The Yankees unloaded Brian Bruney to the Nationals and received a player to be named later in the deal that happened to be whomever the Nationals take with their first overall pick in the Rule 5 draft.
The draft takes place at the winter meetings tomorrow. It is quite possible that the Yankees trade this pick , since they don't usually take part in the Rule 5.
I would still like to see the Yankees hold onto it and try to make something of it. Cashman definitely has a few people in mind, and if he can get a player who sticks, I'd be very impressed with his maneuvering.
Remember, Brian Bruney was claimed off waivers from the Diamondbacks, so the Yankees didn't even give anything up for him. In return, they got a few serviceable innings out of Bruney and now the possibility to add someone who they can keep under team control for six seasons.
Even though the Yankees could trade the pick, it's definitely worth running down the top names available. Mike Axisa over at RAB ran down a few candidates , but there are definitely some other options, too.
With the addition of Curtis Granderson and the absurd number of utility infielders on the roster, I can't see the Yankees taking anyone who isn't a pitcher. I think that this is even more so the case with Phil Coke and Brian Bruney gone.
Yohan Pino is the name I've been hearing the most, and for good reason. As a stat guy, it's hard not to be impressed with the results he got in 2009.
In 127 innings, Pino struck out 8.6 per nine while walking only 2.1 per nine. That's an extremely impressive rate.
He's a bit older than your normal prospect at 26, but has already had success at Triple-A. Not many Rule 5 candidates can say that; I wonder why the Indians chose not to protect him.
It could be that Pino doesn't have overpowering stuff, so they're concerned with how that would transfer to the big leagues. But Pino gets by with good secondary pitches and outstanding command.
His fastball sits in the high 80s and reaches 91 on a good day, but he can really throw it where he wants to. He stands out with his curveball and slider, which both generate swings and misses.
Pino actually reminds me quite a bit of Ian Kennedy. He doesn't have a high ceiling but I don't think there's much doubt that he'll be a useful major league pitcher.
If the Yankees want to add extra pitching depth to replace Kennedy, this is the guy they should take. Out of everyone in the draft, he probably has the most polish and the best chance at sticking in the majors.
Caminero is 22 and has not pitched above A-ball. Even pitching in the low levels, he hasn't had tremendous success.
Pitchers who walk over five batters per nine in A-ball as a reliever, like Caminero did in 2009, usually don't have major league careers. The kicker here is that Caminero struck out 13.5 batters per nine innings. Now, this number is a bit inflated since he was facing so many batters per nine innings, but it's still damn impressive.
The reason the Yankees would be interested in Caminero is his pure stuff. His fastball sits 95-98 and he has a hard slider that could turn into a plus pitch but is very inconsistent right now.
Caminero has closer upside, but has a long way to go. I think it would be very difficult for the Yankees of all teams to hide him in the bullpen for the entire 2010 season.
Between these two pitchers, I think Yohan Pino makes the most sense for the Yankees. He doesn't have the upside of Caminero, but has a significantly better chance of being a solid contributor over the next few seasons. Caminero's stuff is tantalizing, but he is nowhere near major-league ready and would have to almost miraculously improve to be even replacement level in 2010.
If the Yankees think they can hide him all season long and then send him down in 2011, he'd make the most sense. If not, I'd like to see the Yankees take Pino and give themselves some extra pitching depth.