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Chad Gaudin on waivers

I still believe he has more long-term value than Sergio Mitre, but you can’t argue with the way the latter has pitched this spring, or just how bad Gaudin has been. The issue with Gaudin has always been control, whereas with Mitre it has been staying healthy and not getting his head handed to him. Two years younger and with a better track record of health and effectiveness, I’d rather bet on Gaudin’s strikeout rate and the possibility of finding a way to shave half a walk per nine innings than on Tommy John surgery having suddenly turned Mitre into an effective pitcher.

The team that acquires Gaudin is going to get a serviceable fifth starter/long man, while it’s not quite clear what application Mitre will have for the Yankees. Long relief? That’s Alfredo Aceves’ job. Second lefty? He’s not a lefty. Even if he pitches well he has no role to play. Having traded Brian Bruney for a rent with option to buy on the great Jamie Hoffmann, the Yankees have now traded Gaudin for Mitre. I don’t know that any other team in baseball would do that.

METS SHOPPING GARY MATTHEWS
Their acquisition of Matthews was an easy first-guess, and now they’re trying to move the unmovable. This franchise has a leadership that just doesn’t think. Mets fans, your tickets go to supporting Gary Matthews. You’d think the front office would have been more leery of simply throwing away $2 million on a player who has lost his power, speed, and ability to play center field.

TO THE MATS WITH READER COMMENTS
1: WE ARE ON THE EDGE OF THE ULTIMATE ENDING!

Why so pessimistic about Jeter, Moe and Jorge re-signing with the Yankees? Or, it’s just pretty words?—Designer

I’m not pessimistic about contracts, I’m pessimistic about immortality. The Yankees can keep re-signing their vets to the point that they all turn into Craig Biggio 2006-’07 if they want to. I actually don’t want to watch that, so my advice was to watch now, while you can still see the thing that you cherish rather than its pale shade.

As much as you might love those three, you shouldn’t want the Yankees to keep bringing them back, not if you care about winning.

2: PROSPECT TOUT (PROSPECT TROUT?)
Loved the comment regarding Romine....except that he's never hit lower than .276 or had an OBP lower than .322. He's done this while being one of the younger players in his league. He's a full league ahead of Jorge at the same age and put up numbers similar to what you would expect from Jorge if you'd pushed him up to A+ when he was 20.

I also can't wait for all of the know-it-all evaluators of Montero as a catcher to eat their crow. I wonder how good a catcher Jorge was when he was 20...catching at Class A Greensboro...5 years before he got his 10th AB in the Majors.— dwnflfan

Let’s take the second part first. You’ve missed the entire crux of the Montero dilemma. You’re right that his glove might be ready in five years, but his bat is ready NOW. Everyone, from the Yankees to every scout on the vine agree he’s not a major-league quality catcher NOW. Sure, you might have a decent catcher in 2015, but (a) it might never happen, and (b) if you wait around for him to be acceptable at the position, you blow a good portion of his career in the Minors.

There are also reasons to believe that, as dedicated as Montero is to improving defensively, he has only so much room for progress. He’s a big guy, 6’4" and 225 pounds officially. There haven’t been too many catchers to be successful at that size—you’re asking Montero to cram a whole lot of beef into a small space, then be able to uncoil it fast enough to get a throw off to second base or chase a ball in the dirt, and he may squeeze in some more height or weight before he’s done. It all seems pretty unlikely, but either way, the issue is how you handle the timetable more than if he can catch eventually, as these destinies may be mutually exclusive.

Now to Romine. The Minor Leagues are easier than the Majors. You can’t take a .276 at Tampa, or a .300 at Charleston, and assume that it represents the hitter’s level of production as he advances. You can compare him to Posada if you want to, but it’s unfair to Romine: at 20, Posada played 101 games at Greensboro and hit a home run every 28 at-bats and walked once every seven plate appearances. At the same level in 2008, Romine hit a home run once every 44 at-bats and drew a walk once every 17 at-bats. The next season, Posada hit a homer every 24 at-bats and walked every seven plate appearances. Romine, playing at Tampa last year, homered 34 at-bats and walked every 17 plate appearances.

Yes, Romine is a year ahead of Posada’s pace, so there is more room for growth, but the simple fact is this: Posada was a more refined hitter from the outset, and Romine needs to refine his plate judgment or he’s not going to post a league-average OBP in the big leagues. Thirty walks a year in the minors doesn’t translate to 30 in the big leagues, it translates to 20. A .275 average suggests .250-.265. I gave Romine credit for further developing his power, which is why I said the challenge was for him to do better than .250/.300/.450 in the bigs. It’s early yet, but if he doesn’t change, he’s not going to be the next Jorge Posada, he’s going to be the next John Buck. Fortunately, he’s young enough that he has plenty of time to get better.

MORE OF ME
• My Tuesday-morning interview on Baltimore’s WNST-AM with Drew Forrester about the BP annual and other matters.

Wholesome Reading has been updated with more to come. Warning: Politics! French fries extra.

• It’s not me, but my pal Neil de Mause, author of Field of Schemes, had a discussion prompted by an article on the new Red Bull arena in Harrison that led to this discussion of non-existent development prompted by the new soccer stadium.