Sports Outside the Beltway

More Yankee moves: Doug Mientkiewicz in, Randy Johnson out

I guess I’ll have to learn to spell his name, because Minky’s now a Yankee. Although the Yanks were looking for a right-handed 1b, Mientkiewicz is probably the best remaining overall option. At 32, he’s still a very good defensive 1b, and can swing the stick a little. Last season he went (surprisingly): .283/.359/.411 in 314 ab (and hits LHP better than RHP). His career OPS+ is an average 99. But his glovework is where he excels. Compared to an average 1b, he has saved 17 runs during his career (including a Gold Glove in 2001), but allowed 6 more runs last year. Still, he was tied for the 5th best Fielding % at 1b last year, 9th in Range Factor, 3rd in Zone Rating, 15th in Model of Range, 2nd in ‘Runs Saved,’ 1st in John Dewan’s +/-, and among the best in ‘Stude’s Fielding Awards.’ With the variable throws of Jeter and (particularly) Arod, D-Mint (that’s easier to type) will save a lot of runs, and be especially loved by ‘Worm-Killer’ Wang. Even if he doesn’t hit a lick, his D will be solid. And he can always be replaced by Phelps, Phillips, or a transitioned OFer if he completely bombs. (Hat tip to Steve Lombardi for ‘Worm-Killer.’)

It seems the Randy trade is finally done too. Apparently the Yanks are getting 4 decent to good players in return: RP Luiz Vizcaino (the only MLer), SP Ross Ohlendorf, SS Alberto Gonzalez, and SP Steven Jackson. The latter 3 are ranked 18-20 by John Sickels’ evaluation of Arizona’s farm system. The reason the Yanks aren’t getting a top 10 prospect is because they’re paying just $2 million of RJ’s ($16 million) 2007 contract. Gonzalez is rated the 8th best Arizona prospect by Top Prospect Alert.

In case you are worried about losing the Unit, look what he did against some of the Yanks top competition in his time here (2005-06).
vs. Boston, 61 ip, 4.87 era, 1.51 whip
vs. Toronto, 23 ip, 9.00 era, 2.17 whip
vs. Tampa Bay, 39.1 ip, 7.55 era, 1.58 whip
vs. Mets, 24.1 ip, 7.03 era, 1.68 whip

And there are his declining stats (all of which have declined the past 3 years: pitches/inning, OPS against, k/9, bb/9, k/bb, ERA, WHIP).

Not to mention the fact that he recently had back surgery and could miss the first month of the season.

Now to the players coming back.
RH reliever Luis Vizcaino (age 32) – career: 4.24 ERA, 103 ERA+, 2.3 k/bb, 138 PRAR, 4.07 DERA, 4 STF. 2006: 3.58 ERA, 133 ERA+, 2.5 k/bb, 34 PRAR, 3.19 DERA, 20 STF. Surprisingly, righties fare much better against Luis, .748 OPSA RHB & .710 OPSA LHB (in his career). Arizona is also a poor pitcher’s park (a good sign).

SS Alberto Gonzalez (23) – career (328 minor league games, highest AAA Tucson): 1120 ab, .283/.339/.386, 129 k, 74 bb, 26 sb, 13 cs. Reports say that Gonzalez is an exceptional defensive player, and could player any IF position. His Plays Above Average (per 150 games) is 30, which is very good.

RH starter Ross Ohlendorf (24) – career (368.2 ip in the minors, highest AAA Tucson): 3.76 era, 3.1 k/bb, 1.32 whip.

RH starter Steven Jackson (24) – career (342 ip in the minors, highest AA Tennessee): 4.05 era, 2.2 k/bb, 1.42 whip.

If you glance at that Baseball Analysts article, it’s promising for the future defense of the Yanks. Four Bronx prospects, in fact, made the list of ‘best minor league defenders,’ including 3 in the top spots for their position (Tim Battle in RF, Mario Holmann at 2b, and Ramiro Pena at SS).

Other sources: Baseball Musings.

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