Yankee's bad luck could be Sox boon 3-way trade could overhaul lineup
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By Phil Rogers Tribune baseball reporter
January 30, 2004
Aaron Boone's basketball jones could turn out to be a good thing for the White Sox.
While the New York Yankees don't know yet how much time Boone will miss from the knee he injured playing basketball, the likelihood is they will have to replace him. The Sox have two ways to fill the need, both involving shortstop Jose Valentin and achieving management's goal of creating a little payroll flexibility.
Health concerns involving a couple of players involved in talks could put these scenarios on hold until spring training, but talks could heat up as soon as the Yankees get a read on Boone. With some risk-taking, it's possible Ozzie Guillen's lineup could be overhauled drastically in the near future, if not by the end of the SoxFest festivities this weekend.
One simple possibility: Valentin goes to the Yankees for prospects and the defensively gifted Juan Uribe becomes a regular. The group of players available from New York includes left-handed-hitting outfielder Bubba Crosby and Triple-A pitchers Ramon Ramirez, Jorge DePaula and Scott Proctor.
It is the complicated scenario, however, that is the most interesting: Valentin and Paul Konerko go to Anaheim, Troy Glaus (recovering from a torn right rotator cuff) goes to New York and left-hander Jarrod Washburn and center fielder Darin Erstad (limited to 67 games last year from hamstring problems) come to Chicago. The Yankees would send prospects, possibly including top minor-leaguers like infielders Joaquin Arias and Robinson Cano, to both the White Sox and Angels.
Valentin and Konerko for Washburn and Erstad is essentially a cash-neutral proposition. But there are several ways this deal could be expanded, with one of them being that the White Sox insist on the Yankees taking Billy Koch's $6.375-million salary.
While the New York payroll would climb, the hit isn't out of the question if the Yankees decline to pay Boone, who violated the terms of his contract by playing basketball.
Anaheim reportedly is willing to move Glaus, who like Erstad played a huge role in the 2002 World Series. It has third-base prospect Dallas McPherson coming and isn't likely to sign Glaus to the extension that would keep him beyond 2004, not with Vladimir Guerrero in the lineup.
There's nobody the Yankees could get who would be better than Glaus. But general manager Brian Cashman almost certainly would need to go through a third team because New York doesn't have a third baseman to send Anaheim.
Valentin is the perfect bridge piece. He was surprisingly solid at third base when Jerry Manuel used him there for 149 games in 2001 and '02, showing above-average range. His left-handed bat seems suited for Yankee Stadium. He and Shane Halter would make at least an adequate third-base platoon in Anaheim, or he could split time with Miguel Cairo or Erick Almonte in New York.
If Williams can pull off either of these deals, in particular one moving Konerko to Anaheim, the upside potential is great. The White Sox have lost some big pieces off their 2003 team but essentially are handing Guillen the same flawed nucleus that failed Manuel.
It could be time for a real shakeup, not just another fine-tuning of the group that has averaged 83 victories the last three seasons.
Uribe, a failed regular in Colorado, is only 24 but has played 314 big-league games. He has Gold Glove skills in the field and some power, though needs to improve his hitting.
Sound familiar? That was the scouting report on Florida's Alex Gonzalez before Guillen arrived as a coach to push him.
The White Sox and Angels have been talking about trades all winter but don't match up well because both want to move high-salaried players. But they could make a deal with the Yankees' help.
Here's how the Sox could look if they did a Valentin-Konerko for Erstad-Washburn (or another pitcher, such as Ramon Ortiz or John Lackey) deal:
1B--Carlos Lee (some in the organization believe he would be above-average defensively if he moved from left field; 2B--Willie Harris; SS--Uribe; 3B--Joe Crede; LF--Aaron Rowand; CF--Erstad; RF--Magglio Ordonez; Rotation--Mark Buehrle, Esteban Loaiza, Washburn (or Ortiz or Lackey), Jon Garland and Scott Schoeneweis.
That team would not have to rely as heavily on run production as the current model because it would have better starting pitching and be upgraded significantly in the field. It still would have Frank Thomas, Ordonez and Lee to provide firepower with Erstad providing a presence that has been lacking through the years.
Sure, Erstad is a risk. He's owed $24 million over the next three years--the same basic value as the Konerko contract but for an additional year. There's no guarantee he will stay healthy.
His .344 career on-base percentage was fattened considerably during his career year in 2000, when he hit .355 with a .409 OBP. But he brings a fierce presence the White Sox have been lacking.
Things are going to be different under Guillen, but he appears to need more help than Williams has been able to give.
as a yankee fan i would do the glaus trade in a heartbeat. i dont know much about the IF prospects we'd be sending, but it would be worth it to get glaus. i believe that glaus is in the last year of his deal, meaning he would have to play well to get the big money he thinks he deserves.
kentx12 wrote:The rich get richer. Dont Yankee fans get sick of just bying up everything. Oh well, I guess it wont last too much longer since they have no talented minor leaguers left to trade.
Glass houses, boy. Didn't your beloved Astros just buy 2/5 of their starting rotation? I also don't want to hear about how the Yankees do it more. That's like someone who drinks a 6 pack a day telling someone that drinks 10 a day that they drink too much. Whether you like it or not, the Yankees do what they feel they need to do to win and it is well within the rules. Fault the rules and not them.