« Cory Lidle | Main | 23 or 51? »

July 27, 2006

Aaron Cook

I wonder what the Yankees would do if the Rockies offered them Aaron Cook in exchange for Philip Hughes.

Basically, Aaron Cook is Chien-Ming Wang - just a year older.

Both Cook and Wang are extreme ground-ball machines. And, since Wang is doing so well in New York, it would make sense that Cook would do just as well.

Plus, Cook is under contract through 2008 - and cheap.

Would it be worth the potential of Hughes to get a pitcher like Cook, now, who would be another Wang in the rotation this year - and for the two that follow it?

Yes, Hughes can be a potential ace - but, he's yet to pitch in Triple-A.

Back in the early 1990's, the O's had a pitcher in their farm system named Jimmy Haynes. He did great at A-ball, Double-A, and Triple-A. Haynes was picked to be the "next Mike Mussina" by many - he was "can't miss."

Guess what? He missed. He missed really bad.

You never know with pitchers - until they prove that they can pitch at the big league level. Plus, there's the stress factor in New York for Hughes.

Aaron Cook, like "Worm Killer" Wang, has proven that he can pitch in the majors.

Of course, there's the question of "Why would the Rockies do this?" And, that's a fair question - maybe they wouldn't?

Still, it's an interesting question to me, still - if the Yankees could get a young, cheap, proven starting pitcher today, for a deal including Hughes, what would they do?

Posted by Steve Lombardi at July 27, 2006 03:19 PM

Comments

The Yankees would say "no" without second glance if offered Aaron Cook for Phil Hughes.

Posted by: Jeteupthemiddle [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 27, 2006 03:53 PM

Get more sleep, Steve. Or get off that damn crackpipe. Sometimes you write stuff that clearly demonstrates that you're out of your mind. First it was that "Throw Clippard in any deal to block the Sox from getting Lieber," and now this. If the Yankees wanted to trade Hughes, they could have Willis or Zito. They could have Carlos Lee. They could have Soriano. Now you want them to trade him for AARON COOK? This is the worst trade idea I heard all year.

And what significance does it have to mention ONE pitching prospect that failed? There are an equal amount who lived up to the hype and had success. Did Kazmir bomb? Did Verlander? How about Liriano? I can name as many guys that did well that you can name who failed.

Phillip Hughes is THE TOP-RATED RIGHT-HANDED PITCHING PROSPECT IN ALL OF BASEBALL. The best there is. The Yankees shouldn't trade him because he's the guy they always lust after on other teams and can't touch. He could be the best homegrown pitcher in over a decade. Trading him would be the worst decision they could make.

And "Would the Rockies do this?" If they didn't, they'd be insane. Every team in baseball wants Hughes and they'd personally walk whatever player the Yankees wanted straight to the Bronx. Would the Rockies trade Cook for Hughes? That's not even a serious question.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 27, 2006 03:57 PM

Oh, and just for a looksie (yes, bailey, I know that isn't a word also ::wink::) scout.com recently ranked all the prospects.

They put Hughes as 3rd best prospect overall...with Delmon Young and Alex Gordon ranked 1 and 2 respectively.

Perhaps slightly overranked, but the fact that he is even CONSIDERED for such a top spot says something.

http://tinyurl.com/j2aom

Posted by: Jeteupthemiddle [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 27, 2006 04:04 PM

Steve, if it's any consolation, I don't think you're crazy. Cook just had an anuerysm (sp?) 2 yrs ago that almost killed him, so a little pressure in NY would be nothing to him.

I'd have reservation to deal Hughes for him, but that's a deal I'd make 9 out of 10 times. I do think the Yanks could do better than Cook for Hughes though.

Posted by: Mike A. [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 27, 2006 04:12 PM

Mike A., you would trade one of the best pitching prospects in baseball for someone having a just-okay year in the NL? Sorry, but that's crazy.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 27, 2006 04:14 PM

You know, Aaron Cook had a damn good minor league career himself. I'd trade an unknown commodity for a proven big league pitcher any day of the week.

And a 3.88 ERA pitching in Coors qualifies as better than just an okay year to me, especially with Clint Barmes playing "defense" behind the sinkerballer.

Like I said before though, I think the Yanks could do better than Cook for Hughes.

Posted by: Mike A. [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 27, 2006 04:36 PM

FWIW, Cook matches up with Wang - perfectly - in terms of pitching production to date, age, and throwing arm.

If you love Wang, then you should love Cook just as much. They're the same pitcher.

That's why I used him in the example.

If you think Cook sucks - then so does Wang.

Take your pick.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 27, 2006 04:37 PM

Steve, why do you always go outside the line to defend your arguments? Where did I say Cook sucks? I said he's having a just-okay year in the NL (seeing Webb pitch in the NL, with lesser stuff than Wang, I think Wang's ERA would go down a run if he pitched there). I wouldn't trade Hughes for Wang. Or any other pitcher on the staff.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 27, 2006 04:51 PM

Fair enough. Is Wang having a "just OK year" this season? No. Many think Wang is the actual ace of the Yankees staff over the last two years. Isn't an ace worth a prospect - albeit a great prospect?

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 27, 2006 04:57 PM

With all due respect, Mike Mussina is hands down the ace on this team. Given the run support he's had compared to that of RJ and Wang I would say the "Moose" is mos definitely the Ace. Just my 2cents.

Posted by: ynks4life [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 27, 2006 05:02 PM

To me, it comes down to this:

By 2010, Phil Hughes has an excellent chance to be one of the 5 most dominant right-handed pitchers in all of MLB. Hughes will still be very cheap, even if 2010 is his 4th big league season. Best of all, he'll be all of 23 (he'll turn 24 on June 24th of 2010) - which means he could be a dominating pitcher for the entire 2010s.

By 2010, Aaron Cook has an excellent chance of being an average 3rd starter in the bigs, depending very much on the defense behind him. He will be 31 years old, 2 years into free agency and probably not cheap, if GMs keep overpaying for middle of the rotation starters like they have been. If he's still pitching in 2013, I'll be shocked.

Yes, Hughes could flame out - he wouldn't be the first highly-touted prospect to do so. But the odds are that he won't. I'd much rather take a chance on Hughes's upside being what the smart prospect evaluators think it could be, than taking a chance on Aaron Cook. Even if it means the Yanks don't make the playoffs this year.

Posted by: Shaun P. [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 27, 2006 05:15 PM

"If you think Cook sucks - then so does Wang."

I like Cook and I don't object dealing Hughes but I don't understand your leap of logic.

I'd like to have Cook and he's a good pitcher but from things I've read you could get someone even better than Cook in exchange.

Posted by: RICH [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 27, 2006 05:33 PM

Whether Cook is good, bad, or Wang's performance-doppleganger is frankly beside the point. Rich is dead-on when he says that the Yanks "could get someone even better than Cook in exchange." If Philip Hughes gets us an already-established stud player, why would we ever trade him for the likes of Aaron Cook?

That being said, I'm with Bailey on this one. What Hughes has the chance to become is far more valuable than what Cook is right now. I'd rather take the risk of flopping with Hughes in 2 years than throw it away and potentially endure another Scott Kazmir scenario in NY. The Mets "took one for the team" if you will by showing us how ridiculously stupid it is to trade a guy that can be a #1 starter for a win-now mentality with a guy of average ilk.

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 27, 2006 07:08 PM

A package including Hughes would [probably] get you Dontrelle Willis. That's the way to go, if possible.

Ty Clippard in a package might be okay to get Cook. Clippard is on a roll in AA. I suspect he's added a few MPH to his fastball, something he has done the past several seasons, as he has matured physically.

In neither instance should Tabata be included in any package.

Posted by: Don [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 27, 2006 07:09 PM

I love the blog, Steve, and one reason for that is that we're alike, we think aloud. The thinking-out-loud quality is what makes this the most fun Yankee blog.

That being said, I wouldn't do this. The thing is, that I'm still not entirely sold on Wang's long-term success. I would be shocked if Wang ever comes close to a Cy Young Award. In general, I think that K/9 rate is very, very important and I would take that into account with regard to rejecting this trade idea.

Posted by: jonm [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 27, 2006 08:48 PM

Steve, your right that young prospects (really of any positions) are often hard to predict, for example, Melky Cabrera is doing a lot better than we thought he could already.

But I think this wouldn't make too much sense. it's a gamble either way, Cook is a decent pitcher, but you also have no idea what he'll do in the bronx... let's see .. if all chances are equal say...

You did the deal and..

1.Hughes sucked and Cook rocked : you get praised

2.they both sucked: you still get criticized

3.Hughes rocked and Cook sucks : bye bye Cashman

If you didn't do this deal.

1.Hughes sucked and Cook rocked: just another overhyped prospect.

2.they both sucked: ditto above

3.Hughes rocked and cook sucked: your a genius

Also, Hughes probably be ready sometime next or the season after. I think we can wait. We've done enough silly trades already.

Posted by: Yu Hsing Chen [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 27, 2006 09:59 PM

i like wang a lot. i do think he has the potential to win a cy young (granted with a better INF D). he neevr gives up HRs, and gets a lot of DPs.

however, trading for a POSSIBLE wang-like pitcher with hughes is out of the question. (despite pitching in COL, moving to the AL is a big jump.)

hughes is the #3 prospect in all baseball, the #1 pitcher. the yanks havent had a dominant pitcher in the prime of his carerr maybe since guidry. the upside is too great to give away for a 3rd starter.

Posted by: 98Yanks [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 27, 2006 11:08 PM

I guess this conversation is getting old, and I hate to keep piling on poor Steve (who I really think wrote this, as someone else said, "thinking out loud"), but I took a closer look at Cook's numbers this year and his career numbers and -- ugh! -- they are UGLY.

This year in 139 innings, he's given up 162 hits. His WHIP is 1.41. And the league is hitting nearly .300 against him. And he can't get out lefties: they have 97 hits in 71 innings, 7 home runs, and hit well over .300 against him.

And his career numbers are even uglier. I don't think his numbers square up with Wang's at all. It's really hard to compare these guys since Cook worked out of the bullpen, had a few truncated seasons, and with Wang we're basing everything on half a season last year and half a season this year. But just looking at the numbers, it seems that Wang is actually a much better pitcher. Cook is average.

Looking into his numbers further, the idea of trading Hughes for him seems even more outlandish. The best pitching prospect in baseball for some run-of-the-mill right-handed sinkerballer?

The Trenton Thunder game had a rain delay tonight. So Hughes only pitched four innings. He gave up one run, two hits, one walk... and eight strikeouts. Yeah, let's keep him around.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 27, 2006 11:58 PM

Re: Cook's numbers - you have to adjust them for the park and league. Trust me, he and Wang are equal in terms of pitching results.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 28, 2006 08:00 AM

bailey, Wang has given up 150 hits in 139 innings... not that different. His WHIP is 1.39... not that different. The League is hitting .280 off of him... a little better, but still not an outlandish comparison. I'd imagine if the stats were adjusted for park, Wang and Cook would indeed look similar.

I do agree with you that trading Hughes for another Wang is a terrible idea. Steve makes an false dichotomy in one of his comments, saying, basically "like the trade, or else you think Wang sucks." That's not true at all, I don't like the trade, and I enjoy having Wang on the team. What the pitching staff does not need is two pitchers of Wang's type, especially with the poor defense the Yankees trot (or limp) onto the field. Instead, it seems like this trade idea is Steve's backhanded way of insulting Wang.

As J.P. Riccardi said recently, "There's only one pitcher in baseball I'd trade Philip Hughes for, and that's Johan Santana."

Posted by: mehmattski [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 28, 2006 08:08 AM

Hey, I love Wang. That's why I wish the Yankees could get another one like him.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 28, 2006 09:27 AM

I like having a mix of pitchers. I'd rather have a young fireballer and a young sinkerballer rather than two young sinkerballers, especially if they follow each other in the rotation (and in the postseason, usually there's a three man rotation).

Posted by: rbj [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 28, 2006 09:58 AM