All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Cooking up trade rumors on the hot stove

The Yankees have been awfully quiet this Hot Stove season so far. That may be changing. Suddenly, there's a swirl of rumors.

Randy Johnson reportedly wants to be traded to a team closer to his Arizona home. Like anyone would take him. He'll be 44 next year, is coming off back surgery, has knee problems, and is way overpaid for what he delivers.

The Yankees are rumored to be trying to sign Doug Mientkiewicz to play 1B. I like this idea. He's got a great glove, at least. The only drawback is that he's yet another lefty. The Yanks are really southpaw-heavy these days. Only Jeter and A-Rod are right-handed hitters.

But the hottest rumor is that Melky Cabrera will be traded to Pittsburgh for their closer, Mike Gonzalez. Earlier this week it was rumored to be Kevin Thompson, or a three-way trade with Atlanta. Now it's rumored to be Melky for Gonzalez, straight up. Or maybe Melky and a low-level prospect. The Pirates originally asked for Melky and Scott Proctor, but the Yankees refuse to trade Proctor. He's really become a golden boy this season.

I think this deal makes sense for both sides. The Pirates need a young (read: cheap) outfielder. The Yankees need bullpen depth, especially left-handed. Gonzalez is arbitration-eligible, and is likely to command more money than the Pirates want to pay. Plus, what's the point of having a closer when your team rarely has a lead to protect? The left-handed Gonzalez is only 28, in his prime. He did have elbow tendinitis this season, but presumably the Yankees will insist on a physical.

This will also be in Melky's best interests. He is not going to get any serious playing time as fourth outfielder behind Matsui, Damon, and Abreu. Not with Giambi clogging up the DH spot. And Tabata will be ready in a year or two. The Yankees could also send Melky to Scranton so he gets regular playing time, but that's not ideal, either. With Pittsburgh, he'll get a chance to be a starter.

I don't know if Melky has the tools to be a starter, let alone a star. But he has a better chance in the NL. At least they'll give him more of a chance in Pittsburgh than he'll get in the Bronx.

And the Boston Globe reports that Pavano has a new agent and a new attitude, and is working really hard in Arizona...for the first time in his career. The Cardinals are reportedly interested. And why not? If they can make Jeff Weaver into an ace, why not Pavano?

I hear the Yankees have added new luxury seating at Legends Field. It costs $190 a seat. For spring training games!?

Meanwhile, the Reds have been pretty quiet. They are probably waiting for things to calm down, since they can't afford to outbid the big-market teams. They still don't have a first baseman or starting right fielder. has a report on how Reds players are doing in winterball. How are the other outfield candidates doing?

Norris Hopper is doing pretty well:

Hopper went 3-for-20, dropping batting average to .312. He has two home runs and 18 RBIs in 125 at-bats.

Hopper is something of a dark horse. He's 27, and this year was his first in the majors. That's pretty old, considering that he's not a college guy. He turned pro at age 19, so it's taken him nine years to reach the majors. But he's at his physical peak now, and has been hitting pretty well.

Chris Denorfia is not doing so well:
Denorfia is hitting .258 with 12 RBIs in 93 at-bats. He has struck out 21 times.

No word on how Josh Hamilton is doing. The Reds say they are going to get him into instructional league or winterball or whatever it takes to get him as many at-bats as possible, but I haven't seen any stats for him. I guess they are hoping he can catch up because of his sheer talent, but I think it's a long shot. He'll probably be returned to the Rays during spring training.

(Amazingly, they already have a photo of Hamilton in a Reds uniform on his player page. The magic of Photoshop? Bubba's still in his Yankees uniform in his photo.)

I wonder if the Reds would consider a Norris Hopper-Bubba Crosby platoon in right field?

posted by BubbaFan, 7:03 PM


Why is no one else throwing a fit over the Yankees choosing Abreu over Sheff? Yes, he has an attitude, but it's better than someone who won't put their body on the line when it counts. Sheff's righty, could've balanced the lineup more, and is a much better RF'er. Abreu is a very good hitter. Sheffield is that type of guy that scares a pitcher. He is a threat... a game changer.

Hopefully, the Yankees move Matsui to right, and play Melky everyday.
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, December 21, 2006 4:30 AM  
I think the issue was Sheff's age. He's 38, and was insisting on a three-year deal. He's been fairly durable, but the last couple of years, has had injury issues. I suspect his age had something to do with that. I like Sheff, but I think the Yankees did the right thing, cutting him.

Abreu is only 32. He'll probably still be in his prime by the time Tabata is ready. Yes, he drives me nuts, the way he shies away from walls, but it does help keep him healthy for the entire season. He is better on defense than Sheff.

In any case, the Yankees are not going to move Abreu, Matsui, or Damon so Melky can play. They've got a set of All-Star outfielders who make $15 million a year each. You don't sit guys like that for players like Melky. Their choices are: use Melky as 4th OFer, send him to Scranton, or trade him. Trading him would be the best option, IMO, if they can get a decent player in return.
commented by Blogger BubbaFan, December 21, 2006 6:41 AM  

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