Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Emptying the Clip

I've got a bad feeling about this. No, I haven't heard any news about Johan Santana, but I did hear about the trade that the Yanks made yesterday--Tyler Clippard gets dealt to the hyperactive Washington Nationals (seriously, can we get Jim Bowden a sedative, or else just keep him away from sugar?) for righthanded reliever Jonathan Albaladejo. I might be overreacting, but I wonder if this is the first domino falling in a cycle where the Yanks unload a good deal of their cache of young pitchers.

Not that Albaladejo's an old man. He just turned 25, which makes him about 2 1/2 years older than Clippard. He turned in a nice 14 or so inning stint with Washington, and I've seen a Nationals blogger (Jon at the Nationals Report) say he has an "electric fastball and a tough makeup." I saw him in the Caribbean Series in February and wasn't impressed by his heat or his poise. Here's what I wrote at the time:
  • Jonathan Albaladejo is not as advanced as Castro. At 23 [sic], he’s only gotten as high as AA in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. He’s 6’5” with a big frame. Sunday night it didn’t look like his fastball was as big as he is (my kingdom for a radar gun!). He got ahead in the count well enough, but showed a tendency to nibble afterward.
  • Two on, none out in the bottom of the first: Miguel Tejada got to a one ball, two strike count and then had a batting helmet crisis. After trying on every helmet in the Dominican dugout, Tejada came back to fill the count, which provoked a conference on the mound. Albaladejo looked so serious and tentative it was like he was playing chess with Death. Death won, Tejada walked, and another conference on the mound ensued.
Now, I'm not a scout, and you absolutely, positively should never base an opinion on seeing a player just once. For all I know, that was the worst game of his career. The thing is, before last season Clippard was a top-five prospect with the Yanks; while Albaladejo was picked up as a minor league free agent out of the Pirates organization last season. So, in short, the Yanks have surrendered something of value for a guy they could have picked up for free less than twelve months earlier. I'll miss Clippard, and hope I'm wrong about Albaladejo.

In sunnier news, Project P46 turned out to be a rousing success. According to reports, Andy Pettitte is returning to the Bronx for one more go, and reportedly, the outpouring of fan support was one reason why. Thanks to Steve Lombardi for thinking it up, and thanks to everyone who participated.

1 comment:

(j)on said...

As a Yankees fan also, this Santana situation makes me nervous. I do NOT want to give up Hughes. At all. Rather would give up IPK.
But, Boston getting Johan could be disastrous. Think of that rotation...
And so what that they trade away their young talent...they spend as wildly as the Yankees do now. Its a sticky mess.

Oh. and thanks for the linkage.