What we gave up:
Mark Melancon (25, Triple-A Scranton) stings a bit, as he was one time seen as Mo's potential successor. He looked to be a vital piece to the 2010 bullpen but fell off the proverbial cliff. He's not a big loss as the Yankees have plenty of pitching depth, including a few guys at least as promising on the same team: Ivan Nova, Zach McAllister (both younger than Melancon) and Alby (only two years older with more ML experience), who's having an absolutely dominant year. Melancon was having major problems with walks and hits this year (albeit with an unsustainable .367 BABIP).
MiL Career: 212 ip, 2.84 ERA, 178 h, 66 bb, 209 k
2010: 56.1 ip, 3.67 ERA, 63 h, 31 bb, 58 k
Jimmy Paredes (21, Low-A Charleston) is your typical high-risk, high-reward A-baller. He's a utility infielder with nice BA skills and mediocre power but no OBP ability.
MiL Career: 265 games, .280/.313/.393, 70 sb, 23 cs
2010: 99 games, .282/.312/.408, 36 sb, 10 cs
What we got:
Berkman (34) is one of the best hitters of this generation. His 145 career OPS+ is one point below A-Rod. Yes, he's having a down year, but is still one of the premier OBP guys in baseball (and he'll take the place of the guy who was supposed to do that but couldn't stay healthy... You hear me Nick? You there?). Despite a poor season by typical Berkman standards (117 OPS+), his OBP of .372 puts him right among the Yankee leaders.
He's a switch-hitter but his problem has been against lefties. In 2010: .559 OPS vs. LHP, .874 vs. RHP - .781 and 1.015, respectively, in his career. Will Girardi start him against lefties? Anyway, he looks to be the primary DH and occasional 1B, sending Juan Miranda back to Scranton.
I especially like this deal because the Yanks traded away considerably less than what was required to land a similar hitter, Adam Dunn. Sure, Dunn has a much higher SLG, but his OBP is actually lower than Berkman's, and I have faith that Berkman can be sparked coming to a contender.
He has a $15M team option for 2011 and a $2M buyout. The buyout will almost certainly be exercised. Houston will pay $4M of the $7.1M owed to Berkman this season.
Career: 1592 games, .296/.410/.549, 82 sb, 42 cs
2010: 85 games, .245/.372/.436, 3 sb, 2 cs
What we gave up:
A player to be named later or cash. No big deal.
What we got:
Austin Kearns (30) is another OBP guy. .353 for a bench player is tremendous. The righty has a little pop (113 career homers), and is an above average outfielder. Kearns was the seventh overall pick in the 1998 draft, so while the talent is there, he has yet to reach the lofty expectations.
He hits southpaws only slight better than righties for his career, but is actually faring better against his own handedness this season. Marcus Thames will still get his share of ABs, but this probably means the end of Colin Curtis' 2010 tenure. It's too bad but I'm sure we'll him again next year.
Kearns will be paid roughly $280K by the Yankees and become a free agent following the season.
Career: 925 games, .257/.353/.426, 31 sb, 16 cs
2010: 83 games, .268/.351/.413, 4 sb, 1 cs