What’s going to happen if Jorge Posada continues to struggle? Throw away the mental stuff from this weekend for a second and let’s talk purely physical struggles. If the hits don’t start falling, there’s no way the Yankees can justify running him out there every day. I have to acknowledge this weekend, though, and given the way that went down, benching Posada outright could be a problem. Again pretending, let’s assume Posada learned from this experience, knows he’s hurting the team, and takes the benching without any complaints. What alternative could the Yankees go to?
They could just take the platoon tag off of Andruw Jones and have him DH full time. I wouldn’t be completely against this, but he hasn’t exactly torn the cover off the ball (last night’s homer notwithstanding).
They could call up Jesus Montero. We’ve been anticipating this since 2011 started and it’s probably coming soon. Again, it’d be super cool if this happened; he’s everyone’s favorite prospect and he’d probably get some catching duties to spell Russell Martin.
They could also make a trade in the mold of the Lance Berkman trade last year. Enter Carlos Beltran. Beltran has always been a favorite of mine and I think he’s been incredibly under appreciated during his time in New York. So, what could/would a trade for Beltran look like?
At FanGraphs last week, Matt Klaassen did the heavy lifting on exploring Carlos Beltran’s trade value. His conclusion:
Given Beltran’s abilities, salary, the time remaining on the season, and the increasingly high value teams place on their prospects, it is hard to imagine the Mets getting more than a couple of C prospects in return for Beltran if they send a few million dollars along.
Who are the C prospects the Yankees have? Mr. Sickels, if you please:
13) Eduardo Nunez, SS, Grade C+: Good speed, makes contact, but looks more like a utility guy to me than a regular.
14) Brandon Laird, 3B, Grade C+: I like the power, but discipline is sketchy and where does he fit?
15) David Adams, 2B, Grade C+: Can hit if healthy.
16) J.R. Murphy, C, Grade C+: More young catching depth but needs a lot of polish with the glove, bat should improve.
17) Corban Joseph, 2B, Grade C+: Another second base option with a nice bat.
18) Cito Culver, SS, Grade C+: I know the Yankees love him, and he has a high ceiling, but a long way off and lots of risk.
19) Brett Marshall, RHP, Grade C+: Tommy John survivor must be watched closely.
20) Jose A. Ramirez, RHP, Grade C+: Live arm with some breakthrough potential.
21) Angelo Gumbs, OF, Grade C+: Great tools, raw.
Off the bat, the Yankees are not going to trade Murphy, Gumbs, or Culver, so we can eliminate them right away. Adams hasn’t played enough this season, so I’m not sure how attractive he is, despite the Mets’ apparent need at 2B (Adams isn’t close enough to the Majors anyway). I definitely think Laird is a piece of trade bait, but I assume he could be part of a package to acquire a pitcher. Besides, he’s not helpful to the Mets in the immediate or long term future. Nunez might make sense for the Mets, especially if they also look to unload Jose Reyes, but for whatever reason, the Yankees are pretty high on him and are determined to make him stick on the Major League roster, so I doubt they’ll part with him; I would, though.
Anyway, despite those limitations, there are still some names the Yankees could look to flip to the Mets, but there’s one thing we haven’t gone over. Klaassen mentions that the Mets would have to eat money for a deal to go through. That applies to almost everyone, but it doesn’t apply to the Yankees. If they felt it essential enough, they could eat the money for the Mets in exchange for a smaller hit in terms of prospects.
Bottom line, I’d like to trade for Beltran, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. I’m not sure the Yankees and Mets match up too well in terms of prospects, even if the Yankees can take the financial hit for their cross-city counterparts. I think they’re much more likely to roll the dice on Jesus Montero hitting at the Major League level while doing a good deal of DHing and some catching to back up Russell Martin. That plan could work well on multiple levels: it would get Montero consistent plate appearances at the highest level and it could give a boost to non-Russell Martin inclusive lineups.
Another snag is that Jorge Posada can only play first base aside from DHing. Theoretically he could catch, but I’d put the chances of that happening ever again at below absolute zero. We saw the Yankees acquire a DH in Berkman last year despite Marcus Thames‘ presence and his lack of versatility, though that was mitigated by a platoon situation. I don’t see the same thing happening if Carlos Beltran is a Yankee.
It would probably be a good, relatively cheap acquisition for the Yankees, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on this one.
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