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January 28, 2010

Transaction Action

Minor Moves in the AL

by Christina Kahrl

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BALTIMORE ORIOLES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Designated RHP Dennis Sarfate for assignment. [1/27]

This was to make room for Miguel Tejada on the 40-man; if the deal to Mark Hendrickson becomes official once he passes a physical, there's going to be another cut to come. The O's aren't yet cutting to the bone as far as being entirely out of guys they can trim without too much fear of a waiver claim; take Matt Albers or Armando Gabino, for example.


BOSTON RED SOX
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Agreed to terms with OF-L Jeremy Hermida on a one-year, $3.345 million contract, avoiding arbitration. [1/26]

NEW YORK YANKEES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Acquired CF-R Greg Golson from the Rangers for 1B/3B-L Mitch Hilligoss. [1/26]
Signed OF-S Randy Winn to a one-year, $2 million deal. [1/28]

Signing Winn seems as if it fills up the Yankees' outfield to the brim: beyond purportedly burning the bridge to a renewed engagement with Johnny Damon, it should mean that Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher, and Brett Gardner are set to get the majority of the playing time. Winn potentially represents Granderson's platoon partner in left or center. Rule 5 pick Jamie Hoffman remains in the mix as well for the fifth outfielder, although he stands to have to fend off the recently added Golson and show some pop at the plate plus playability in center. It's not exactly an epic battle, but the toolsy Golson can run and fly to the gaps, and his upside is fifth outfielder, while Hoffman's may be Triple-A all-star.

In itself, the idea that the Yankees might carry youngsters like Golson or Hoffman, Ramiro Pena, and Francisco Cervelli as three of their four bench players makes for an interesting development, since it would mean the Bombers are (initially) going cheap as far as who's on their bench. That said, I wouldn't necessarily buy that's your Yankees bench in September, because even if they stand pat between now and Opening Day, I'd expect a few in-season add-ons, not unlike last season's decision to bring in Eric Hinske and Jerry Hairston Jr. The fact that jobs would go to Hoffman/Golson, Pena, and Cervelli doesn't represent endorsements of them as prospects; the current grouping of 10 veterans ahead of them figure to be locked into near-everyday play with a regularity Ralph Houk would admire, with Granderson/Winn/Gardner representing the moving part. If Pena gets more than 20 starts at any position, something will have gone badly wrong. Similarly, if Hoffman or Golson get many more than 30 total in the outfield, I'd suspect the entire Yankees brass got lost on a three-hour tour out of Tampa, perhaps leaving a groundskeeper temporarily in charge or something.

Is Winn up to the challenge? He's coming off of an awful year, with a .248 EqA that reflects a season where his only real stroke of bad luck was a complete implosion of his HR/FB rate. His stolen-base numbers from the last three years are nice (56 steals against seven times caught), and he's been worth about five runs on the bases in each of the last two seasons. So that's handy, and he's been a defensive asset in both corners, and good work in center doesn't seem too unlikely, despite limited exposure recently.

There seem to be two major complaints. First, he doesn't seem like the ideal platoon partner for Granderson if you only look at his ghastly performance against southpaws last season (.158/.184/.200), but he did hit .322/.372/.504 against lefties in 2007-08. Single-season implosions against lefties for an everyday player happen (many a Strat league was no doubt appalled by Jeff Bagwell's '97 slip, for example), but Winn's implosion last season was especially ugly. Second, there's the question of whether or not Winn's going to adapt all that effectively to being a bench player, having been an everyday guy for the last decade.

Now, maybe both of those things work out, and maybe not. But if they do, Winn might make a decent single-season fourth outfielder, and live up to the late-career value his top PECOTA comp, Stan Javier, delivered. He might also be be a total flop, but if anyone can afford to blow $2 million finding out, it's the Yankees. And given the alternatives on hand, we know this isn't really the bench the Yankees seem all that likely to employ heading into the stretch. If they have to add an outfielder to their shopping list, they can afford it.


TEXAS RANGERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Traded CF-R Greg Golson to the Yankees for 1B/3B-L Mitch Hilligoss. [1/26]

The nicest thing you can say is that Hilligoss doesn't have to be on the 40-man, and it might be nicer to have him around than getting nothing whatsoever for discarding Golson.



Where's Thome, you ask? Waiting on a data request I belatedly made to the data team to do a more historical view of what his addition might represent, and to have it coincide with a slightly significant posting tomorrow.

Christina Kahrl is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Christina's other articles. You can contact Christina by clicking here

18 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

ScottyB

Out: Matsui, Damon, Cabrera, Joba as starter instead of pen
In: Johnson, Granderson, Winn, Vazquez

Which is better and why? discuss.

Jan 28, 2010 12:50 PM
rating: 0
 
MattZ

I think the new group is better because on the strength of Granderson and Vazquez especially. I do love me some Nick Johnson though.

Jan 28, 2010 14:48 PM
rating: 1
 
HeavyHitter

The Yankees got younger and faster, improved their defense and pitching, and will probably at least match the offense they lost with Damon and Matsui, whose offensive contributions will diminish because of age and leaving Yankee Stadium. Cashman is entering his prime. And he had better be, just to keep up with Epstein. The Red Sox have also improved themselves greatly.

Jan 28, 2010 15:20 PM
rating: 2
 
John Douglass

Player for player, I'd say...
Johnson > Matsui
Granderson > Damon
Vazquez > Joba, who is still there if needed
Winn < Cabrera
...and that the Yankees came out ahead, even though Winn won't add much.

Jan 29, 2010 08:55 AM
rating: 0
 
ScottyB

Thanks, all. I also think the Yanks are better, but not by as much as most people think.

Jan 29, 2010 09:35 AM
rating: 0
 
jlefty

I bet if any other team gave Winn a one year $2M deal it would have been described as a thrifty risk or something of that nature. When the Yankees do it, it's "if anyone can afford to blow $2 million finding out, it's the Yankees."

Jan 28, 2010 13:24 PM
rating: -1
 
Bill N

I'd describe it as pennywise and poundfoolish in this situation.

Jan 28, 2010 16:30 PM
rating: 0
 
ofMontreal

Well, I'm no Winn fan, but until last season he wasn't bad at all. I'd look at his manager and maybe some minor injuries before writing him off. Damon is a DH. His defense last year was a joke and that's why he's not getting a contract offer to his liking.

Jan 28, 2010 17:51 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

"Wasn't bad" is not the same as good, and the Yankees are used to better. Per my comment below, it's more a matter of elevating Brett Gardner to full-time status; we don't know how well Winn will adjust to part-time play, or if he will.

Feb 01, 2010 22:47 PM
 
Moneyball16

I think this may be slightly correct but not because of some anti-Yankees bias but just because it seems like Winn would be a better fit for other teams. The Yankees really could use a 4th outfielder that can really mash left-handed pitching. Winn doesn't really compliment their current outfield very well, but I still think for $2 mill its decent value.

Jan 28, 2010 19:43 PM
rating: 1
 
raybert

I think the best part of the signing of Winn is that it stops the temptation to resign Damon for nostalgia's sake. To resign him you're paying for his reputation as much as for his talent.

Jan 29, 2010 07:05 AM
rating: 0
 
Robotey

Winn is nothing close to Damon; Yanks are regretting signing Nick Johnson. They mis-read market for Damon falling like it has. If they'd waited they could have used Winn/Johnson $ for Damon.

Jan 29, 2010 09:00 AM
rating: 2
 
Dave T
(617)

This is only partially true. The Yankees did offer the Johnson money to Damon (in fact, more than Johnson got), but Damon declined, and the Yankees moved on. It was Damon that misread the market for Damon.

Jan 29, 2010 12:44 PM
rating: 2
 
yankee

Does everyone think the Yankees will stick to their budget as imposed by Hal Steinbrenner ? I'm not being sarcastic, I just want to know what others think

Jan 29, 2010 09:37 AM
rating: 0
 
McLovins

This seems to me more like Winn is the backup for Bret Gardner. He's the biggest unknown factor in terms of what you will actually be able to get from him as a starter. Worst case Winn should make up in defense over Gardner whatever he can't replicate in terms of expected value at the plate from Gardner. Seems like a decent put option on LF while leaving it open for upgrades during the season at low cost.

Jan 29, 2010 11:18 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

Exactly right. This deal isn't as much an endorsement of Winn as it is of Brett Gardner, who now very obviously appears to be squared away as a starter instead of dueling with Melky Cabrera and the like. There's obviously space for that to change (a humiliating climb-down for Damon, for example), but in the meantime, Gardner's in the catbird seat.

Feb 01, 2010 22:45 PM
 
worldtour

Making a bit too much of the Winn signing. He may be entering tailspin instead of tail end of his career and as suggested, he may not even be in pinstripes come September.

The profile you're looking for with lefty-pitching masher to man left field? Purported RBI machine Rondell White - remember how well that worked out? I think we'll know a lot more about where Randy Winn fits in on the field come March and April when we see him run around and hit 8th on occasion.

Jan 29, 2010 19:24 PM
rating: 0
 
worldtour

I couldn't help it, I looked it up, here's Rondell White 1999-2002:

99 MON .312/.359/.505
00 MON/CHC .311/.374/.493
01 CHC .307/.371/.529
02 NYY .240/.288/.378

I guess my point is: Who's to say that Winn or, for that matter, Nick Johnson II, won't have this same Ed Whitson disease?

Jan 29, 2010 19:28 PM
rating: 0
 
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