Albert Pujols Traded to the New York Yankees

17 01 2011

Posted by Teix4MVP

This is all imaginary.

Albert Pujols is entering the final year of his contract.

The Yankees have signed Albert Pujols to a 10 year, 300MM contract extension after they acquired Pujols from the Cardinals for Jesus Montero, Brett Gardner, Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Phil Hughes and David Robertson. Brian Cashman spoke after the deal was announced saying, “We had the extra 300 million lying around so we thought, why not?” Pujols decided to break off negotiations earlier than the Spring Training deadline and demanded a trade, said a source with the Cardinals. “We were extremely taken aback when Albert decided he did not want to negotiate anymore,” the source said. Pujols was interviewed by PTaPP, saying “New York is where I always dreamed of being. St. Louis was nice, but I feel like New York was where I was always supposed to be.”

The Yankees will probably be using Pujols in a DH role as 1B is occupied by Mark Teixeira. Teixeira had to say this about Pujols: “He’s a fantastic player and hopefully he can guide us to a 28th pennant.” CC Sabathia was quoted as saying “He’s a great guy, a fantastic personality…Whenever we need him, he’ll come up in the clutch.” Alex Rodriguez declined comment, muttering on the way out “Who cares if he has the biggest contract now…I’m still the prettiest. I’M STILL THE PRETTIEST!” Pujols’ number 6 jersey was flying off the racks, and 17 people were arrested fighting for the jerseys.

Meanwhile, in St. Louis, fans were crying at several bars over the loss of Pujols. Pujols jerseys were burning in the streets, and at least 92 bobble heads of the former beloved slugger were found, smashed in the street. Said one fan, “He’s a traitor.”  Bill DeWitt Jr., owner of the team, posted the following on the team’s website:

Dear St. Louis, All Of Missouri and St. Louis Cardinals Supporters Wherever You May Be Tonight;

As you now know, our former hero is no longer a St. Louis Cardinal.

This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV Press Conference unlike anything ever “witnessed” in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.

Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.

The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cardinals have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.

There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.

You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.

You have given so much and deserve so much more.

In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight:


You can take it to the bank.

If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to St. Louis, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our “motivation” to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels.

Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.

Sorry, but that’s simply not how it works.

This shocking act of disloyalty from our own “King” sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And “who” we would want them to grow-up to become.

But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called “curse” on St. Louis, Missouri.

Brian Cashman has alot of payroll flexbility to play around with.

The self-declared former “King” will be taking the “curse” with him across the nation. And until he does “right” by St. Louis and Missouri, Pujols (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.

Just watch.

Sleep well, St. Louis.

Tomorrow is a new and much brighter day….

I PROMISE you that our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only:

DELIVERING YOU the championship you have long deserved and is long overdue….

Bill DeWitt Jr.
Majority Owner
St. Louis Cardinals

Pujols declined comment on the letter. Many had the opportunity to voice their opinion on this. One fan from the Bronx said, “Amazing pick up, the Yankees are sure to win the AL East now.”

A few days later, Earth is attacked by UFOs and is subsequently taken over. They make Derek Jeter king of humanity(as if he wasn’t already). Then several meteors strike Earth and it explodes.


Revisiting the Cliff Lee Trade: Part Three

7 12 2010

Posted by Teix4MVP

So as Wilchiro and MagicSox have already told you, Cliff Lee has been traded along for prospects and whatnot, and he has performed well everywhere he went, whether it be in Philly or Seattle, or Cleveland. After the addition of Lee to the Mariners, many picked them to win the AL West. However, when the Mariners were quickly smacked out of contention, they decided to trade their second ace, who they would lose to free agency after the season.

It was hard to see Lee go, but M's fans knew it was all for the good.

At first, it looked like the Yankees were going to get him (I remember refreshing the website MLB Trade Rumors every 10-20 minutes just to see if they’d get a deal done) with a package centered around top 5 prospect, catcher Jesus Montero. The deal looked done; that is, until the Mariners opened up conversations with the Rangers again after they apparently didn’t like the package that also included prospect David Adams and probably Zach McAllister (who was later dealt for Austin Kearns) and liked a package centered around Justin Smoak more, along with guys like Blake Beavan, Matthew Lawson, and of course, the now-infamous Josh Lueke. They made the deal, sending Lee (and an out-for-the-season Mark Lowe) to the Rangers on July 9th, So, I’m going to break down the players as they’ve progressed through this year. Let’s start with the player(s) the Rangers got.

The Texas Rangers received:

Cliff Lee (and cash)

The 32-year-old Cliff Lee didn’t perform as well as expected in Texas. He went 4-6, had a 3.98 ERA, and saw his WHIP jump to 1.058 from .945.  His BB/9 went from .5 to 1.0, and his SO/BB dropped from a godly 14.83 to 8.00. His September was pretty good, as he went 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA, but in August he went 1-4 and had a 6.35 ERA. He was a great clubhouse presence for the upstart Rangers, and he led them straight to the World Series in the Playoffs. He defeated two of the best offenses in baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees, easily, giving up just 2 ERs in 24 innings pitched. He allowed just 14 baserunners (he had just one walk allowed) and he struck out 34 batters. And just like that, Lee and the Rangers had reached the World Series, the first the franchise had reached against the San Francisco Giants. The Rangers looked like the favorites to many, particularly because of their ace, Clifford Phifer Lee, and he was starting Game 1. He was 7-0 in his career during the playoffs, and he looked to improve to 8-0 against the Giants hitters, who didn’t have a 30 HR guy.

Or a 100-RBI guy.

Or even a 90-RBI guy.

They DID end up showing Cliff Lee what it was like to lose, actually handing him 2 losses and a 6.94 ERA. He had an over 10 WHIP, compared to a .375 WHIP against the Yankees and a .688 against the Rays. And just like that, the Rangers had lost their first World Series, and their ace was sent towards his first huge payday and a decision of what team to join next season.

Mark Lowe

This was an interesting addition to the trade. Lowe was out for the season with a back surgery, but managed to make it back at the very end of the regular season, pitching in 3 games but had a 12.00 ERA. In the postseason, he pitched in 2 games, and gave up 5 earned runs. At age 27, he isn’t a prospect player, so he was included in the deal as a probable throw-in, although the Rangers want him. He’s arbitration-eligible, so look for him to  be in the Rangers plans for 2011.

Mark Lowe has a fastball that reaches 100 MPH at times, and he could be an elite pitcher in the Texas bullpen in 2011.

The Rangers’ GM Daniels was widely praised for making this deal, as he greatly improved his team’s chances to make it to the playoffs but also did it without giving up any of his blue chip minors prospects. Lee was the obvious prize of the trade, but look for Lowe next season, as he’s one year removed from 75 appearances and a 3.26 ERA, although that should go up due to the park he’s now pitching in. The Rangers have the financial flexibility to sign the best free agent this year’s class has to offer, although the offer has to stack up against those of the Yankees, Phillies, Red Sox, Angels, and Tigers, among others. The Rangers do have an edge in the Lee negotiations, however, as Texas is close to his Arkansas home. Whoever signs Lee will get an immediate impact pitcher.

Let’s move on to the M’s part of the deal, starting with the centerpiece, rookie first baseman…

Justin Smoak

Smoak came up to replace the struggling Chris Davis at first base on April 22. He struggled in his time with the Rangers, having a slashline of .209/.316/.353, which wasn’t much better than Davis’s mark of .192/.279/.292. But this does not take away from Smoak’s potential. Smoak was a top fifteen prospect entering the season, rated by Baseball America and MLB Network. He has a solid glove at 1B as evident by a UZR of 2.2, and has drawn comparisions to stars such as Mark Teixeira and Lance Berkman in the past. This guy looks like the real deal.

Josh Lueke

Lueke shows a ton of potential and this is shown by an impressive year, going 5-2 with a 1.86 ERA in 50 games. He posted alot more K’s then he pitched innings, and he will likely be utilized in the Mariners bullpen entering the 2011 season. When acquired, the Mariners were not aware of previous problems with rape, and that is why they have begun to dangle him on the trade market.

Blake Beavan

Justin Smoak was the centerpiece of the Lee deal. He has drawn comparisions to Teixeira and Berkman.

Blake Beavan is a solid piece. At 6’7″ 250 pounds, Beavan posted great numbers in three levels with Texas and Seattle this year, going 14-8 with a 3.90 ERA in 168.1 IP. It doesn’t seem like he blows anyone away with just 101 K’s on the season, but this shouldn’t be an issue as long as he is getting the outs. Beavan is currently in AAA Tacoma, and could fight for a spot in the rotation out of Spring Training, depending on the health status of recently re-signed lefty Erik Bedard.

Matthew Lawson

Lawson was essentially a throw-in piece who likely won’t play a huge part in the Mariners future plans, and will likely be used as trade bait, as he is blocked by stud prospects Dustin Ackley and Kyle Seager. He did post decent stats on the year, though, hitting .293/.372/.439 with a solid OPS of .815.

Although it was hard for Mariners fans to see Lee go after such a great offseason followed by a solid 2009, it was evident that a trade was on the way. Jack Zduriencik likely got a maximum return for the lefty, considering the status of his contract and the demands for his salary. This was a trade that worked perfectly for both sides; the Rangers got one of the best pitchers in baseball in Lee who eventually led them in their surge to the World Series, with a fireball arm in Lowe who has a shot as the closer slot if Feliz becomes a starter in 2011. The Mariners got their future 1B in Smoak who fits perfectly with their plans with his left handed bat, solid glove and marginal power, a couple of solid bullpen arms in Lueke and Beavan, and a young 2B in Lawson. This trade was a win-win for both sides.

The Rivalry: John Lackey and A.J. Burnett

15 10 2010

Posted by cubs223425

Lackey signed a 5 year $82.5 million deal with Boston this past off-season

It’s one of the oldest rivalries in sports–the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. There are many defining aspects of it. The sale of Babe Ruth, the 2004 ALCS, the championship counts, and the well-known disdain for each other are some common examples. But December 16, 2009 is a more subtle date.

On this date, the Red Sox signed former Angels pitcher John Lackey. What does this have to do with the Yankees? Well, one year and four days before that–December 12, 2008–the Yankees had signed former Marlin and Blue Jay A.J. Burnett. What makes them even more similar is the contracts; both were given a total of $82.5 million over five years, despite the fact that both were 31 at the time.

Of course, the pitchers are not exactly the same. A.J. Burnett is more of the prototypical power arm. He sports the higher K/9 rate (8.2 to Lackey’s 7.1), but also the higher BB/9 rate (3.8 to 2.7 for Lackey). But the career ERA and WHIP numbers are rather similar, with Lackey–the more consistent, durable horse–leading the ERA by just 0.10 (3.89 to 3.99) and the WHIP by 0.001 (1.320 to 1.321). So, with such similar circumstances, there are going to be those, such as myself, who will wonder who won this deal. Why? Because it’s Yanks-Sawx, guys, and every facet of this rivalry is examined with extreme detail. We can evaluate the two using four categories: contract breakdown, production before their new deal, production with their new contract, and future expectations.

Contract Breakdown: As we have said, both pitchers sport 5-year, $85 million deals. But there are some differences, Burnett has a contract with a flat, no bonus deal of $16.5 million per season. Lackey, on the other hand, was given both a $3.5 million signing bonus and a first-year salary of $18 million. This allows his other four years to be just $15.25 million annually, meaning his older seasons are less expensive than those of his Yankees counterpart.

ADVANTAGE: John Lackey/Boston

Pre-Contract Performance: This might be the toughest part to call. Before their respective new deals, both pitchers posted identical 3.81 ERAs. Burnett sported a lower 1.28 WHIP, to Lackey’s 1.31, along with an 8.4/9 that trumped the 7.2 of Lackey. Lackey’s strengths came in the terms of durability and free passes. He managed to top Burnett is both BB/9 (2.6 to 3.7), as well as K/BB ratio (2.72 to 2.25). From 1999-2008, Burnett managed to make 211 starts over 215 appearances, totaling 1,376 1/3 innings. Conversely, Lackey had his numbers from 2002-2009 total 233 starts over 234 appearances, with a 1,501 innings. That led to an average of 188 IP for Lackey and 138 IP for Burnett, though that was skewed by the fact that Burnett’s first season spanned only seven outings, while Lackey was given eighteen starts when he started out. Omitting that short 1999, Burnett still falls well short of Lackey’s 188 innings with just 148 of his own. While the ERAs are identical and Burnett managed a slightly lower WHIP, the durability of Lackey resulted in an ERA+ of 116 for the former Angel, while Burnett’s frailty led to a lower 111 ERA+.

ADVANTAGE: John Lackey/Boston

Burnett has underperformed in 2010

Post-Contract Performance: Burnett and Lackey both managed to have below-average 2010s, posting ERA+ numbers of 81 and 99, respectively. Normally, this would make Lackey the clear-cut winner, but Burnett also had 2009 with his new team, where he posted a 114 ERA+. When added in, that gives Burnett a 96 ERA+ over the two seasons. Still, that doesn’t quite reach Lackey. What Burnett did that Lackey has yet to do, is be an integral part of a title run. Burnett’s entire body of work was less than ideal in the 2009 postseason (5 starts, 1-1, 5.27 ERA), he did help shut down the Phillies and Pedro Martinez in Game 2 of the World Series. He allowed just one run over seven innings, striking out nine, which left Mariano Rivera to close out the last two innings of that matchup.  His Game 5 start was considerably worse (2 innings, 6 earned runs), but that was mostly and all-offense night (even then-Phillies ace Cliff Lee allowed 5 earned over four innings). So, while Lackey has the slight regular-season record over him, what Burnett did something much bigger when he helped win that Game 2 start over an all-time great pitcher.

ADVANTAGE: A.J. Burnett/New York

Future Expectations: No one is psychic (sorry, Ms. Cleo), but 2010 can give us a rather useful way to view the future from these aging pitchers, and it’s not all that pretty. Neither pitcher had a strong 2010, but the end of the year performances were very different. Lackey had his best statistical month, posting and ERA of 3.46 and a WHIP of just 1.03. At that point in time, Burnett was imploding. He managed to go from the Yankees #2 to off of the ALDS roster by putting up a horrific 5.60 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. Burnett has since been added to the ALCS roster for New York and slated to start Game 4 against Texas’ Tommy Hunter, but the damage has been done.

ADVANTAGE: John Lackey/Boston

As a whole, John Lackey has clearly shown that he is the better choice. His long-term outlook is better in almost every manner, when compared to A.J. Burnett. His durability, future price, and 2010 results suggest that he is a better investment going forward. Of course, if Burnett can turn his awful regular season into a successful, redemptive postseason and help the Yankees to a repeat, the discussion could be brought back up. For now, though, it seems Boston has made a much better decision with Lackey.

Joba Chamberlain: His Pros, Reasons to Trade Him, and Trade Value

14 10 2010

Posted by Teix4MVP

So this past week Newsday’s Ken Davidoff wrote that “Joba Chamberlain has slipped down the Yankees’ food chain, and it’ll be interesting to see what happens with him this winter.”

I took one look at this article and decided I would write a response to it.


“Best pitcher in the bullpen besides Mo.”

“He’s got real potential.”

Does it sound like any pitchers you know? Well, these were the phrases used to describe the Yankees’ then-phenom Joba Chamberlain, who came up to the Yankee bullpen towards the end of 2007.

Some background information about Joba before the majors: Chamberlain was drafted 41st overall by the New York Yankees in the 2006 Draft during the compensatory round because Tom Gordon signed with the Phillies.  He didn’t pitch in the minors that season, but he pitched in the Hawaii Winter league, posting a 2.63 ERA for the WestOahu Canefires. In 2007, he ascended the minor league ladder starting at High A, and moving up to Triple-A as a starter, until he made it to the major leagues as the Yankees attempted to make it into the playoffs and win a World Series for the first time in the 2000s.

All the Yankees fans reading this remember Joba as a little something short of a Gattling gun when he first came up to the majors in 2007. The 22-year-old Chamberlain blew his 100 mph fastballs by everyone in the American League, compiling a 12.75 K/9 during his time that year. He allowed just 12 hits in the 24 IP. He compiled a 5.67 K/BB that year, compared to a 2.00 league average, although Chamberlain appeared in just 19 games. He gave up 1 ER in those 24 IP, and that came on a solo shot over the Green Monster hit by Mike Lowell(I was at


Joba had a dominant 24 innings in the bullpen during the 2007 season.

that game, it was a shot). In those 19 games he still managed to put up a 0.9 WAR, which is pretty darn good, considering he pitched for such a short time. Joba was going to be the next huge fixture in the Yankees bullpen for years to come, with ESPN proclaiming him as NEXT. Joba was a phenom in those 19 appearances, and he never failed to disappoint the fans that watched him pitch.

“He’s going to be a star.” -Chamberlain before 2008

In 2008, Joba started the year in the set-up role leaving spring training with a roster spot on the major league roster. However, due to the zero wins between pitchers Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes and the resulting stress on the bullpen, on April 21st, 2008 Hank Steinbrenner told reporters that he wanted Joba to start. “Brian knows I was upset about the switch to the bullpen last year,” Steinbrenner said. “But like he says, we probably wouldn’t have made the playoffs without it, so there’s two sides to the story. We all had the same purpose starting in the offseason – we’d like to see Joba as a starter.” He also added that “we’re pleased with what some of the other guys in the pen have done…so I think it’s time to start thinking about getting him (Chamberlain) back in the rotation.” according to an article by the NY Daily News.

GM Brian Cashman said that Joba would remain in the bullpen, and would finish off the year starting, but not start off starting because of the innings limit(that would later be famously referred to the Joba Rules) that the Yankees had on the young pitcher’s arm in response to Steinbrenner. So the Yankees waited until June 3rd, 2008 for Joba to make his first start in the majors. It was one of the most highly-anticipated events of the week, a Strasburg Mania-lite. Except this was extremely anticlimactic.  Chamberlain allowed two runs (one unearned) on one hit, walking four and striking out three. He threw 62 pitches, 32 for strikes, and he struggled for most of the start during a 9-3 loss against the Blue Jays. He ended the year 4-3 starting 12 games and pitching a little bit over 100 innings as the Yankees missed the playoffs for the first time in the 2000s.

“He’ll bounce back.”-optimism before the 2009 season.

The Yankees returned in 2009 with the newly hired big guns CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Mark Teixeira. This year the Yankees looked ready to cruise their way to the playoffs, and it was time for Joba to be a full-time starter, no restrictions this time. Joba did end up starting 31 games, however he only got 15 decisions, probably  due to the fact he averaged 4.9 innings per game that year. His ERA was 4.75, although FIP suggests he got help from the defense because he had a 4.82 FIP. But what is REALLY bad about Joba is that he allowed a line drive for about every 2 ground balls he got. But he also had a .320 BABIP, so that could suggest that he was somewhat unlucky. His year was up and down, so he was taken out of the playoff rotation and sent to the bullpen as the Yankees won the 27th World Series for the pinstriped franchise.

“Chamberlain’s one of the most overrated guys in the majors.”-2010

This year, Joba has been sent back to the bullpen after losing the 5th starter spot to All-Star Phil Hughes who, ironically, was replaced by Chamberlain in 2008 and 2009, when he was sent to the bullpen and was dominant in both the regular and postseason in the set-up role. Joba couldn’t recapture his success during his first bullpen stint. He went 3-4 in 73 appearances, and was just downright awful the first half. He managed a 4.40 ERA, although FIP suggests it should have been a 2.98. It is uncertain what role Joba is going to have during the ALCS and World Series, but it will certainly be in the bullpen.

So, now, what are the pros of keeping Chamberlain?

There’s always a chance that he recaptures that skill in the bullpen, ex. Colby Lewis of the Rangers. If he does, he’d slot nicely with setting up Rivera’s cutter with a 97 MPH fastball the inning before.

  • His fastball is capable of reaching 100 MPH, and has a nice slider and change up, so that seems like a good reason to keep him.
  • He could figure it out and pitch his way back into the starting rotation. Remember, he was a SP coming up, so he could still be a very good #2-3 starter in the rotation in the future.
  • Pitching depth is always good to have, especially with aging pitchers like AJ Burnett and Andy Pettitte.
  • He’s still just 25, so he still has time to develop as a MLB pitcher, so it would unwise to trade him because he has been durable, and he’s been a star before. And the Yankees have enough talent to keep him as a work in progress.

Joba was the #4 pitching prospect coming into the 2007 season according to, so that shows his potential, one that people thought he would fill when he captivated all minds with his pitching in 2007. He’s disappointed ever since then, and Davidoff, as stated before, said he fell down the Yankees’ ladder. So why would the Yankees want to trade him?

  • He’s been constantly named as one of the league’s most overrated players by both his peers and fans alike.
  • Joba hasn’t put up numbers since that first bullpen stint, and this year was no different, even though he was back in the bullpen.
  • Joba doesn’t really seem to have a defined role, although at this point, it will probably be middle relief, because he doesn’t seem good enough to pitch in the set up role.
  • Joba’s fastball doesn’t really reach 100 MPH anymore, ever since that move to the starting rotation.
  • His development has been stunted by the constant switch back and forth.

Is it time for Joba to leave the Evil Empire?

Let’s pretend that Joba does get traded to a team. What is he worth to a team? Well, to me, it’s hard to gauge. Joba was a top prospect, a future closer with fireball stuff, then a starter with a decent future, to an inconsistent guy and now a middle reliever. Good relievers are always kind of hard to come by, but Joba showed his potential to be a real closer, his potential to be an ace in the minors, a middle reliever now so its hard to see what he’ll be from this point on.

So what could the Yankees get for him? To me, they can’t get something more than a 2 low minors B prospects return on him, especially because his stock is so low based on his standing with the organization and his past 2 seasons. Teams will remember his fireballs, but unfortunately, they’ll also remember how he’s been inconsistent in both starting and now, pitching in relief. Teams that would take Joba on, in my opinion, would be both Chicago teams, Arizona(because of their absolute dearth of relievers), the Mets, or maybe even the Angels.

Joba Chamberlain was the fireballer youngster that the Yankees had struck gold on. He was ready to become the NEXT big thing, the next closer for the Yankees, the next to be among the elite. Baseball is a funny thing, star one minute, wash up the next. It is so easy to now fall into bad favor with fans, owners, and players. He was elite, for a while, and then Steinbrenner voiced his desire to move the phenom to the rotation. It was that decision that stunted Chamberlain’s growth, and now, the Yankees face a decision on what to do with the young pitcher that was supposed to be the next big thing.