A few days after the Yankees acquired Javier Vazquez, Joel Sherman suggested that the Yankees may try and move some of their surplus starting pitching depth to a club seeking back end rotation help, with Chad Gaudin or Sergio Mitre most likely to go. At the time, Ben Kabak of RAB said the following:
On the basis of quality, Gaudin would command more interest and a higher return, but he will be owed nearly $4 million in 2010. Mitre should re-sign for around $1.5 million (Edit: Mitre only ended up with 850,000 in guaranteed money, with the chance to gain more in incentives) and would be a more attractive target for some cost-conscious teams. Less than a year removed from Tommy John surgery, Mitre struggled to find any consistency with the Yanks in 2009 while Gaudin was adequate as a long reliever and spot starter.
I was reminded of this discussion when I read Buster Olney’s column this morning, in which he suggests 10 holes around MLB that need to be filled, and noted two clubs that were searching for a 4th or 5th starter:
Dodgers, No. 4 and No. 5 starters. If the season started today, L.A.’s rotation would be Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda and … well, they are looking for help. They’ve got some young internal candidates, but continue to hang in the conversations for veterans. The perception of some agents is that the Dodgers — who are in nickel-counting mode because of the impending divorce of the McCourts — want to wait until they wade through their mass of arbitration cases and get a clearer picture of exactly how many pennies they can spend on starting pitching.
Cardinals, starting pitcher and third base. St. Louis got its man in re-signing Matt Holliday, but they’ll have to save some nickels as they identify a third baseman and another starting pitcher. To be clear, the Cardinals appear to have a tremendous team in the making, but they don’t have a lot of organizational rotation depth behind the front foursome of Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Kyle Lohse and Brad Penny. It is unclear whether the Cardinals will give a full shot to David Freese to be their third baseman after his repeated off-field troubles.
I would prefer to trade Mitre, but Gaudin likely has more value to the Dodgers, as he could likely be a #4 in the NL. Mitre may fit better in St. Louis, as they seem to be financially tapped out and would be attracted to Mitre’s small deal. Furthermore, I would like to trade one of these players for someone who can help the Yankees this season, either as a bench bat or as a bullpen option that fits the Yankees needs better than the pitcher that they are relinquishing.
Looking at the Dodgers roster, they have incredible depth in the bullpen, with Broxton, Kuo, Sherrill, Troncoso, and Belisario. The Yankees could not get any of the first three without adding prospects of considerable value, but Troncoso and Belisario are solid young relievers who have been relegated to 6th inning roles. A reliever of that caliber can make the Yankees more comfortable in deciding to send the loser of the Joba-Hughes competition to the minor leagues. There may be a match here than can serve the needs of both clubs.
A match with St. Louis seems a bit more difficult to find, but one intriguing name is Skip Schumaker. Schumaker possesses a solid bat for a utility man, with a career wRC+ of 107. He can play 2nd base and all of the outfield positions, although his UZR in very small samples has him as a poor fielder everywhere but left. He is not a spectacular player, but if you can get him in a deal built around Gaudin or Mitre, you should consider it.
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