Stark On Yankees, LaRoche, Phillies

The Yankees will reach a crossroads with three of their most productive players this offseason when Nick Swisher hits free agency and Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano get a little closer to the open market. Jayson Stark surveyed MLB executives about the value of those Yankees and passed along the results in his latest column at ESPN.com. Here are the details and more notes from Stark…

  • Two National League executives had no reservations about spending on Cano. “Pay him what he's worth," one said. The other said Cano has a legitimate case for a $200MM extension.
  • The execs praised Granderson as a person but questioned his value on the field. A $100MM contract would be excessive in the view of one executive. Both Cano and Granderson will be eligible for free agency following the 2013 season, assuming the Yankees exercise their '13 club options.
  • Similarly, the executives don’t consider Swisher a candidate for a Jayson Werth-type deal (seven years and $126MM). Swisher may look to match Werth’s contract as a free agent this coming winter.
  • The Nationals have considered picking up their side of Adam LaRoche’s $10MM mutual option for 2013 and keeping Bryce Harper in center field, Stark reports. Alternatively, they could sign Michael Bourn when he hits free agency, move Harper to a corner spot and trade Michael Morse. I examined LaRoche’s option in detail last week, before his recent hot streak.
  • The Phillies are looking at third base and left field options for next year and that search includes players already in the organization. One scout has been impressed by 26-year-old Darin Ruf, who hit 38 home runs at Double-A this year. "He might be Matt Holliday," the scout said, praising Ruf's hitting ability.
  • An old friend of Roger Clemens doesn’t believe the seven-time Cy Young Award winner when he says he’s not thinking about playing at the MLB level. The person expects Clemens to sign with the Astros this month.


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70 Comments on "Stark On Yankees, LaRoche, Phillies"


groogas
2 years 10 months ago

Offer Granderson and Cano 2 or 3-year extensions. If they decline, let them walk. By next year we might have already seen their best year. Swish let walk unless he accepts one-year extension.

dthcm
2 years 10 months ago

They’re going to keep Cano, luxury tax or not.

j6takish
2 years 10 months ago

Cano, 2 year extension or let him walk? I don’t think you understand the concept of leverage

2 years 10 months ago

You cannot let Cano walk – considering the lack of offensive production that 2Bs are usually known for, he might be one of the most valuable players in the league…plus, he’s not even 30 – lock him up.

Phillies_Aces35
2 years 10 months ago

Why would Robinson Cano accept a 2-3 year extension? He’s the best 2nd baseman in baseball right now.

rkmarx
2 years 10 months ago

As a Red Sox fan, it pains me to say this, but Cano is one of the best 2nd basemen in baseball EVER. The guy is a flat-out freak of nature.

LazerTown
2 years 10 months ago

And 4 years ago when Utley was 31 we all said the same thing. At that point Utley was also putting up better stats. He had 5 straight years of .900+ ops seasons. Cano has only put up 1 so far in his career.

Slopeboy
2 years 10 months ago

So tonight “Adam Dunn” is worth a two or three year extension!?

vtadave
2 years 10 months ago

So basically you want the Yankees to let all three guys walk. Maybe the Dodgers should offer Kershaw a one-year extension. If he doesn’t accept, let him walk.

davengmusic
2 years 10 months ago

Who is this Ruf guy? Getting compared to Matt Holliday while being a 25 year old in Double-A? Mega-spike in power overnight? Wha???

2 years 10 months ago

Ruf had one of the hottest months in Professional Baseball history. .371/.451/.931 with 20 HR and 36 RBI in August. First time I’ve heard any comparisons to any MLB players. As a Phils fan I’m thrilled. Should be called up once the AA Playoffs conclude. Seems like he’ll be fun to watch.

Phillies_Aces35
2 years 10 months ago

Yeah, for the most part, I’ve heard AAAA guy. The only major red flag for me is his age.

Can’t hurt to take a shot and give him a look after the Reading Phillies season’s over. I’m really intrigued by him, especially after hearing that scout call him Matt Holliday. If he’s half the player Matt is, he’s more than valuable at the league minimum.

ColonelTom
2 years 10 months ago

Looking at Ruf’s stats for clues:

Ruf’s 27% HR/OFB rate is unsustainable, but his power is legit. There were signs of significant development last year, when he had 43 doubles and 17 homers in high-A. His line-drive rate went up from 14.2% in 2011 to 22.2% in 2012, which means he’s barreling up a ton of balls now, consistent with what Jayson Stark’s scout report said. This isn’t a guy just swinging from his heels for home runs – he’s a damn good hitter. His BABIP this year is .317, which fits with his other numbers, so the .313 average isn’t a fluke, at least at his current level.

I assume he’ll come up as soon as the Reading Phils are done their playoffs, so maybe we’ll see him for a couple of weeks. He’s slated to play LF in winter ball, and if he can stick there, spring training’s going to be very interesting.

2 years 10 months ago

Darin Ruf has been in the Phils system hitting well for a few years but was never considered much of anybody cause he didn’t hit well enough to be a 1B on a contender. They have tried him in LF this year with mixed results.

As for the power spike… eh sorta. On the surface yes, it certainly looks like it. He only hit 17 HRs last year in Clearwater. However, there are two stipulations to that. Clearwater is a pitcher friendly ballpark in a pitcher friendly league. Second, he lead the league in Clearwater with 43 doubles that season.

But something to note about Ruf, he has no speed at all, literally zero. He is a 20 on the 20/80 scouting scale when it comes to speed. He runs like a catcher.

So for Ruf to hit 43 doubles, you know he isn’t legging things out. In fact, you also know he probably lost a few doubles that most hitters would get. His doubles had to be bombs over the outfielder’s heads and hard shots into the gap.

So back to the power spike. This year he is in Reading. Reading has much more of a hitter friendly park. Many of those long doubles he hit last year, now all going over the fence.

That being said he is also experiencing a huge breakout season. The million dollar question is, can you trust the numbers are 25/26 year old puts up in AA? This scout seems to think so as he suggests he looks like Matt Holliday. Other scouts I’ve seen like his bat, but not that much and suggest he’s more of a Matt Stairs 4th Outfielder/Pinch Hitter/Backup 1B type. So who knows.

rkmarx
2 years 10 months ago

Very good analysis. Thanks for that! I’ve never seen the guy, but if he truly is a 20 speed guy, then how is he going to play LF?

go_jays_go
2 years 10 months ago

Great analysis. This guy could be a future pinch hitter / bench player.

LazerTown
2 years 10 months ago

The Phillies seem to keep players down in their system longer too. Howard and Utley were both 25 when they were brought up and started to play regularly. But the players contribute when they arrive.

2 years 10 months ago

yea but they both were drafted out of college

dylanp5030
2 years 10 months ago

Full Quote:

“He might be Matt Holliday. … I saw him eight or nine games. And I saw him hit everything. I saw him take a 97 mile-an-hour heater from Zack Wheeler off the wall for a double. I saw him hit a changeup for a home run. I saw him barrel up junkballers, guys who throw hard and everything in between. And defensively, I actually thought he was better in the outfield than he was at first base. He’s an interesting guy.”

monkeydung
2 years 10 months ago

Cano will be 31 when his contract up. At his age 29 season he’s been worth 32 wins so far. At his age 31 season Pujols had earned 84 wins. Even if Cano has two killer seasons his career won’t be half of what Pujols career had been up to that age. Why would he get almost the same contract?

rainyperez
2 years 10 months ago

Because Yankees

NickinIthaca
2 years 10 months ago

Positional scarcity is my guess…

melonis_rex
2 years 10 months ago

200MM is closer to Teixeira and Fielder than Pujols (250MM), both of whom Cano is arguably better than (remember: take into account that Cano plays a far more premium position than 1B).

monkeydung
2 years 10 months ago

Tex was 28 when he signed his deal. Fielder was 27. Position is the only thing i can think of, but 2B is harder to play when you get older. 1B allows you to age a little bit better.

melonis_rex
2 years 10 months ago

I’m not saying he should get a 200MM contract, just that he has a case for one.

And Cano’s bat is elite at any position, so he could move to 1B towards the back end of a 7 year deal when he got old.

YanksFanSince78
2 years 10 months ago

I don’t think Cano will come close to a $200 mil just because I don’t see any out there that would give him that much. However, Cano is unlike any other 2b. Most of the “elite” 2b’s value comes from their speed and ability to hit a moderate amount of HRS. Cano’s ability to hit for average and power isn’t something you would expect to be anymore of a drop off than any other position player of the same age. If you get solid defense and 15 hrs and 15 sb from a 2b he is near elite. With Cano you get bat avg, a decent OBP and 30 hr/40 dbls power. That’s great at 1b or @ DH.

LazerTown
2 years 10 months ago

I’m a bit scared especially because Utley. 4 years ago when Utley was 31 he was the best 2b in the league, better than cano is. .292/.380/.535. 2B just dont seem to age well, and 8 year deal of Cano is scary. If he wants $200M I’ll drop him at the airport.

johnsilver
2 years 10 months ago

Nobody else would have given Rodriquez (at aqe 33) a 10 year 300m contract, jeter 3/57m and a few other deals given out by the Steinbrener’s either.

LazerTown
2 years 10 months ago

But neither of them are free swinging maniacs. Once cano starts to slow down his bat, hitters will be able to get away with alot more mistakes. Teix somewhat and especially fielder are extremely patient hitters. Cano is not, he is just a very good hitter so he can get away with it.

Lionel Bossman Craft
2 years 10 months ago

Beacause he’s a power hitting second basemen. Its mainly because of his position.

Steven Coyle
2 years 10 months ago

The Nationals aren’t trading ” The Beast ” aka Morse…

ultimate913
2 years 10 months ago

I’d try to package both for some or a very good OF or SP prospect. While
David Adams or Corban Joseph would definitely not put up anything close
to Cano’s production with the bat or defense, I’d trust with how
they’ve done in AA and AAA, they can at least put up a 2 WAR with below
average defense and a .330 wOBA at the major league level. Which is
still good for a 2B. Especially with how long the contract would have to
be for a middle infielder, which hardly ever end well for the team and
how expensive it’d be.

Sign Ortiz for DH(enough of the rotating players at DH). Re-sign Swisher. Sign Hunter or Suzuki for LF to 1 year deal. Move GGBG back to CF. Promote Romine as full time catcher until Sanchez is ready in 2 years. Whatever production they get from Romine, will be more than whatever Martin is giving now.

rikersbeard
2 years 10 months ago

yikes. Hard to imagine the yankees taking that route.

rkmarx
2 years 10 months ago

I had to look up GGBG. Please don’t say anything like that again, and please tell me that’s not his nickname in New York. Definitely one of the worst of all time.

YanksFanSince78
2 years 10 months ago

I could dislike this 25x more I would MAYBE feel better.

LazerTown
2 years 10 months ago

If Cano wants big money they should just walk away. I wouldn’t mind ortiz for DH next year. They could really use his production, and he is better than anyone they have. Even when Jeter or arod need a night off Ortiz is still a better DH. They can sit on the bench.

2 years 10 months ago

17/47/.260? Harper is hardly the second coming.

Phillies_Aces35
2 years 10 months ago

He’s 19.

2 years 10 months ago

and mike trout is only 1 year older…….look at what he is doing

Odawg8
2 years 10 months ago

And look at what Trout did in the majors at 19

Guest
2 years 10 months ago

12 starts with the angels when he was 19 is nothing

rkmarx
2 years 10 months ago

A half a season with the Natties when he was 19 is nothing. See what I did there?

2 years 10 months ago

if harper can do what mike trout did this year next year when he is 20….then ill say yeah, but i highly doubt he will

rikersbeard
2 years 10 months ago

fine, but at least give him the chance before you dismiss him. He’s been really quite impressive given his age and experience in pro-ball.

LazerTown
2 years 10 months ago

I also highly doubt that Trout will do what he did this year ever again. He has already been coming back down to earth. He is still a good player but he isn’t the .353/.411/.608 that he was hitting at the end of july.

YanksFanSince78
2 years 10 months ago

You just compared “someone” to Trout as if he’s the norm? Wow.

mstrchef
2 years 10 months ago

And Mike Trout might be one of the top five 20-year old players in the history of baseball.

Phillies_Aces35
2 years 10 months ago

.260/.331/.452
.264/.329/.420

One player is Bryce Harper and the other is Ken Griffey Jr. The one with the (slightly) better numbers is Bryce Harper.

Yankeeboy11
2 years 10 months ago

re-sign Swisher, tried trading Granderson+ something to Arizona for Justin Upton and move Gardner to CF boom.

rikersbeard
2 years 10 months ago

better be something really good, if you are only trading one year of Granderson for the more valuable Upton.

rkmarx
2 years 10 months ago

If by “something” you mean “their entire farm system”, then that would be a fair deal.

LazerTown
2 years 10 months ago

I hate this enless Upton nonsense. Sure he is good, but it will cost the entire farm system for 3 years of upton and $13M per is not like you are getting him for free. If the Yankees want to turn over to a younger team they need to keep their prospects and not dump them all in one place. Keep talking like Upton will fix all their problems but over the past 3 years Upton has been worse than swisher, in OBP,SLG,OPS,HR. If they can get swisher for 3/45 or even 3/50 that is the better move. Costs 6-10M more but If even one of the 4 prospects that it would require turn out to be decent players you are saving money because you pay them league minimum over Free agent signings, and on top of that you get better odds of production.

2 years 10 months ago

First and foremost try to trade AROD to LA. If you can’t do that I’d sign Swish and Cano and trade Grandy or let him walk after 2013. Granderson is a major disappointment and the Yankees desperately need a change in many areas. One can hope.

rkmarx
2 years 10 months ago

Nobody is going to take ARod’s monstrosity of a contract. His contract is bad, and the HR incentives make it even worse!

vtadave
2 years 10 months ago

Arod was THIS close to being drafted by the Dodgers, but at this stage in his career, with his contract, even they wouldn’t want him.

YanksFanSince78
2 years 10 months ago

A probably 80 hrs in 2 years = major disappointment?

levendis
2 years 10 months ago

wouldn’t call him a major disappointment, but hes not a $100 mill player, which is what he will demand in the open market. Hes basically an improved Mark Reynolds . sub .230 average, strikes out at an alarming rate, doesn’t steal any bases, and plays terrible defense. Not to mention his swing against lefties looks atrocious. But he does hit homers, and drives runs in, will give credit where credit is do.

LazerTown
2 years 10 months ago

I wouldn’t mind keeping him around on a short contract, but if he wants $100M that is too much to guarantee to him. He hits alot of hr and takes alot walks. Definetely isn’t useless.

johnsilver
2 years 10 months ago

Funniest part of the Swisher and him thinking 100m contract? look at his numbers this year and then look at Cody Ross’s… Kinda funny huh? Ross misses a month, has as good of (or better) numbers and people are mentioning 3/21-28m for him, yet Swish has had the benefit of Yankee stadium and Comisky park to play in his entire career, while Ross has played in severe pitching friendly stadiums until this year.. Go figure..

LazerTown
2 years 10 months ago

Swisher spent awhile in Oakland too. Ross has been greatly benefited by being a righty in Fenway. Swisher has a much, much better track record than ross. OBP is one of Ross’ big problems, whereas swisher always seems to get his obp up into .350’s territory except his year with ozzie.

johnsilver
2 years 10 months ago

It is still the track record over the last 4 FS with NY and how Swisher benefited from it. Ross even had 2 good years at Land Shark in Miami, which is every bit (or was) than the coliseum that Oakland still plays in, if Land Shark didn’t play worse. to hitters even.

It struck me as funny that Swish, getting all these inflated 100m banterings and Ross, getting mentioned at 1/4 of that and the OBP isn’t THAT much different, nor is Swish a better defender either and Ross was stuck playing CF in Miami, his worst position in the field.

LazerTown
2 years 10 months ago

Career obp .360 vs .325 is kinda big. For the past 7 or so years aside from his year with ozzie, swisher has put up roughly the same numbers every year. This year is Ross’s first solid year that could compete with a normal swish season since 2007 (and even then that was only on 170 at bats that year). His obp is usually around .315-.330. This year they are both been as good as each other. But 1 season does not make ross into swisher.

johnsilver
2 years 10 months ago

It is the hitting difference was my point. I understand swisher walks more and always has. it’s not a lot more but some of course.

My point? Where is the discrepancy in 70-80m being thrown about by some in the value of both? I am not saying Swisher is a poor player at all, just that both are much closer than many think once Ross is taken away from horrid offensive stadiums.

Stick Swisher back into the Coliseum now and lets see how his numbers do for instance. They are not going to be so rosy.

Both had fairly productive power seasons in younger times in horrid stadiums, but i really doubt either could replicate that feat again, just like Ross showed at SF the last 2 years. Both are very similar and I see Swish getting somewhere in the 3-36-40m range and only that with his track record from playing at Yankee stadium the last 4 years. he could get a team option year added, bumping it to 50m range, but neither is a Willingham with the bat who can hit the ball out of any stadium at any time. Just has a lousy glove.

LazerTown
2 years 10 months ago

No one will take his contract, and if you do trade him. Who plays 3B. Money isn’t the biggest issue for the Yankees, he is an important bat in the lineup, and trading him makes your lineup substantially worse in every way.

Brendan Purcell
2 years 10 months ago

I have a question: why overpay for a position? Why pay more for 10 WAR (7 from 2B, 3 from CF) than for 10 WAR (6 from CF, 4 from 2B)?

notsureifsrs
2 years 10 months ago

scarcity

Brendan Purcell
2 years 10 months ago

That’s the question I’m asking. Why pay for scarcity when you can buy the same amount of value but spread differently for less money?

notsureifsrs
2 years 10 months ago

you’re not paying for scarcity; you’re paying because of it

but there are a lot of ways to answer your question. for one thing, there’s a bigger picture always at play, so 10 WAR isn’t an end unto itself. how much of a difference in price there is matters a lot. so does the percentage of a budget each player’s price represents. these are all factors

go back to the basics: everything else being equal, would you prefer one 4 WAR player or two 2 WAR players? (why)

everything else being equal, would you prefer that 4 WAR player to be a shortstop or a first baseman? (why)

scarcity. it’s easier to replace a productive 1B than a productive SS. the difference between 2B and CF isn’t nearly as significant, but the principle still applies

Brendan Purcell
2 years 10 months ago

Yeah I gotcha. I just don’t understand why you would spend $20M for a 6 WAR player over $15M for a 6 WAR player because of position. It sounds like I’m repeating myself, and I understand that scarcity is the reason 2B are more expensive than 1B, but what I’m trying to get as is that the overall team production should be in mind. If you can spend $15M on a 6-WAR 1B and $7M on a 2B, you’re probably getting 3 WAR from that 2B. That’s 9 WAR. If you spend $20M on a 6-WAR 2B, you have $2M to spend on a 1B, which will probably get you about 1 WAR (and 7 WAR total). (I understand that these are all projected WARs, I’m just trying to make a point).

rkmarx
2 years 10 months ago

Because the Yankees can overpay for 13 WAR (7 from 2B and 6 from CF). See what I did there? 😉