Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Yankees Should Not Trade For Trout

Although no deal is imminent, and few even think a deal as possible, there has still be a lot of talk about the Yankees trading for American League Most Valuable Player, Mike Trout.

I like to think he's smiling about the idea of being a Yankee.

Many Yankees fans are drooling over the idea of Trout wearing Yankee pinstripes, and for good reason. Mike is only 25 years old, just won his second MVP award, and was the runner-up for the award in his other three years in MLB. Mike Trout may be the best baseball player any of us will ever see in our lifetimes.

So it's quite easy to see why anybody would want him on their team. Whenever he comes to bat people stand, not expecting good things to happen, but knowing good things will happen. But do me a favor and answer me this...

Where did the Angels finish in the standings last season, and in 2014 (the other season Trout won MVP)?

In case you don't know, or didn't go check, I'll fill you in...

Last season the Angels finished in 4th place in the American League West, and in 2014... while they won the most games in the AL during the regular season... got swept by the Royals in the AL Divisional Series.

Want more proof that one guy does not make a winner? In 2015 Josh Donaldson won the AL MVP, and his team the Toronto Blue Jays lost to the Royals in the AL Championship Series. The 2013 Detroit Tigers, with AL MVP Miguel Cabrera, lost in the ALCS. And the 2012 Detroit Tigers, again with AL MVP Miguel Cabrera, got swept in the World Series.

Those aren't bad finishes, but just making the postseason is not the goal. The goal should always be to...

"Win the whole @#$%ing thing."

So I don't care about whether or not Mike Trout plays for the Yankees. What I care about is the Yankees winning the World Series. And while having an MVP caliber player like Trout certainly helps, it doesn't guarantee anything. Especially in a game like baseball, where the Most Valuable Player in the game gets the same number of at bats as the majority of all batters in the game.

To further drive home my opinion let's look at a recent trade proposal brought forth by Randy Miller of NJ.com...

Randy believes that the Yankees could trade the following six players for Trout...

Didi Gregorius
Luis Severino
Dillon Tate
Jorge Mateo
Dellin Betances
Clint Frazier

I'm not going to get into whether or not either team would accept such a deal, I just want to point out the ramifications of this for the Yankees.

For starters, it would mean banking on Gleyber Torres to develop into a strong MLB player, which is certainly no guarantee. Just ask those that thought the same thing about Brien Taylor, Todd Van Poppel, Ruben Rivera, Greg Miller, Joel Guzman, etc. There's a chance that Torres doesn't make it, and the Yankees end up reaching for somebody like Stephen Drew or Brian Roberts again. And nobody that wants the Yankees to win would wish for that.

Secondly, the Yankees' starting rotation future is very up in the air. While they have a number of prospects that could be strong contributors in the future, is it smart to take any away? Instead of a future rotation that could be filled by Severino, Tate, James Kaprielian, Justus Sheffield, and Domingo Acevedo, the Yankees could find themselves reaching in trades or free agency to fill their rotation even if all three of Kaprielian, Sheffield, and Acevedo work out. Which is not a good bet, as at least one of those three will probably become MLB relievers or fade away completely.

The third reason to be concerned about making such a trade is the bullpen. While it's true that the Yankees have been good at developing relievers, Dellin Betances is not just any reliever. While the Yankees could have Aroldis Chapman, who would they have to pair with him? Adam Warren? Jacob Lindgren? Who? Having a great closer can be big, but if the team struggles to get him the ball with the lead then does Chapman matter? Just ask Orioles fans, who just watched one of the greatest seasons by a closer ever, but still missed the postseason. Or ask Reds fans about when they had Chapman. Or Phillies fans when Ken Giles was wrecking it for them in 2015. Or Braves fans in 2014, when Craig Kimbrel was killing it.

"At least there was no pressure when my team finished 17 games back from first place."

Here's one more final thought... 

While the Yankees have outfield prospects like Aaron Judge and Blake Rutherford, they are not Clint Frazier. Judge had big problems with a large strike zone in MLB last season, and has had trouble keeping his strikeout total down at any level. Blake Rutherford is just 19 years old, and a ways away from MLB. And I can't say it enough... look again at the number of former top prospects that went nowhere. The Yankees outfield could very well be left with Jacoby Ellsbury, a right fielder that strikes out a ton while running into the occasional home run, and a third outfielder that is no better than replacement level.

While I would love to see Mike Trout wear a Yankees' uniform, I do not want them to pay the price to acquire him. I think many fans would agree that the Yankees will have plenty of chances to win in the near future without him. 

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