this Cashman move....yet to be determined.
The Yankees start the second half in first place with the best record in baseball at 52-33. As of now the off season moves seem to be working out. The July 31st trade deadline is just around the corner. What or will Cashman make a move ? I think he should add a starting pitcher. It should be a starter that will not only help heading into October but he should try to find a pitcher that can stay in this rotation for the next few years. Next up I'll take a look at which players are on the trading block and who the Yankees might have an interest in. Rumor has it the Phillies might be willing to deal Cole Hamels ? Worth it ? We'll take a look at the possible deal and what the Yankees would have to give up.
I'm looking forward to a great second half of Yankees Baseball ! Go Yankees !!