Sweeny Says: Assessing The Yankees Inactivity At The Trading Deadline

By Sweeny Murti
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Did Brian Cashman really blow it by not making a trade at the deadline?  Well, this answer gets complicated because its not something we will find out come September or October.

The answer to this question comes much further down the road when we see if Ubaldo Jimenez was worth giving up prospects for.  And which prospects?

After a small survey of scouts familiar with the prospects Cleveland gave up as well as the prospects in the Yankee organization, it seems as if the deal the Yankees would have needed to make in order to get Jimenez from the Rockies would have looked like one of the following:

*Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, and 2 AA-level prospects

*Dellin Betances, Ivan Nova, and Jesus Montero

*Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, and Austin Romine

*Dellin Betances, Ivan Nova, and 2 other prospects

It’s the same names in various orders, and the Yankees made a determination that a short-term gain was not worth the long-term risk of such a deal.  And there isn’t even a guarantee of a short-term gain.  Beyond the red flags reported as some attitude problems with Jimenez in the last year, there is the very real issue of projecting him in a tougher division like the AL East. 

As good as Jimenez has been, he is not being traded at the same level that Johan Santana and CC Sabathia were a few years ago.  Remember—the Yankees twice traded for Javier Vazquez off the best year of his career, and he didn’t become what they had hoped either time.  Jeff Weaver and A.J. Burnett had “nasty” attached to nearly every pitch they threw before they arrived in New York, and now the very idea of either pitcher gets Yankee fans worked into a tizzy.

And let’s not forget how at various points of the 80’s and early 90’s that Yankee fans lamented seeing former farmhands like Doug Drabek and Fred McGriff and Willie McGee winning awards and championships in other uniforms with nothing to show for it on this end.

Maybe these Yankee prospects don’t turn into winners and All-Stars either.  But other teams’ unwillingness to come off those names and move to a lesser tier in trade talks seems to indicate that the Yankees aren’t the only ones who keep these guys in high regard.

Manny Banuelos is heading to AAA this week and there are scouts who say there is not a better pitching prospect in the minor leagues right now.  While he has struggled to command his fastball and throw strikes this year at AA since dazzling everybody in spring training, it seems the Yankees feel he’s ready to make the next step.  AAA this year could mean big league rotation next year.  And the year after that.  And the year after that.  And the year after that.

Meanwhile, don’t lose sight of two of the best stories surrounding the 2011 Yankees—Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia.  18 wins between them with two months to go.  We didn’t think the Yankees could get 18 innings out of them this season.

Phil Hughes needs to pitch better, but clearly he is capable and he appears to be healthy.  Let’s try to remember that this is still basically April for him.  And Ivan Nova isn’t too shabby either—his 9 wins are third on the team and he spent one month in the minor leagues. 

The Yankees have options and they have potential.  I know everyone wants to start planning the 11-game sweep through October and the parade up the Canyon of Heroes.  But sometimes it’s a little more difficult.  And sometimes it doesn’t happen at all.  Just remember that it’s not for a lack of effort or caring on the part of this organization.  It’s a calculated gamble that what they have in-house isn’t worth giving away at this time.

In what is increasingly a now-now-now society, staying pat at the trading deadline took a man willing to take a deep breath, and believe that his team has to be good enough right now because the price of making a deal was too great.

The week leading up to the trade deadline was HOPE week at Yankee Stadium.  For the next eight weeks, Brian Cashman will PRAY.

Sweeny Murti



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  • Heather

    I think Cashman did the right thing, as difficult as it is for us to remain on the sideline during such an exciting period.

    Given the injuries this year to Dice-K, Buchholz and Lester — even Lackey spent time on the D.L. — the Red Sox needed some kind of insurance policy … even a question mark like Bedard (or Haren, had that deal gone through).

    As handsome Sweeny says, we won’t know which GM made the right moves for some time, but we’ll surely have an inkling come late October. I’m not confident that a CC-Garcia-Colon-Burnett rotation can deliver, but I’m also not convinced a Beckett-Lester-Lackey-Wakefield can either. Given the additions Texas made — and given the Angels’ dynamite rotation — both beasts of the East may be home watching the Series.

  • dabooch

    Gut feeling is the Yankees aren’t going far in the playoffs when everything gets ratcheted up. Tex. Gardner, and Swisher will fold like last year. Must win games Burnett, Hughes, Colon…doubt it.

  • nick

    TJ Joba came up big for us in 2009 in the WS.

    Dead arm Hughes won 18 games last year and was an all-star at age 23.

    Ian Kennedy was spun for Curtis Granderson.

    Prospects are prospects, yes, but lets remember EVERY PLAYER in baseball was a prospect at some point.

    Im fine if they didnt believe a move to upgrade was available, and many of you missed Sweeny’s point, but not surprising in the now-now-now society. I hope Sweeny doesn’t read these comments for his sake, because his articles are awesome .But yet get completely thrown off by know-it-alls who demand to win every single year and get every big-game available like its a video game.

  • Tom

    Life long soxfan, Yanks made right move. Jimenez would be a bust!

  • Richard G

    I have no problem with the Yankees not making a pitching move at the trade deadline. But what is apparent from Brian Cashman’s inactivity ALL year is that HE HAS NO PLAN TO GET THE YANKS BACK TO THE WORLD SERIES AND WIN IT!
    When he los Cliff Lee by playing cheap and not offering him a higher annual salary than CC makes for 5 years, he went braindead! HE HAD NO ALTERNATIVE PLAN TO IMPROVE THE CLUB!
    Right now we would be a better team with Ivan Nove in the starting rotation, and Phil HUghes going back to the bullpen to work on his command and arm strenth again, like he did 2 years ago! And we desperately need a steady bat to replace Jorge Posada and Andrew Jones! Can you say HIDeki Matsui or Vlad Guerrara?

  • Ballentine Mel Allen

    Yanks were a great team years ago, now it would be a miracle
    if they make the playoffs at all, Now the Phiilies play like they are
    happy with each other,not like they want to leave the ballpark for a hot babe
    and playing the game is so demanding of their time. Posada looks afraid
    every time he comes to bat ,some of the older players need to check out.
    Lou Pinella come back home George Steinbrenner is dead he won’t get in
    your way .

  • FireCashman

    The 2008 version of Cashman’s “protected prospects” for the failed Johan Santana deal turned out to become:

    “Tommy John” Joba Chamberlain
    “Dead Arm” Phil Hughes
    Ian Kennedy

    Time will tell what will become of the 2011 version of Cashman’s “protected prospects”.

    But as of right now, instead of a 27-year old talent coming into his own, the Yankees are stuck with a Jekyll and Hide 34-year old as their #2 starter.

    Somewhere George is turning in his grave.

    • Keep Your Day Job

      Hey idiot, tell us how good Santana has pitched for the Mets the last 4 yrs?

      Oh wait, Santana has not pitched this year and very year he comes up lame where he needs season ending surgery, he has yet to pitch a full season with the Mets

      The Yankees won the title with Hughes & Joba in ’09. Kennedy was part of the deal that brought in Granderson.

      Kennedy was given a shot to make the rotation & failed. Now he’s pitching in the National Easy League & in the weakest division all of baseball so he should win games there.

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