Yesterday, I looked at some of Brian Cashman’s recent trades, specifically what he and the Yankees gave up and whether or not those players would really make a difference. I ended the post with the Brian Bruney trade and now I’m going to start this on with the more major trades of the offseason. Instead of going deal by deal, like I did last night, I’m going to go player by player for today’s post.
Starting with the guy who had the biggest impact on the Major League team, we have outfielder Melky Cabrera, who was shipped to Atlanta in the Javier Vazquez deal. Melky was a nice player, especially on a team like the Yankees. He could play all outfield positions competently–at the very least–and could put up league average numbers at the plate. His switch hitting was also a nice touch. Losing Melky, though, is not the worst thing in the world for the Yankees. In fact, it’s really not a bad thing. Despite his useful skill-set, he is an easily replaceable player. One could, and will/should, argue that the Yankees have already replaced Melky with Randy Winn. Melky’s still young and could develop further, but after over 2000 plate appearances with the Yankees, the only consistent thing from Melky was inconsistency. I wish Melky luck in the National League, but I do not think I will miss him terribly.
Moving to the next Major League player traded, we come to Phil Coke, who went to Detroit in the Granderson deal. He seems like a decent enough guy, and maybe he could develop into something more than he is now, but that’s unlikely. He doesn’t have the pitches to start and his tendency to give up the gopher ball sets him back. In 2010, he would’ve been the second lefty out of the bullpen and his role would likely have been diminished. Guys like Coke are not very hard to find on the open market and we may not notice his departure all that much.
Mike Dunn, another LHP, is kind of in the same category as Coke. He’ll never be a starter, but he does have a tick more upside than Coke, simply because Dunn throws harder. He still has control issues that need to be worked out as well. Dunn’s role on the 2010 Yankees was also in question at the time of his trade. Despite Coke being traded, Dunn was still likely to be only the second lefty out of the bullpen. Again, this is a small role and it will not likely be missed.
Ian Kennedy is another player whose role on the 2010 Yankees would’ve been rather unclarified and muddy. He wouldn’t have had the innings built up to be a starter and likely would’ve been either SP depth in Scranton or a long man in the bullpen. However, the latter role is already crowded. I’m definitely going to miss Ian, though, and of all the players the Yankees traded away in 2010, he’s the one for whom I’m going to root hardest. I feel like he never got a fair shot from the fans and hopefully, he can re-turn some heads in the desert.
Now, we come to the prospects: Austin Jackson and Arodys Vizcaino. In terms of the short term, trading away these two does not do much to harm the Yankees. After all, Jackson needed at least another half a season in Scranton and Viz hasn’t yet pitched in a full season league. Long term, though, it hurts the system a bit. The Yankees are pretty short on position player talent and Jackson fits that bill. Vizcaino is a young, high upside arm and those are always nice to have. These are probably the two biggest losses of the offseason, but like every coin, these have a flip side.
Starting with Jackson, we have a player whose star has lost a bit of its shine as he moves through the minor league ranks. Ajax’s power still hasn’t quite come around and there are still questions about his plate discipline. Maybe I’m being too bearish on Jackson, but I have a feeling that he’ll become nothing more than a solid regular in his career. Now, that’s not a bad thing and it’s obviously something the Yankees would’ve wanted. However, over the next four years, I highly doubt that Austin Jackson the Tiger will be better than Curtis Granderson the Yankee.
Vizcaino is the biggest loss of the offseason. He has the most upside of the players traded and has had great results thus far. But, like I’ve repeated ad nauseum, he’s never pitched in a full season league. That definitely counts against him. There are also pitchers in front of him: Zach McAllister, Manny Banuelos, Ivan Nova, for example.
For what it’s worth, here’s my rankings of these players traded away in terms of impact:
1. A-Viz: High upside arm, but a long way off.
2. Ajax: Medium upside bat, needed more time.
3. Melky: Useful player, but easily replaceable.
4. IPK: Good SP depth, uncertain role.
5. Dunn: Some upside, but likely a LOOGY at the end of the day.
6. Coke: Dunn with a smaller upside.
All in all, Brian Cashman has not given up very much over the last year and a half or so in terms of trades. It’s also wroth discussing what he’s brought in. In guys like Hinske and Hairston, he brought in role players who helped complete a championship team. In Nick Swisher, he bought low on a very solid player, and the same could be said for Curtis Granderson. While losing Austin Jackson was not desirable, the package Detroit took for a solid player like Granderson was one the Yankees had to send off, and the same goes for the deal with Atlanta. We all hate to see young players go, but it’s a part of the game. Brain Cashman has done a good job of trading the right people for the right parts and is one of the finest trading general managers in baseball.
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