The good Joel Sherman made an appearance yesterday, with an article detailing the Yankee shift in philosophy toward developing talent from within, comparing and contrasting it with his beloved Mets. While this isn’t news to anyone who’s followed the team closely since Cash took over the Baseball ops in 2006, it’s still a worthwhile read. But here’s the part I found most interesting:
So do the Yankees turn inward or do they use farm depth to try to find younger alternatives to areas of need through trade? Cashman, in fact, said he has tried to point the organization toward the model of the mid-1990s when the Yankees had a substantial volume of prospects from which to make trades. He cited having, for example, two high-end young lefties such as Sterling Hitchcock and Pettitte, believing Pettitte was the better long-term gamble and using Hitchcock to obtain Tino Martinez in his prime.
The Yankees feel they have strong depth in catcher with Cervelli, Montero, Romine and recent Dominican sign Gary Sanchez. They like left-handed setup men Coke and Mike Dunn. They like right-handed setup men Mark Melancon and David Robertson. Cabrera, Gardner and Jackson all are center fielders. Pena, Reggie Corona and Kevin Russo project as borderline infield starters or utilitymen.
The Yanks have depth in the farm at certain positions, not so much in others. So now the question becomes who do we keep and who do we trade? Let’s go position by position through the Yankee farm depth chart. Obviously Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes will draw much attention from the 25 man roster as well. Since minor leaguers will often change positions to suit the needs of the club, I’ll condense the positions that are interchangeable in the minors and highlight positions of depth and the players I want to keep:
Catcher-Francisco Cervelli, Jesus Montero, Austin Romine, Gary Sanchez
First Base/Third Base-Juan Miranda, Eric Duncan, Chris Malec, Cody Ransom
Second Base/Shortstop-Ramiro Pena, Kevin Russo, Eduardo Nunez, Doug Bernier
Outfielders-Austin Jackson, Shelly Duncan, John Rodriguez, Colin Curtis
Starting Pitchers-Ian Kennedy, Ivan Nova, Zachary McCallister, Manny Banuelos, George Kontos, Andrew Brackman, Dellin Betances, Jeremy Bleich
Relief Pitchers-Jon Albaladejo, Edwar Ramirez, Mark Melancon, Dave Robertson, Mike Dunn, Anthony Claggett, Wilkins DeLaRosa, Zack Kroenke
Infielders of any kind is something we just don’t have very much of, so if the Blue Jays need a SS as reported, then we just don’t have a match who projects to be an everyday player. But they’re also looking for a Catcher, and that’s our deepest position in the minors. If I’m Brian Cashman, I don’t give up an elite prospect like Montero unless he’s the centerpiece of the deal, with filler surrounding him. Catchers who can hit are one of the most sought-after commodities in baseball. Hughes and Joba fall into my A+ category as well. For a pitcher like Halladay, I’ll give up one of them, but will not combine them in packages as so many have floated. Multiple A+ prospects is what Omar Minaya gave up for Bartolo Colon, and it’s generally considered one of the worst trades in history.
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