What would a trade deadline be without the New York Yankees getting involved?
After kicking the tires on pitchers Cliff Lee and Dan Haren, the Yankees decided to go in a different direction on Friday by adding some offense. The Yankees on Friday acquired 1B Lance Berkman from the Houston Astros for Mark Melancon and Jimmy Paredes. Then they traded for OF Austin Kearns for the ever-so-popular player to be named later, or PTBNL, as all the cool kids say.
First, let’s talk about the Berkman move because that is the more significant move.
The last couple of days have had to been hard on Astros’ owner Drayton McLane. He has traded his two prized sons over the span of 48 hours. It’s good though that he has realized that the only way the Astros are going to get better in the future is trading their veterans who have value and getting younger.
Despite hitting .245, which is the lowest of his career, Berkman does have a .365 OBP and should fit in nicely into the Yankees’ lineup. He will serve as the primary DH, a spot in the Yankees’ lineup that has been a black hole ever since Nick Johnson went down with a wrist injury.
You have to figure that Berkman will DH against righties moving forward. He has an .874 OPS against righties this year, which is over 300 points higher than it is against lefties. It seems like the days of Berkman being a legit switch-hitter are over. Against a righty, here is what I think the Yankees’ lineup should look like…
1. Derek Jeter
2. Lance Berkman
3. Mark Teixeira
4. Alex Rodriguez
5. Robinson Cano
6. Jorge Posada
7. Curtis Granderson
8. Nick Swisher
9. Brett Gardner
It’s a good thing the Yankees don’t need an All-Star at every position. That lineup is lethal. If Berkman is DHing against righties, then perhaps Kearns will DH against left-handed pitching.
Kearns was having a decent season in Cleveland, putting up a .272/.354/.419 hitting line with eight home runs in 301 AB’s. Kearns got off to a great start to the season, hitting .372 in April, but has really tailed off since. He has been around .250 consistently since his hot April.
Kearns could potentially serve as replacement for Curtis Granderson against lefties and, like I mentioned before, a right-handed DH to spell Berkman.
The two prospects the Yankees gave up are nothing special.
Melancon is a 25-year-old who had brief stints with the Yankees this year and last year. The right-hander had a 3.67 ERA in Triple-A this year with 9.3 K/9. Baseball America ranked Melancon 15th among all Yankees prospects before the season, citing his closer’s mentality and strong makeup.
Paredes, 21, is a switch-hitting infielder who has played second, short, and third. He has stolen 36 bases in 46 attempts at A ball this year and has a .282/.312/.408 line.
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