John Perrotto of the Beaver County Times reports that the Yankees is the most likely destination for southpaw reliever Mike Gonzalez. Apparently Brian Cashman is willing to part with 22 year-old outfielder Melky Cabrera straight up.
Cabrera held his own as a rookie, batting .280/.360/.391 in 460 ABs and playing the fourth best defensive LF in baseball, according to Bill James’s panel of experts. What’s more, Baseball Between The Numbers indicates that a typical player can be expected to improve his offensive output by about 15% from his age 22 to age 23 season. Even in dealing Cabrera, the Yanks would retain the real prize among their position-player prospects: Jose Tabata. Tabata could be patrolling right field in New York by the second half of ’08.
Gonzalez could be groomed as a possible successor to Mariano Rivera; he has three years of service time left before free agency. However, Perrotto indicates that the Pirates want more than just Cabrera for Gonzalez.
Meanwhile, Bucco Blog thinks the entire rumor is bunk. Jake makes a fine point – that Dave Littlefield is in no rush to trade Gonzalez and will simply sit back and wait until the unbeatable offer comes along.