Yankees, Mets, trade rumors, free agents, off-the-wall predictions and other MLB musings.
"Imperfections on the market," starting Pat Burrell and Curtis Granderson
During my time at the shortened GM meetings, I was telling one industry official about the Mets' decision (at this point) to not go after the Rays' Pat Burrell in a trade, due to Burrell's lousy defense.
The official rolled his eyes and said, "Just lift him late in the game."
"People get too caught up in certain things and overvalue them," the official said. "Right now, defense is overvalued. I could go the other way and go get guys who can hit but can't field, because they're undervalued, and then get cheap bench guys to play late-inning defense."
"It sounds as though you're looking to exploit market inefficiencies," I countered, and sure enough, I ripped off his mask, "Scooby Doo" style, and it was Billy Beane, who said, "I would've gotten away with this if it weren't for you meddling kids!"
(OK, so I fabricated most of that last paragraph. To be clear, it was NOT Billy Beane who said this.)
The point is that teams sometimes get caught up in what a player can't do, rather than what he can do very well, and let's see if our two local teams keep that in mind. The Mets, of course, need to be particularly on top of their game this winter, while the Yankees have some room for error, but know that the Red Sox, Rays and Angels, in particular, will work hard to take that comfort away from Brian Cashman and company.
Let's look at Burrell. His 2009 was so brutal that I wonder how much you just have to attribute it to his switching teams and leagues. Would he be worth a $9 million gamble in 2010, thinking that a) back in the National League, he'd be better, and b) in a walk year, he'd get his act together?
I don't think Burrell is going anywhere, for now, so I'd play the Matt Holliday Sweepstakes. If the Yankees truly stay out of it and the Red Sox find a comfort zone with Jason Bay, then the Mets' primary competition would figure to be the Cardinals, and that could be a winnable duel.
If Holliday doesn't work out, and Bay stays in Boston, then I think it's worth re-examining Burrell - especially given all of the other holes that need to be filled.
The Yankees, meanwhile, could look at Curtis Granderson, whom the Tigers could make available for economic reasons. Granderson is a young (turns 29 in March), dynamic player who provides value on both sides of the ball. But as Keith Law pointed out yesterday, Granderson just shouldn't be starting against left-handers; his splits are that bad.
Could Rocco Baldelli be a low-cost platoon partner for Granderson? Or maybe Melky Cabrera could be part of the leftfield equation and then play center against lefties, with Brett Gardner as a trade chip and Austin Jackson waiting in the wings?
Interesting possibilities, in what looks to be an interesting winter.
--Good comparison here, by Dave Cameron, between Holliday and Mark Teixeira.
--Billy Wagner's agent now says that the lefty might just accept Boston's arbitration offer, and Theo Epstein says, "Fine by me." I admit, I'm fascinated by the Wagner case, because it's so unique.
It's unclear how much money he would get through the arbitration process, because he barely pitched in 2009. But it's also unclear how much money he would get as a free agent, because there's a glut of closers available and because, as a Type A free agent, his value would be deflated by the signing team's need to give up a draft pick for him.
If Wagner accepts arbitration, agreeing to set up for Jonathan Papelbon, then the Mets are off the hook for dumping Wagner's salary last August. If Wagner rejects it, then we should continue to rip the Mets for this decision.
--Very interesting call by the Nationals, meanwhile, choosing Jim Riggleman over Bobby Valentine to manage Washington. I look forward to hearing the full explanation today.
With Valentine still a free agent heading into the 2010 season - barring some unforeseen turn of events, as all 30 teams now have a skipper - he'll naturally be mentioned if the Mets get off to a poor start and Jerry Manuel's job security becomes an even greater issue than it is now.
Never say never, but I don't see a Bobby V. Part II in Flushing. I think he would be great; I thought he would've been great for Washington, or Cleveland, or Florida. But even seven years after he left the Mets, and even though Valentine and the Wilpons now have a nice relationship, it would still take a leap to wipe out all that happened in the past.
--Through Buster Olney's blog, I found this piece on the relationship between Orlando Hudson and Joe Torre. I laughed while reading the paragraph that notes Hudson, concerned about Torre, consulted Gary Sheffield and Kenny Lofton, who are the President and COO, respectively, of the I Hate Joe Torre Club.
--Thanks to John Delcos' New York Mets Report for the plug yesterday. Deli covered the Yankees and Mets for a number of years for the Journal News, and is still going at it.
--Self-promotion alert: I'll be on "The Herd with Coin Cowherd" at 10:30 E.S.T. this morning, on ESPN Radio.
--Since I still can't get my comments to work: Rich, I think the entire Yankees coaching staff will return.
--And yes, live chat at 1:00 this afternoon. You can test me on my knowledge, post-GM meetings.