Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Yankees Should NOT Make A Big Trade

While so many people in the Yankees Universe are sitting on the edge of their seats, waiting for the team to trade for a big-time pitcher, I'm sitting back hoping they don't.

From this position I can see that the sky is certainly not falling.

There's no doubt that the Yankees' starting rotation has questions, mainly of the "health" variety. And although a team should be prepared for the worst, it's not always the smart thing to do. The Yankees don't have a plethora of trade chips, so if they make a trade that turns out to be unnecessary, then they've likely really hurt themselves should a hole someplace else open up, and they can no longer fill that hole by trade (at least not well).

Let's define "necessary"...

The Yankees currently have six starters to choose from (Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, Nathan Eovaldi, Chris Capuano, and Adam Warren), and by June they could have seven (Ivan Nova). Should Tanaka's elbow, Pineda's shoulder, and Sabathia's knee actually hold up, Eovaldi's BABIP against comes down to normal levels (it was .327 last year, leading to him giving up a few extra hits), and Capuano remains a solid pitcher, then another starter will not be necessary. And that doesn't include Warren continuing to throw well, and Nova returning.

However, what happens should Carlos Beltran go down again? Chris Young? Yikes! Having all your trade chips at that time would be ideal in order to avoid starting Chris Young (who had a triple-slash of .217/.296/.399 the last three years) day in and day out. Garret Jones? We're not getting much better, here.

The fact is the Yankees don't have enough to trade for a good to great starter now, and trade for a good to great player during the season. So save those trade chips for when you have to make a deal.

Another thing to consider here is that if a team were to deal a pitcher, then that pitcher is going to come in one of two varieties...

1. A pitcher that has at least two years of team control remaining.

2. A pitcher that only has a year of team control remaining.

The pitcher in example 1 is going to cost quite a bit, especially if that "team control" means arbitration or pre-arbitration years. Additionally, teams tend to want to hold onto key contributors when they still have a shot, and seeing as how neither this nor future seasons have even started, they indeed have a shot. Besides, either the Yankees don't have what it takes to get that deal done, or they shouldn't do it because of what I discussed earlier.

The pitcher in example 2 may not cost as much, but you have to ask yourself... is this the year to make such a deal? I mean, to be honest, the 2015 Yankees don't look like serious contenders for the AL East, let alone the postseason. Sure, they are going to be really fun to watch, but trading away a huge package right now is like a Texas Hold-Em player going all-in with a ten of spades and nine of hearts as his hole cards. At least wait until you get another ten or nine on the flop and/or turn.

Please tell me I used those terms correctly. I'm not a poker player.

So the Yankees should avoid a big trade right now, and wait until the season starts to truly see where the holes on the team are, and then address them. Making a huge splash for somebody like Cole Hamels may lead to the Yankees having the best starting rotation in the American League (the Nationals would probably still be the best in all of MLB), but if they're forced to deal with Chris Young or Garrett Jones playing every day in right field, then it's all for naught.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)