Saturday, August 1, 2015

Coming To Terms After The Trade Deadline

The Toronto Blue Jays are better, the Kansas City Royals are better, the Los Angeles Dodgers are better, and the Texas Rangers are better. The New York Yankees are... pretty much the same team they were last week.

"That was a pretty boring week."

I'm not happy that Brian Cashman didn't find a way to improve the team, but I'm not convinced that something had to be done. Take the bullpen for example, where we heard rumors of Craig Kimbrel, Aroldis Chapman, or Carter Capps being traded for...

While it would have been incredible to have Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, and Craig Kimbrel/Aroldis Chapman/Carter Capps in the bullpen, would that be necessary? Those three could take care of four innings, making the starters only have to throw for five. But Masahiro Tanaka has averaged 6.23 innings per start, while Michael Pineda has averaged 6.21 innings per start. That means, unless those guys have a bad game, one of Betances, Miller, or Kimbrel wouldn't even be used in a game. And a bad performance by one of the starters could very well mean the Yankees are losing more than half-way through the game. That's not good, especially against the Royals, Orioles, Blue Jays, Angels, and Astros... all of which have pretty good bullpens.

I don't mean to be a hypocrite here. Yes... I was cool with the Yankees offering Jorge Mateo for Craig Kimbrel. I would have liked to keep Mateo, as you can never have too many middle infield prospects, but the facts are that Jorge is only in single-A, and Didi Gregorius has looked really good over the last month. So losing Mateo wouldn't be that bad. No, the bad part was Jed Gyorko.

The fact that Gyorko's OPS+ since the beginning of the 2014 season is only 77 wouldn't be that big a problem, especially seeing how the Yankees traded for Dustin Ackley and his OPS+ of 78 this season. The problem with Gyorko is that he's signed through 2019 for $32 million (plus a $1 million buyout of a team option for 2020). It's surely not an albatross contract like Sabathia's, but the idea of paying this guy $13 million in 2019 is ridiculous.

To sum up the bullpen, with the top two along with guys such as Chasen Schreve and Justin Wilson, a big upgrade was hardly necessary.

What about the starting rotation, which could use an upgrade at the top?

The Yankees were never close to acquiring an ace-type starter, and it turns out that doing so would have taken at least one of the big four... Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, Greg Bird, and Jorge Mateo. But even if Brian Cashman would have been okay parting with one or more of those guys, would doing that for somebody like Johnny Cueto be necessary?

Yankees starters are currently ranked 6th in the American League in FIP, and out of the five teams ahead of them in that category, the Houston Astros are the only team with a good chance at making the postseason (the other four are the Oakland Athletics, the Chicago White Sox, the Tampa Bay Rays, and Cleveland Indians).

Meanwhile, the Toronto Blue Jays did a good job of improving their rotation, adding David Price. However, the Yankees have destroyed Price recently, and the Jays' next best starter is Mark Buerle, who would struggle to strike out you or I.

Yes, a pitcher of the Mike Leake or James Shields variety would have been welcome, but there's no certainty that they would be any better than simply calling up Luis Severino. Not to mention that Adam Warren did a really good job in the rotation earlier this season, and he could be put back there. Then there's Bryan Mitchell, another fine starting candidate. Sure, Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda haven't been true #1 starters, but I still trust those guys. And Nathan Eovaldi has been fairly good lately.

Yeah.. anyway...

Fine, but Stephen Drew and Brendan Ryan are still our regular second basemen. Ugh!

That's true, and it's not good. However, there was never a solid rumor regarding an offensive upgrade. Plenty of people, myself included, brought up guys like Ben Zobrist or Martin Prado. Well, the Yankees' bats are already pretty good (2nd in AL in runs scored and wRC+), so I don't think a trade in this area was truly necessary. Bringing back Rob Refsnyder to be the team's regular second baseman over Stephen Drew may be all the team needs on offense.

What I find really funny is that, in the past, a number of fans spoke out against trading away all of the team's good prospects. Now that the team has changed gears when it comes to building from within, and we got through a trading deadline without losing a top 15 prospect, you'd think the fans would be happy. But no... they wanted a "big" trade to happen. Face it... Brian Cashman can't win.

I'm extremely excited about the team. Without possibly damaging the future of the team, they're six games in first place with 60 games to play. That may not be a lot, but it is hardly an easy hill to climb for the second place Blue Jays and Orioles.

We've been waiting to see Luis Severino get called up, and next week we're going to finally see it. And against the Red Sox no less. How awesome is that?

And as early as next season we could see the team's top prospect, and somebody the offense may be built around in the near future, Aaron Judge. Of course, that would mean delegating Carlos Beltran and his $15 million salary to the bench, but I don't think it's out of the question.

I've already talked about Rob Refsnyder being brought back up to permanently replace the combination of Drew and Ryan at second base.

Then there's Greg Bird, who may very well get a promotion to the big league some time next season, where he'll take his next stop towards taking over for Mark Teixiera at first base.

However, with how he's hitting homer after homer, and making plays like the gem last night, I'm not in any hurry for him to step down.

Finally, one of the best parts about not dealing for Craig Kimbrel, Cole Hamels, or others is that the Yankees are not obligated to pay a large chunk of money to another player. Nor are they on the hook for so many years of their contracts.

The New York Yankees are not the same team they were a few years ago. Maybe not even two years ago. If you're too young to remember when Don Mattingly played for the Yankees, then I can understand your frustration with the team not bettering their chances to win it all this year. But if you do remember Donnie Baseball, and the team's struggles prior to 1996, then building another Core Four like what Brian Cashman has said he's trying to do sounds pretty damn appealing.

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