The following was inspired by this tweet from Moshe:
People wouldn’t give Nova for Liriano? Madness.
To hug or not to hug–that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous growing pains
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing trade them.
Like all things in this world, we must walk a tight line when it comes to dealing with prospects. We’ve got to decide whether we want the organization to keep them or use them as trade bait. We’ve got to decide how much (or little) we value them based on their ages, upsides, respective proximity to the majors, positions, floors, ceilings…and a whole host of other things.
The man point here, though, is the former in that paragraph. Do we want to keep (hug) these prospects or let them go? Again, we’ve got that we must tread on in a nuanced fashion. There are varying degrees with which we must hug our favorite minor league players.
Let’s take Moshe’s example. That is absolutely ridiculous. Anyone saying the Yankees shouldn’t trade Ivan Nova for Liriano is being ridiculous. There’s obviously risk involved with Francisco Liriano and it wouldn’t be a straight-up trade, but if Nova’s in the package, you should be fine with that part. He may look like a nice back end piece now, but he’s got limited upside at best. He is not one we should hug too tightly. Guys like Brandon Laird also fall into this category. He may have a bat that’s at least mildly intriguing, but he lacks a true position and doesn’t have a fit on the Yankees now or in the foreseeable future. Eduardo Nunez epitomizes this group. He may have value to the team now because he can play an acceptable shortstop and he won’t embarrass himself by striking out a ton, but he has basically no upside. What he is now is what he’ll be later.
The guys we know we should hug tightly are obvious: Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos, and to a lesser extent, Gary Sanchez, despite his distance from the Majors. The once who require a little more thought are the guys like Adam Warren, Hector Noesi, Andrew Brackman, and Dellin Betances. Warren and Noesi have polish and are safe bets, but they don’t have as much upside as Brackman and Betances. And while the latter two have a ton of upside, they’re bigger risks than the former two. Here, I think we should hug, but not so tightly.
We must also remember that no one is untouchable. Even members of the trio I proposed we hug the tightest could (and should) be traded in the right package for the right piece(s). Still, we need to be extremely discriminating when thinking about parting with those guys. The first group, the most loosely hugged, they are ripe for the trading. Strike while the iron is hot (lukewarm?). The middle group, again, is like a hybrid. We can cling relatively tightly to them since they will likely have value to the team in some form or another in the soon-enough future. But, we should be much more willing to part with them than the Montero-Banuelos-Sanchez type trio.
I’ll leave you today with a warning: no matter how much we hug, no matter how much we want to see the team’s prospects succeed, we must be cold and detached when those players part and we must be cold and detached when analyzing their potential values. As soon as we get emotional, we lose the sense of what we may have in these young players. It’s fun to get worked up and excited about players like these, but it hurts less when we see them go if we step back just a little bit.
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