Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Not "Could They Make The Deal?", but "Should They Make The Deal?"

Like Daniel, after I read about the Craig Kimbrel trade, I immediately wondered if the Yankees could have swung a deal with Atlanta instead of San Diego. It's no different than when a player like Max Scherzer signs with another team, and you think the Yankees should have made the deal instead. It's natural to want stars like that on your team.

I actually commented on Daniel's post regarding Kimbrel, saying I'm glad it didn't happen. The first reason was because I don't want Melvin Upton, and his ridiculous contract, in the Bronx.

For context, last season Carlos Beltran hit .233/.301/.402, with 15 home runs, and an OPS+ of 98. Is there any Yankee fan that would re-do that three year, $45 million, contract with Carlos?


With the Beltran thing in mind, allow me to point out that Melvin Upton slashed .208/.287/.333, hit 12 home runs, and had an OPS+ of 75. And for anyone that tries to tell me that he just had a really bad year, which was a total anomaly, I'd like to point to Upton's OPS+ of 54 the year before last.

Why am I making this comparison? Because Upton has three years and $46.35 million remaining on his contract. So the Yankees would be paying a guy more money to be a worse player for them. Woo hoo! That's smart baseball!

"No it's not."

But the Yankees would get Craig Kimbrel, thus creating a different three-headed monster than the one I begged for before David Robertson ran off to Chicago. So that part of the deal would make me very happy, right?


While it would have been great to have a bullpen with D-Rob, Dellin, and Miller, it certainly was not necessary. The Yankees bullpen is already one of the best in MLB. Unfortunately, if the Yankees' starters don't give the team something nice, then that great 'pen is all for naught. So while spending a lot of money for that relief trio would have been unnecessary, trading away any prospect in this case would be a bigger mistake.

And that brings me to my next point, which covers making any trade... not just the one for Craig Kimbrel.

The Yankees have to find people within the system to build around, and those players aren't always the most obvious candidates. There was a time when people thought Brien Taylor was the guy the Yankees could build a strong starting rotation around. How'd he pan out? Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams, Manny Banuelos, Jesus Montero, Austin Romine... I could go on and on.

The point is you don't know what prospect or prospects are going to break out. For example, Jorge Posada never got higher than 7th on Baseball America's Top 10 Yankees Prospects lists, and he helped lead the Yankees to four World Series titles. So it's best to hold onto as many as you can, unless trading away one or more of them truly makes sense. And Craig Kimbrel, or really anybody at this point, doesn't.

Yeah... I said that trading for anybody, at this point, doesn't make sense.

Okay, not "everybody", but let's be real here.

While we could easily see the starting rotation needing help at some point this season, they currently don't. Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda are healthy, and make for a pretty darn good 1-2 punch atop the rotation. At the same time, Nathan Eovaldi could be a great #3 pitcher. And don't forget that Ivan Nova will be returning soon, and could be an awesome addition.

What other position or positions should they go after? The Yankees either have guys under contract to cover a position (McCann, Headley, Gardner, Ellsbury), just traded for a player that could be the team's long-term solution at another position (Gregorius), or have prospects on the verge of taking over a position (Refsnyder, Bird, Judge). And even if, like I said earlier, one of those youngsters doesn't pan out, there are others behind them that could step up (Mateo, Pirela, Austin).

I'm not saying the Yankees can't afford to trade away one or two of those prospects, but there's no point in doing so when you don't have an obvious need, and even filling that need wouldn't put you in that much better position to succeed.

Hell, let's just be happy that the Boston Red Sox didn't acquire another star like Kimbrel.

1 comment:

  1. Bryan, I had lost faith in you for a while! Trade for NEED not for WANT! I have been saying that for years and years and...well, I could go on, but I need not, you did fine!


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