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New York Yankees: Losing Seven of Eight Is Not the End of the World

With a 1-0 loss to Tampa Bay, the Yankees dropped out of first place for the first time since August 3.  They’ve lost seven of their past eight games, three via the walk-off.  No one player has been entirely blameless during the stretch and many players have played poorly, or not at all.

Some players are dealing with injuries—Nick Swisher has a balky knee, Brett Gardner’s wrist required an MRI and Jorge Posada missed time with concussion-like symptoms—but others have simply performed badly.  Derek Jeter has hit .190/.261/.286, Robinson Cano .259/.259/.296 and Mark Teixeira .160/.250/.160.  Marcus Thames and Austin Kearns each had a run of absolute offensive dominance, but both have predictably cooled off.

Part of this can be explained by the quality of pitchers they’ve faced, but for every David Price and Cliff Lee they’ve faced, they’ve also seen Jake Arrieta and Brad Bergesen.

The pitchers haven’t been terrible, but they’re closer to that end of the spectrum than they are the other.  Joe Girardi hasn’t helped by bunting seemingly every time the Yankees manage a baserunner.  The bullpen has been mostly good, but they’re slightly overworked due to some extra inning affairs and short outings from starters.  Of course, part of that is roster construction, which runs up the ladder to Brian Cashman and his cronies.

With expanded rosters, the Yankees should not be struggling to find someone to pitch the tenth inning.  Triple-A championships are nice, but putting the big league team in the best position possible should take precedence.  There’s very little reason for pitchers on the 40-man roster not to be with the big league club.

Truth is, it’s a cold spell for the Bronx Bombers and any semblance of a chink in the armor sends many fans running for the streets, pitchforks in hand.  The Yankees have the best run differential in baseball.  At +173, their run differential is already better than it was during their championship season of 2009, with 18 games left to improve it.

There have been some articles recently that at best, are laughable.  I’ve heard everything from the Yankees are missing some fabricated intangible magic to Joe Girardi doesn’t think that winning the division is important.

The Yankees have the best offense in baseball by a considerable amount.  They have an elite workhorse of an ace in CC Sabathia.  They’re looking to add another one as Andy Pettitte makes his way back from a groin injury.  Their bullpen has been one of the best in the game since the acquisition of Kerry Wood at the trade deadline.  Even with seven losses in their past eight games, the Yankees have the most wins in baseball.

The absolutely have question marks headed into the playoffs.  How will Phil Hughes pitch in uncharted innings-pitched territory?  Is AJ Burnett going to be able to right himself before the playoffs?  Is Javy Vazquez?

I can guarantee you that Dustin Moseley will not start a playoff game for the Yankees.  Neither will players like Greg Golson and Eduardo Nunez.  The Yankees have a 98.2 percent chance of making the playoffs, and while winning the division is a very desirable commodity, the ultimate prize is the World Series.

Joe Girardi knows the Yankees better than any national journalist and certainly better than any Bleacher Report columnist.  He was absolutely ripped a new one for not using Jorge Posada as a pinch-hitter late in a game against Baltimore, only for it to come to light that he was suffering from a possible concussion.  Open mouth, insert foot.

Exactly one year ago, there were similar concerns about the Yankees and Joe Girardi.  I know, I had them.  But whining about it or thinking you’re more qualified than Joe Girardi is ridiculous. But I’ll take the results from 2009 every single year. 

The Yankees are the best team in baseball and as such, are capable of winning the World Series with or without home field advantage and regardless of how they played in September.  The 2000 Yankees lost 13 of their last 15 games and then went 11-5 en route to their 26th championship.

Admittedly, the last week hasn’t exactly been storybook for the Yankees, but the 2010 Yankees will be judged by what they do in October, not a dozen games in mid-September.

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Curtis Granderson’s New Swing Is a Hit for New York Yankees

About a week into the 2010 season, Curtis Granderson looked like a terrific addition to the Yankees.

He homered in his first at-bat as a Yankee and then hit a game-winning home run against Boston two days later. He put up a .357/.419/.607 triple slash line with two homers, five RBI’s, and three stolen bases in his first week in pinstripes.

Yankee fans everywhere celebrated. They had their first true center fielder since Bernie Williams’ heyday.

But the exciting opening act quickly gave way to a less than appealing second one, and Granderson saw his numbers fall precipitously to .225/.311/.375 until he hit the disabled list in early May with a groin injury. By that time, many fans had soured on the energetic center fielder, and Granderson’s struggles, coupled with Austin Jackson’s otherworldly start for Detroit, prompted calls for Brian Cashman’s job.

But Granderson returned from the DL smoking hot, temporarily quieting doubting fans by hitting .417/.461/.750 the first week back from his injury with four doubles, a homer, and four RBI’s. But just like he did in April, Granderson slumped, and all the concerns and worries about him came to the forefront again.

Through the summer, Granderson continued to struggle with consistency. His offensive performance in general was of concern, but more specifically troublesome was his dismal showing against left-handed pitching. Coming off his worst season as a professional in 2009, Granderson was showing little to no improvement in 2010, despite moving into a better lineup and a friendlier hitting environment.

After taking three oh-fers in four days against Boston in early August, Granderson requested that hitting instructor Kevin Long take a long look (pun intended) at his swing and make any necessary adjustments to improve it. Long did so, although both reported that only minor mechanical changes were made.

After two days out of the lineup, Granderson returned with noticeably fewer moving parts during his at-bats. He went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk that day and recorded both hits against a left-handed pitcher. One game told very little, but progress was progress. Granderson had two three-hit games over the next few games and slowly inched his numbers towards respectability.

Since his extensive work with Long, Granderson has hit .288/.358/.602 with seven home runs in 21 games, numbers that are notably better than what he has posted beforehand. After Thursday’s game against the Athletics and lefties Dallas Braden and Jerry Blevins, Granderson is hitting .248 against righties and .247 against lefties. Again, not overly impressive numbers by any means, but a welcome improvement.

While his season totals remain unspectacular, his performance against lefties since he debuted his reworked swing is utterly phenomenal. In 21 at-bats, Granderson has posted a line of .428/.476/.809, which translates to a ridiculous 1.285 OPS—in other words, a better number than Mark McGwire posted during his 70-home run season and a better mark than any National League or American League MVP since Barry Bonds in 2004.

Granted, it’s an extremely small sample size, but Granderson’s improvement has been a very welcome development for the Yankees, even more so as they’ve dealt with injuries to Alex Rodriguez, Lance Berkman, Jorge Posada, and Nick Swisher in the past month. Granderson has been an asset defensively for the Yankees all season, and getting his bat going for the playoffs would be a huge boost to the league’s top-rated offense.

His transition from the Motor City to the City That Never Sleeps hasn’t gone as smoothly as anticipated, but Granderson has played excellent defense in center field this year and has been a league average hitter so far in 2010. His rejuvenated offense only makes him that much more of an asset to the Yankees as they attempt to repeat in 2010.


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Boyfriend Bails on a Foul Ball and It Hits Girlfriend (Video)

A baseball game is a great place to spend an evening with family, friends, or a significant other.  Up at the major league level it’s a little pricey, but if you poke around on the Internet, you can find a good enough deal to make a trip to the ballpark more than worth your while.

Depending on when you get there and where your seats are, there’s a chance you may even walk out of the stadium with a souvenir baseball courtesy of a foul ball or a friendly ball boy.

One of the more exciting prospects of going to a ballgame is the possibility of catching a foul ball or a home run.  I’m not entirely sure why, because nearly every ball that a fan catches is worthless.  Sure, maybe you catch a record-breaking home run ball or some player’s first career jack that they’re willing to swap for an autograph or two, but for the most part, the thrill of the foul ball is in the catch itself.

The other day, a Houston fan identified only as Beau took his girlfriend out to the see the Astros take on the division-leading Braves.  He scored some pretty nice seats down the left field line, prime real estate for foul balls.  

And wouldn’t you know it, in the fourth inning a Houston player loops a line drive down the left field line and right at the happy couple.  The young man stands up in front of his girlfriend…and ducks out of the way at the last minute, letting the ball hit her squarely on the arm.

What a gentleman.

As you can see in the video, his first instinct after the young lady gets hit is to dive under the seats for the ball, which he hangs on to for dear life and doesn’t show any indication of handing it to his girl.

This guy takes a young lady to a ballgame and bails on a foul ball so that she takes the hit instead of him.  Real chivalrous, Captain Cool.  We regularly see fans at ballparks across America sacrificing their bodies, beers, and brats for a chance at a foul ball.  Beau sacrificed his girlfriend.

Maybe he was concerned that the tilt of his hat remained unchanged or that by protecting his girlfriend he would leave what appears to be a dead rat carcass on his chin unprotected.  Whatever his reasoning, at least he got a fantastic story to tell at his fraternity’s next beer pong tournament.

The young couple ended up getting interviewed by FSN’s field reporter and the girl didn’t sound all that enthusiastic about her man’s performance.  His excuse was that he lost it in the lights, but that’s a cheap cop out.  Matt Holliday found out that that excuse doesn’t always fly in last season’s NLDS against the Dodgers.  

The reporter also completed Beau’s “Loser Ensemble” by outfitting him with a pair of over-sized white sunglasses to help with the glare, which he promptly put on despite it being a night game.  I can almost smell the three cans of Axe that he used before picking up little miss sunshine before the game.

Rule No. 44 from NCIS is “First things first—hide the women and children.”  That applies as much to foul balls as it does to war and natural disasters.

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New York Yankees: Bullpen Resurgence Integral for World Series Repeat

With the way that the game has changed over the past few decades, relief pitching has become a substantially more integral part of baseball.

In the age of inning limits, pitch counts and match-ups, starters aren’t pitching as deep into games as was once the norm.  A bad bullpens can turn a decent team into a mediocre ones and a great bullpen can solidify a good team as a serious playoff contender.

For the first half of the season, the Yankees struggled with consistency once the starting pitcher exited the game.  Aside from Mariano Rivera, there was no reliever that inspired that much confidence in coaches, teammates or fans.

Chan Ho Park got off on the wrong foot and never righted himself.  Joba Chamberlain was handed the main setup gig and quickly lost it.  David Robertson looked nothing like the guy he was in the 2009 playoffs.  Sergio Mitre and Chad Gaudin were both serviceable long men, but nothing special.

The Yankees were burning through relievers left and right and we saw a few cameos from the likes of Jonathan Albaladejo, Rumulo Sanchez, Mark Melancon and Ivan Nova.

But the volatile nature of relievers came into play and changed the course of the Yankee bullpen sometime in June.  One by one, the New York relievers started putting it together.

After posting a 7.31 in his first eighteen appearances, David Robertson fixed something and has been a reliable late-inning strikeout machine since June rolled around.  In his last 23 appearances, he’s allowed five runs in 23.2 innings (1.92 ERA) with 28 strikeouts.

Boone Logan held a respectable ERA of 3.93 when he was optioned to Triple-A in favor of Dustin Moseley, but his peripherals were not as impressive.  He had a 13:12 strikeout-to-walk ratio and had allowed 20 hits in 18.1 innings.  

He spent two weeks in Triple-A and obviously figured something out as he’s allowed just one run (1.04 ERA) and three hits in ten games since being recalled.  He has also improved his K:BB ratio, having struck out eight and walked only one in 8.2 innings.

Joba Chamberlain went through a stretch from July 10-25 in which he allowed runs in four of five outings and was relieved of his eighth inning duties.  Since then, he’s tossed 7.1 scoreless innings allowing two hits while walking three and striking out six.  

All six of those appearances have come against divisional foes Tampa Bay, Boston and Toronto. There’s still improvements to be made, but there has certainly been progress.

The biggest wild card of all in regards to the New York bullpen could be trade deadline acquisition Kerry Wood.  Having alternated bouts of ineffectiveness with stints on the disabled list, Cleveland was more than willing to almost give away their high-priced veteran reliever.

The Yankees decided that his still electric stuff was worth a shot and acquired him to provide another late-inning option for Joe Girardi.  Having posted a 6.30 ERA in 23 games with Cleveland, Wood has looked marginally better since switching his Cleveland duds for the Yankee Pinstripes.

In 4.1 innings, Wood has allowed only one run (coming on a solo home run) while issuing three walks and striking out seven.  He hasn’t been perfect, but he’s been better and the Yankees believe they can continue to harness Wood’s arsenal to make him a weapon late in games.

As unpredictable as relievers are, with Mariano being almost the only exception, the New York relief situation could change overnight.  But considering the recent improvements made by the current relievers, and with the prospects of healthy returns from guys like Al Aceves and Damaso Marte, the bridge to Rivera is looking increasingly more secure.


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Nick Swisher: From Chicago Garbage to New York Gold

Nick Swisher arrived in New York rather unheralded, acquired from the White Sox after the 2008 season for seldom-used infielder Wilson Betemit and two throwaway prospects.

He had allegedly worn out his welcome in Chicago after only one season, having alienated manager Ozzie Guillen and suffered through a career-worst .219/.332/.410 season.

But the surface numbers don’t adequately tell the tale of Swisher’s 2008 campaign.

2008 is the only season in Swisher’s career in which he posted an OPS+ of under 100. Despite the lesser numbers, many of Swisher’s peripheral stats remained within normal ranges.

He still managed 24 home runs while keeping his walk and strikeout rates around his career average.  His isolated power was still a very respectable .191 and his line drive rate of 20.9% was a career high.

The main detractor from his season was a career-low BABIP, or batting average of balls in play.  Having enjoyed a BABIP of .280 his first four seasons in the league, Swisher saw that number drop to .249 during his only season with Chicago.

Using all of this information leads us to conclude that the best explanation for Swisher’s disappointing season was simple bad luck.

He was consistently making solid contact and hitting for power, but his batting average dipped nearly 30 points below his established number.

Add in the fact that Guillen played him out of position and shuffled him around the batting order and Swisher might having been begging to get out of Chicago.

Brian Cashman moved a few weeks before Thanksgiving 2008, sending Betemit along with minor league pitchers Jhonny Nunez and Jeff Marquez to Chicago for Swisher and relief prospect Kanekoa Texeira.

This was over a month before the Yankees would go on their massive shopping spree, locking up CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Mark Teixeira.

With the expiration of incumbent first baseman Jason Giambi’s mammoth contract, the Yankees needed to find a replacement, and Swisher was it for nearly two months.  

Cashman traded for Swisher with full intentions of using him as the Yankees’ everyday first baseman.

When Mark Teixeira fell into their laps two weeks after Christmas, Swisher was relegated to fourth outfielder status behind Johnny Damon, Melky Cabrera, and Xavier Nady.

However, barely a week into the season, Nady suffered an elbow injury that he attempted to rehab but ultimately required season-ending Tommy John surgery.

Nady’s injury thrust Swisher into a starting role that he probably should have had all along.  Swisher took off and carried the team early in 2009, posting a .312/.430/.714 line in April while Alex Rodriguez recovered from hip surgery and Mark Teixeira suffered through his annual slow start.

Swisher suffered through a brutal stretch in May before evening out over the course of the season.  He enjoyed his best season to date in 2009, posting career highs in slugging, OPS, isolated power and wOBA (weighted on-base average).  And unsurprisingly, saw his BABIP rebound to a more reasonable .272.

2010 has seen Swisher take his game to another level, and he is on pace for another career-best season.  His walk rate is down 4 percent from his career average, but he’s made up for it by adding over 40 points in batting average.  

As much as his work with hitting instructor Kevin Long makes for a nice narrative, the results back up those stories.

So what can Yankee fans expect from Swisher moving forward?  Most likely more of the same guy we’ve seen since the trade to New York. 

His high average in 2010 is fueled by a higher BABIP than normal, but his power continues to develop, which is not uncommon for players in their prime years.

We may see his average regress a little in the future, but the power and patience remain strengths.

The trade that netted the Yankees their all-star outfielder was part salary dump and part “change of scenery” move by Chicago.  

There were rumors that he was unsettling in the clubhouse and his performance had dropped off throughout the season enough to warrant multiple concerns.

Cashman acquired him for three players who haven’t made much of an impact on the field for Chicago.

Betemit accrued 45 at-bats in 2009 before Chicago designated him for assignment to make room for stud prospect Gordon Beckham.

Marquez has posted a 5.77 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP in two seasons for Chicago’s Triple-A affiliate, while going 10-12.

Nunez has spent a majority of his time shuttling between Double-A and Triple-A while experiencing varying degrees of success, and has a 9.53 ERA in seven games for the White Sox.

Nick Swisher the Yankee has been entertaining, highly productive and an absolute asset to the overall team environment.  

In those regards, he’s been almost the polar opposite of what he was perceived to be in Chicago.  But as for most of his numbers, he’s been the same player this whole time, except with a little bit of luck.

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Alex Rodriguez: Is 600 Home Runs A Big Deal?

Is 600 a big deal?

That was the question posed by ESPN’s morning edition of SportsCenter the day following Alex Rodriguez’s historic home run.  Performance enhancing drugs or not, 600 home runs by one individual player most certainly is a big deal. 

Of the thousands of players to play the game, Alex Rodriguez is only the seventh player to accumulate that many home runs.  That’s a smaller percentage of players than have recorded 3,000 hits, won triple crowns, or pitched perfect games.

It’s an incredible accomplishment that is definitely a big deal.  Whether you believe the number is tainted or not, Alex Rodriguez has hit 600 major league home runs, which is more than all but six individuals ever to play the game.  And he’s only 35.

There have been plenty of high-end sluggers that also used PEDs that never reached the milestone Rodriguez did on Wednesday.  Mark McGuire never hit his 600th home run.  Same for Rafael Palmeiro.  Hitting 600 home runs requires remarkable skill and longevity. 

Even though MLB has seen the 600 home runs club more than double in size over the past decade, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to attain such status.  In the era of pitch counts, innings limits, and relief specialists, it is not uncommon for a hitter to face multiple pitchers in one game.

A longer and more extensive travel schedule also plays into the fact that the game is harder now than it ever was.  And what about home runs that Rodriguez hit off of pitchers that were using some sort of performance enhancer?  Using the logic applied to Rodriguez, those home runs should count for more.

I am not defending A-Rod’s decision to use performance enhancing drugs, nor will I ever.  PEDs have no place in a game where natural ability is more than adequate.  But to question the significance of a player that has entered one of baseball’s most exclusive clubs, naturally or with a little help from some friends (or cousins) is juvenile and a sign of extreme immaturity.

Alex Rodriguez has entered a rarefied air only seen by six other major league baseball players.  However he got there, it’s a big deal.

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How The Yankees New Additions Fit And What’s Next For Who They Replaced

The Yankees were among the busiest teams at the trade deadline yesterday, significantly changing their roster in hopes of another World Series title.

Each new player coming in will have a role to play, while the players they’re replacing will move on to different things themselves.

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Adam Dunn and the New York Yankees Would Be a Perfect Match

It’s become a rite of summer.  If a major league team has an available player at the trade deadline, he’ll be connected to the Yankees somehow, whether he makes sense for New York or not.

So it comes as no surprise that the Yankees have been connected to just about every available player at this year’s trade deadline.  They’ve made known offers for Cliff Lee and Dan Haren and have made inquiries about several other players they view as upgrades.

One player that hasn’t been overwhelmingly rumored to be a Yankee target is Washington first baseman Adam Dunn.  Aside from a few Buster Olney tweets, Dunn-to-New York rumors have been nearly nonexistent.  

Dunn is in the last year of a two-year contract and will be a free agent at year’s end. The Nationals have expressed interest in resigning the prodigious slugger, but with less than three days before the trade deadline, they’ve yet to offer him an extension.  

With each day, it looks less and less likely that the Nationals and Dunn will eventually come to terms on an extension.  Because of this supposed impasse, it makes sense for Washington to get player value for him now rather than lose him for nothing but draft picks in the offseason.

Dunn’s bat would obviously play well in any Major League lineup, but the Yankees have the opening and opportunity to acquire the perennial 40-homer Dunn.  

For all intents and purposes, Nick Johnson is gone for the season.  In his absence, the Yankees have been using a combination of Juan Miranda and Marcus Thames in the DH spot, occasionally giving their regulars a half-day as the designated hitter.  

Thames and Miranda are better suited as bench players at this point in their respective careers, and using Alex Rodriguez or Jorge Posada in the DH role means that Ramiro Pena and Francisco Cervelli are getting more at bats than they should.

Acquiring Adam Dunn would make the league’s best offense even more formidable and give the lineup a more consistent look. He’s hit 40 home runs in four of the past five seasons, and hasn’t hit less than 38 since 2003. He consistently posts high on-base percentages, and when kept out of the field, he becomes even more valuable to his team.

I’m not overly familiar with the Nationals farm system, so I can’t accurately assume what type of package they’d want in return for Dunn.  Washington GM Mike Rizzo has said that it would take an overwhelming offer to pry Dunn away, but that was before his team fell 15 games back in the National League East.

The Yankees certainly have the pieces to make a deal for Dunn, and GM Brian Cashman has shown a willingness to include just about any prospect in the right deal.  Dunn isn’t the type of player that would require the Yankees to part ways with uber-prospect Jesus Montero or even his second-fiddle Austin Romine.

The Yankees have a stable full of low-ceiling, high-probability arms sitting in Triple-A and Double-A and could start their offer with a pitcher along the lines of Ivan Nova, Zach McAllister or Hector Noesi.  

The Yankees could continue to build a package around one of those pitchers by adding a hitter like someone along the lines of SS Eduardo Nunez (AAA) 3B Brandon Laird (AA) or 2B David Adams (AA), all of whom are enjoying nice seasons for their respective teams.

A package with one of those pitchers, one of those hitters and maybe another low-level prospect or two would be comparable to what Dunn was traded for the last time he found himself on the block.

Many Yankee fans find themselves overly attached to prospects within the farm system, but part of a prospect’s value is that he can be used to acquire a player that more readily impacts the major league team.  

The Yankees have done a good job in the past five years developing depth at multiple positions so that they can deal for a player like Adam Dunn and not completely decimate the farm system.

Do the Yankees need Adam Dunn?  Almost certainly not—they have the majors’ highest scoring offense, and that has carried them to the major’s best record over the first four months.  

But adding a bat of Dunn’s caliber to an already potent lineup would undoubtedly add some serious pop and would limit the number of plate appearances that inferior hitters would otherwise see.

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Is Cliff Lee to Texas the Right Move?

Only moments after pulling out of an “imminent” deal with New York for lefty ace Cliff Lee, Seattle has reportedly agreed to send Lee along with reliever Mark Lowe to Texas in exchange for first baseman Justin Smoak and three other prospects.

We’ll have to wait and see who the three other prospects are, but this is still a strange move for the Rangers regardless.

With severe financial troubles, the Rangers will be hard pressed to resign Cliff Lee to an extension following the season, so he is most likely a three-month rental.  With the Mariners sending cash that will cover some but not all of Lee’s remaining salary, one might question the Rangers taking on salary when their current financial position does not lend themselves to do so.

With MLB subsidizing the Texas Rangers, is taking on more salary really the smartest idea?

He undoubtedly improves the team, but does his acquisition alone turn the Rangers into a serious World Series contender?  Already the top team in their division, does Lee’s arrival put them on par with New York and Tampa Bay?

Another questionable part of the trade is the fact that Texas will be moving four young pieces within their own division.  Since they made the move, three months of Cliff Lee is obviously worth the twenty-some cost-controlled years they’re giving up in young talent.

Adding one of the game’s best pitchers can’t really be considered a bad move for any team, but a good move isn’t necessarily the right one.

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Yankees Miss On Cliff Lee: Mariners Reportedly Pull Out Of Pending Deal

A rumored deal that would send Mariner’s star lefty Cliff Lee to the Yankees for top prospect Jesus Montero, along with infielder David Adams and pitcher Zach McAlister, is apparently off.

The Mariners have allegedly balked due to concerns over David Adams bad ankle, which he injured breaking up a double play while at Double-A Trenton about a month ago.

Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik will almost certainly move his All-Star starter. But with more than three weeks left until the trade deadline, Zduriencik will take his time to find the best offer.

It may be difficult for him to land a prospect better than the Yankees’ Montero. A unanimous top five prospect at the beginning of the season, Montero has fought his way through a tough adjustment to the Triple-A level and doubts about his ability to remain at catcher long-term.

As a 20-year old, Montero is one of the youngest players at his level, so his offensive struggles can be understood. And while his defense has improved, many scouts still see him eventually moving off the position. All that said, Montero’s offensive potential is worth quite a lot.

The Rangers are rumored to have intensified their pursuit of Lee, but with their financial troubles, they’re in no position to add salary. Unless Seattle agrees to pay Lee’s entire salary in return for more and better prospects, a deal with Texas is unlikely.

The Reds are also rumored to be going all-out to acquire Lee. But Yonder Alonso, the seventh overall pick in 2008, hasn’t impressed much with the bat or glove this season and has some alarming red flags.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman kept his negotiations with Seattle close to the chest and preferred to strike a deal quickly, while Seattle had other ideas.

Zduriencik should absolutely explore all his options for trading Lee. But if the Yankees offer was for a limited-time only, he may regret turning it down.  

With three weeks left until the trade deadline, he has plenty of time to shop around, and play one offer against another.

But the chance to acquire a top five prospect isn’t something he’s likely to find elsewhere.

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