Sunday, September 18, 2016

Expect Jorge Mateo Traded This Offseason

The New York Yankees made it their mission, and the personal mission of GM Brian Cashman, this summer to rebuild the farm system and stockpile the minor leagues with as much talent as possible. That included bringing in outfielder Clint Frazier, left-handed pitcher Justus Sheffield, reliever Ben Heller, and shortstop Gleyber Torres to name a few leaving the team's former top prospects seemingly on the back burner. Jorge Mateo broke out in 2015 and broke out in a big way hitting for contact and stealing 82 bases for the Tampa Yankees. That success has not carried over to the 2016 season and I truly believe we can expect to see Mateo moved during this coming offseason.

Mateo started out the season hitting exceptionally well but the Yankees shortstop prospect presumably thought he should be called up to Double-A Trenton and when he wasn't it affected both on the field and in the clubhouse. His batting line dipped and he was eventually suspended for two weeks and missed the XM Futures Game for an unspecified violation of team rules. We all speculated that it was because Mateo was not called up to Double-A but to this point that's all we can do, speculate. Either way Mateo took his suspension and we never heard anything about his attitude again this season but his stating line continued to slump.

Mateo slumped enough that the, and trust me he wasn't alone in this fact, Tampa Yankees lost in the postseason and went home earlier than most probably would have wanted to or expected to. The postseason awards and prospects lists began to be released almost immediately including the list by Keith Law that listed Mateo as one of the eight most disappointing prospects in the land. That list is behind a paywall.

The Yankees have surrounded him with superior talented shortstops and the team has an obvious and glaring needs for starting pitching heading into the 2017 season. When a team is intending to compete, and the Yankees are in 2017, you have to build from within but you also have to trade from a position of strength in order to fill in the gaps and shortstop and outfield look to be definite areas of strength right now for New York. Headlining that crop is a player they already tried to trade for Craig Kimbrel recently, Mateo.

Mateo is still talented enough and projected highly enough to be the centerpiece, and this is for merely an example's sake, in a Chris Sale or Felix Hernandez type deal. I'm not saying the Yankees will acquire a high-end ace like them but even as a solid #2 starter or a young piece a la the Michael Pineda trade all those years ago I can see Mateo, plus, plus going in the deal. The Yankees don't need to trade Mateo and likely won't just for the sake of trading him but if the right deal presents himself I cannot see Cashman turning it down. Not at all.

I am heading into the offseason fulling expecting Mateo to be traded for a solid, top-end starting pitcher. It's not a matter of "if" but "when" to me and you should feel the same way. Expect it, it's coming.

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