Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Forget Cameron, Look at Taveras

The Yankees seem to really be interested in Mike Cameron despite his high strikeout rate, low average, and age. For one year and $10 million the Yankees feel they can risk bringing in someone who has been very consistant in defense, has some speed, and some pop as well. However, the Yankees should take stock of the new market. Several teams have dropped arbitration eligible players to decrease their payroll. One of these players was Centerfielder Willy Taveras from the Colorado Rockies. Coming off of his worst season in the majors, Taveras batted a mere .251 with 1 homerun and 26 RBI's as the teams leadoff guy. Although those numbers seem anemic at best, it should not be overlooked that this was his career low, and that despite the fact it was his worst season, he still ended up stealing 68 bases, a career best. In 2007, Taveras batted .320, .278 the year before and .291 the year before that. The .251 would appear to be an aberration. Taveras has his downfalls. Namely, he has no power. He will not strikeout as much as Cameron, but will hit about 20 less homeruns than Cameron. Nearly all of Taveras' hits will be singles. However, by stealing 68 bases last season, there were alot of singles turned into doubles and some doubles turned to triples. The biggest reason the Yankees should consider Taveras is that Cameron's $10 million for one year could probably land Taveras for 3 years. He made $2 million this last year, and with a $1.3 million pay raise and a guaranteed 3 year contract, I think he would be willing to sign. Plus, a contract like that makes him easily tradeable, especially to small market teams, and his speed will always be in demand. The only reason the Yankees should pursue Cameron is if the Brewers are willing to take Igawa with the deal. Outside of that, sign Taveras and use the rest of the money saved on his contract to get a bat like Manny's into the lineup.


Antone said...

Taveras sucks...forget him..they should go after Marlon Byrd:

There have been rumblings all offseason that the Yankees might end up trading for Mike Cameron to play CF. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports feels this is still a possibility:

Right-handed hitting outfielders are in relatively scant supply on the trade market. The White Sox's Jermaine Dye is the most attractive, followed by the Brewers' Mike Cameron, Tigers' Marcus Thames and Rangers' Marlon Byrd. Cameron, signed for $10 million next season, still could end up with the Yankees, perhaps reuniting with Sabathia, his good friend and former Brewers teammate.

Personally, I think the Yankees should forget about Cameron and go after Marlon Byrd to play CF next season. Byrd was once one of the top prospects in the Phillies minor league system and has put together two back to back solid seasons with the Rangers:

2007: .307/10 HR/70 RBI/.355 OBP/.459 SLG/113 OPS+.
2008: .298/10 HR/53 RBI/.380 OBP/.462 SLG/123 OPS+.

That would be an upgrade in CF for the Yankees over Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner, who they could still use occasionally in CF, perhaps against tougher right-handed pitching. Byrd is only around league average defensively in CF, but it appears that he is not a butcher out there and would play well enough.

Some other reasons the Yankees should look at Marlon Byrd in CF over Mike Cameron:

- Byrd is much cheaper than Cameron making only $1.8 million compared to Cameron's $10 million option for 2009. It would probably take much less to acquire him in a trade than it would take to acquire Cameron. The Yankees would also be getting better production for their money, with Byrd putting up OPS+ numbers of 113 and 123 the past two seasons, while Cameron has only had an OPS+ of 103 and 110 the past two years.

- Byrd is 4 years younger than Cameron, so if he plays well he will be worth keeping around. Cameron is older, but I believe he is only signed for 2009, which means he would be easy to move if needed, especially if Austin Jackson is ready to play in CF in 2010. Byrd would be just as easy to move and is more likely to accept a 4th OF type role if Jackson was ready to play.

- Cameron is a strikeout machine and with age his K totals most likely will only go up. The past three seasons Cameron has struck out 142, 160, and 142 times. Players who strike out this much are often useless in the playoffs, because the best pitchers know how to get hitters like Cameron out. This is why Cameron has a playoff batting average of just .174, with 29 strike outs in 27 games.

MLB Weekly

Fred Trigger said...

you know, I was thinking (weird huh. Every once in a while a light bulb goes off in a red sox fans head). If they cant get Marky T, they could always fall back on Adam Dunn. Think about it. Dude hits 40 HR, walks 100+ times, and drives in 100 like clockwork. Plus you can probably get him for cheap because other people undervalue him because of his low batting average. He is terrible defensively, which is why you could stick him at that gaping hole at first base. Wait? Why am I telling you guys this? Dammit! Too much scotch makes me loose lipped. And for some reason it gives me this annoying british accent. (In head) mmmmm....quite.

Fernando Alejandro said...

Marlon Byrd is an interesting idea, the only two drawbacks being that the Yankees likely value a defensive centerfielder over an offensive one, and Byrd will definitely require more than just Melky to get him. With the Yankees wanting to keep their prospects, I don't think that deal will happen. One of the reasons I like the Taveras deal is that all it would cost us is money, which the Yankees have plenty of.

As for Dunn, you can't get more consistent than that guy, but the Yankees will likely pass because having him running around your outfield is more of a liability than sticking Abreu out there.

Fernando Alejandro said...

Also, Byrd is an injury risk.

Raven King said...

Forget Cameron, Taveras and Marlon Byrd.
Let's trade for Josh Hamilton.

Anonymous said...

Ok Im a Brett Gardner fan I feel given a chance he will produce well enough to hold down the fort until Jackson is ready. If you want to spend money . How about trading Nady or Matsui and offering Manny 4 years at 75 million with Incentives and a club and player option for a fifth year.

Fernando Alejandro said...

I don't know if I want Manny for 4 much less 5 years. I think 3 with a club option for 4 wouldn't be bad, but we also know how much crap he gives his teams about options getting picked up.

Personally, I just don't see Gardner holding down Centerfield with any sort of regularity. He's a great defender and baserunner, but his bat has a ways to go.

Raven King said...

I agree that 3 with a club option for 4 wouldn't be bad.
But I think what Manny wants is 4 with a player option for 5.