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Rumors: The Yankees, Omar Vizquel and Milton Bradley Edition

Nov 12, 2009, 8:20 AM EDT

The latest from FOX’s Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi:

  • If the Yankees decide not to re-sign Johnny Damon, they could look at a centerfield replacement, like Mike Cameron, rather than a leftfield replacement.  This would seem to make some sense in the short term: Melky is OK, but not a transcendent player, and especially not compared to the All-Star at every position approach the Yankees seem intent on taking these days. You’d certainly create a bit of an offensive hole in left field, however, as neither Cabrera nor Brett Gardner’s bats are strong enough to respectably carry the position. Wait, what am I thinking? This is the Yankees. They don’t play “either-or”.  They could sign Cameron and Holliday or Damon.
  • Omar Vizquel doesn’t want to go back to Texas. It’s not a playing time thing, though. He’s happy with his backup role which gave him 195 at bats. He just wants to play for a higher profile team. It’s not often you hear 42 year-old backups making those kinds of demands, but Vizquel is still a useful player and teams could do worse than to have him around in a utility role.
  • The Rays and Cubs are within $2-3 million of making a Milton Bradley for Pat Burrell deal happen.  What on Earth the Cubs would do with Burrell — a guy probably less suited to play defense than even Bradley is anymore — is beyond me, but when it comes to unloading Bradley, the Cubs are definitely in “Great trade! Who’d we get?” territory. I can see the baseball argument for Bradley in Tampa Bay — anyone would improve their DH production after what Burrell pinched off in 2009 — but why a team that usually hums along nicely would want someone like Milton Bradley around is beyond me.
  • Wilson Betemit is expected to sign a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals.  This, I think, means that Dayton Moore only has to go after Dale Murphy, Phil Niekro and Rico Carty before he can say that he has had every last former Brave under contract in Kansas City.
    1. Evan - Nov 12, 2009 at 8:48 AM

      Craig,
      I really doubt that they’ll try to “upgrade” Melky. He’s got a gun in the outfield, he’s young, he’s an effective offensive player and he is steadily becoming a “face” on this franchise.
      My prediction is that the Yankees pick up a big name pitcher and possibly a 5th man pitcher.

    2. Mode - Nov 12, 2009 at 12:23 PM

      Its funny Evan, my prediction would actually be the exact opposite. And, assuming you’re a Yankees fan and that we both have about the same level of knowledge when it comes to the Yankees, it just goes to show what our predictions are actually worth.

    3. Big L - Nov 12, 2009 at 12:25 PM

      If the yanks go after Cameron or Holliday it wont be melky that they are upgrading , rather replacing Damon’s offensive production with a center fielder rather than left fielder. I like the idea of Mike Cameron on a short deal until Austin Jackson is ready.

    4. John F - Nov 12, 2009 at 12:28 PM

      Oh god I hope you’re wrong. Melky stinks. A “gun” is stretching it a tad though he has thrown out a fair number of baserunners in the past. Bobby Abreu had a “gun” too, but at least he could hit. Of course he wouldn’t play for NY for $5M, or at least nobody asked. Melky’s stupid hand gestures after an infield single boggle the mind. He’s just a kid, but he’s got no clue of the strike zone or situational hitting and bunting is clearly an adventure. You can’t walk the guy either. I don’t see him becoming a star at all. He’s patently ineffective based on all the opportunities he’s had with men on base on this team. I cringe watching him hit. I’d rather take my chances with Gardner. He’s not star material either, but if he had the same number of at bats as Melky folks would be surprised at how much he could help. He’d have 50 steals, play much better defense (it’s no accident that Melky moves over to RF or LF when Gardner enters the game…Melky’s routes are terrible and he’s not a true CF) and he’s somebody who can actually bother the pitcher when he reaches. So we give up a few homers and couple of RBIs…on this team that’s no big deal. Their batting averages would be nearly identical. I’m not convinced Melky’s a great influence on Robinson Cano either. I’d love to see Cano take his game a bit more seriously. If I was Cashman, my first priority would be to capitalize on Melky’s perceived worth and deal him for a starter with some upside, preferably under 30, who could help us fill that four or five hole for a number of years. There is nothing in Melky’s repetoire that couldn’t be easily replaced and we could benefit from his youth, ability to switch “hit” and his contract status in a “quality” for quality deal. We wouldn’t get all that much in return, but Melky is never going to be on an on base machine and it’s so worth the risk with Austin Jackson laying around. We need an “upgrade” in CF big time…holding onto this guy too long (which I felt we did before his lousy 2008) will be an unnecessary mistake. He’ll be obsolete on the Yankees inside of two years in my opinion. He can’t carry the corners with his paltry numbers. He could get better, but that’s a risk I’m more than willing to take. Just my three cents…

    5. comeonman - Nov 12, 2009 at 12:33 PM

      If my two grandmothers were not dead you guy’s would have the YANKEES signing them as well, this is what happens when
      THE YANKEES ARE CHAMPIONS OF BASEBALL,,,,,,,,, AGAIN!!!!!!
      YANKEES WILL RESIGN MATSUI AND DAMON FOR ONE YEAR EACH.
      THE YANKEES ARE STOCKED IN THE FARM AND THEY HAVE A NEW CORE
      FOR THE CORE FOUR TO TEACH HOW TO WIN AND PLAY LIKE A YANKEE.
      MANY MANY MORE TROPHIES TO BE WON, THE WORK HAS BEGUN.
      I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO POINT OUT TO THE HATERS OUT THERE, ALOT
      OF GUY’S WANT TO COME PLAY FOR THE YANKEES AGAIN, THEY SAW THE PARADE, THEY KNOW,
      WE RUN BASEBALL……………

    6. comeonman - Nov 12, 2009 at 12:36 PM

      YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT WHAT YOU TALK OF , now go do some research and get the fact’s about ” LECHES ” ARM, LQQK AT HIS OUTFIELD ASSISTS THE LAST TWO YEARS…………..
      YOU ARE A YANKEE HATER WITH NO FACTS AT ALL.

    7. Big L - Nov 12, 2009 at 12:37 PM

      Good Points. I disagree that Gardner is a better all around player though. I think Gardner is a good role player/ pinch runner but he lacks in the batters box. The yanks will have 13 mil available from both damon and hedeki..Pettite probably deserves a raise. I’d love to see them get an outfielder that can fill that 5 hole.. Ideally Cano can step up and be a #2 hitter.. Yanks really just need someone for 2 yrs. once jackson gets the call he will probably lead off and bump jete back down to the 2 hole

    8. N - Nov 12, 2009 at 1:52 PM

      There’s been a lot of talk in the Chicago media that – if the Bradley/Burrell deal was done – the Cubs would go on to trade Burrell to a third party before the start of the season.
      If he doesn’t get traded, he fits in more as a 4th OF for the Cubs than a starter. They’ve sounded pretty resolute on moving Fukudome to RF and Soriano is stuck in LF, so there’s no open spot for him. (Until Soriano gets hurt, and then the defense difference is zero.) They’d probably use platoon him with Fukudome versus lefties, and have him him take the no-field/pinch-hit spot Hoffpauir & Fox had on their team last year (just a much higher price.)

    9. Kevin S. - Nov 12, 2009 at 3:45 PM

      Gardner might not have the offensive chops typically associated with left field, but he’s got plus range even for center, which should theoretically make him a superlative fielder in left, and if he can repeat that .350 OBP, he should wreak enough havoc on the bases to be useful. Again, assuming A-Jax is not ready.

    10. Kevin S. - Nov 12, 2009 at 3:46 PM

      Gardner might not have the offensive chops typically associated with left field, but he’s got plus range even for center, which should theoretically make him a superlative fielder in left, and if he can repeat that .350 OBP, he should wreak enough havoc on the bases to be useful. Again, assuming A-Jax is not ready.

    11. John F - Nov 13, 2009 at 11:33 AM

      I should know better than to reply to a “rational” man who types in caps, but if you read the comments a little more closely you’d see that I did mention Melky’s assists and you won’t find a bigger Yankee fan than I am. It’s not considered correct to use the pronoun “we” when discussing your favorite team, but I did it anyway. That’s a dead giveaway as to who I root for. Also, OF assists usually stem from the number of baserunners trying to take the extra base; lord knows we have a ton of them the past couple of years. Melky has a decent arm, I’ll give him that, but the book on NY OFs is to just keep going. Sometimes they forget who’s in what field in my opinion. If you get enough chances you will throw some people out. Once they figure out that you can throw, your assist totals drop. I stand by my comments.

    12. John F - Nov 13, 2009 at 11:59 AM

      Hey Big L – I don’t think it’s question of whether Gardner is a better player so much. He’s older, but probably has 700 fewer ML at bats than Melky over his career. I think my point is sell high on Melky for young pitching and find a nice veteran to share CF with Gardner. He did win the job out of spring training so Girardi understands what that type of player can mean to a lineup. Designated runners are everywhere. We can find someone else if he succeeds full time. Gardner brings something to the table that the old, slow Yankees can really use. Speed and improved defense in CF. He did hit .270 in 248 at bats so it’s not like he’s completely overmatched. By contrast Melky hit .255 in his last 357 at bats with 8 homers. On this team I’m just not that impressed and I’m not voluteering anything other than my opinion here. He had some game winning hits early, but by and large I didn’t see a lot of improvement. It’s not personal. If they both remain with the club it’s obvious Cabrera will play more often, at least for now, but I guess my point is if Gardner learns the pitchers, keeps the ball on the ground and works the strike zone a little bit better he can be a force with his legs and glove. New York has traditionally disdained this type of player. Folks look at his 3 homers and 23 RBIs and label him a fourth OF. Maybe he is, but I think he’s a bit better than he’s shown and he’s played full time for what?, three weeks? I would agree that he should platoon, but he did hit .300 at Triple A at least once and while he’ll never have real power if NY ever eschews the All-Star at every position thing, he’d be the type of player I’d like to see added the mix. We flat carried Cabrera for long stretches in the second half so what’s the difference if we carry Gardner some? He was on a bit of a roll before he broke his thumb and Melky was losing playing time. If Melky’s ceiling, and I’m not saying that it is…yet, is .274 with 13 homers and 68 RBIs and 66 runs scored in nearly 500 at bats, I think it would be wise to consider cashing in those chips for pitching if we can get a good return. He doesn’t project as either a CF or a corner OF long term. That is really all I’m saying. My post really wasn’t about Gardner being a better player so much, though he is more my type of player; it’s about locating real trade bait that won’t ruin the franchise. Rather than trading Jackson and Chamberlain plus for Halladay I’d rather trade Melky for a lesser pitcher with great upside that’s all…

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