It hasn’t even been a week since the postseason officially came to a end, and already excitement over the Hot Stove is in full force. This offseason will be no different from prior years as elite free agents will surely continue to grab the headlines. Ludicrous trade proposals, driven by the inherent optimism and unexpectedness of the offseason, are bound to run rampant and somehow they’ll all include the Yankees. Therefore, I figured we should probably proactively reconsider our Hot Stove expectations. Perhaps that will help encourage some sense of reasonableness.
Prospects are way too often overvalued.
This point is likely to earn me some flak; I know, this group of Baby Bombers is totally different, right? This is the group that is going to turn into something special. Thanks to the ever-increasing indepth coverage of our teams, we as fans have become exponentially more educated about the “ins and outs” of the organization. Unsurprisingly, this can certainly create a sense of attachment to players down in the farm system. Now, more than ever, we are aware of the cost controlled kids as they mash their way through each level of the minors. We get caught up at times recalling the good ol’ days when a core group of Yankee kids helped win championship after championship during the late ’90s, establish a dynasty, and become generational icons in the process.
Unfortunately, this path isn’t exactly guaranteed nor is it even necessarily the norm. Many prospects simply don’t pan out (including the elite ones). I remember a time when seemingly everyone waxed poetic about Minor Leaguers such as Jeff Francoeur and Delmon Young. Sure, these two first-round picks have enjoyed Major League careers, but they certainly haven’t reached the stardom that their projections initially suggested. Predicting prospect success is a risky business and for a team such as the Yankees, retaining quality youth can be complicated as the organization can contemplate paying for the proven commodity. Each prospect has to be carefully scrutinized and each opportunity of risk versus reward has to be contemplated when a trade is proposed. This leads me to my next point.
No player should be deemed “untouchable.”
I’m certain this one is certainly going to make some of you cringe. We all have reservations about giving up particular players; heck, TYA’s EJ Fagan wrote a really solid post yesterday discussing which players could be used as trade bait and which players should be off limits. It is my belief that players such as Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos, Phil Hughes, Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher, or anyone else for that matter, always remain available in trade discussions. In my book, no one is off limits.
Don’t be confused here; I’m not necessarily advocating that the players listed above should be shipped off. Simply, I’m suggesting the Yankees (and us as fans) need to be open to the idea of losing a big name if it means the team is able to improve overall. Everyone has a price, and it’s up to Brian Cashman and Company to assess whether the price is appropriate.
Scamming the competition is hard.
I suppose this concept is both fortunate and unfortunate depending on how you look at it. When trades are made, obviously, the luxury of hindsight does not exist. Cashman saw qualities in Swisher that he valued and subsequently made an offer to the White Sox for him. Obviously, the change of scenery worked out brilliantly for the Yankees and much less so for the White Sox. Not every deal is quite so polarizing though. Teams agree to trades because they hope for reciprocal reward, not out of charity to another organization’s cause.
In the same vein, a team’s undesirables (B and C level prospects), is generally not compelling enough for a fantastic return. When we make our outrageous trade proposals, consider the other GM’s situation. Do the Dodgers really want to hand over Matt Kemp for six or seven prospects that are may become long relief or utility players? Does an abundance of replacement-level quality adequately compensate for proven MLB talent? Should the Mariners decide to shop King Felix, expect the bounty to be substantial; anything less than a massive return would probably signal gross incompetence on Seattle’s behalf. In other words, stop trying to unload our team’s crap for someone else’s gem.
Not every move has to be a blockbuster (nor should it be).
More often than not, colleagues of mine approach me with these really extravagant proposals. I’m waiting for someone to suggest the Yanks dump A-Rod, move Tex to third, and sign Pujols for first base. Just for good measure, the Yankees can sign Carlos Beltran as a backup OF/DH. When in doubt, invite fix or six teams into the mix (who needs the complexity of a three-team trade!), and get some playing swapping underway! Forget about salaries or team dynamics, it’s about making the biggest splash.
As it turns out, every club needs some role players to help compliment the superstars. This isn’t a bad thing either. As we discovered last offseason, strengthening a bench or a bullpen can really pay dividends down the road. A good example of this involves the group of players that we “affectionately” dub the scrap heap. It’s always worth exploring players such as these; just imagine where the Yankees might have been if they hadn’t taken fliers on guys like Bartolo Colon, or Freddy Garcia.
Not every team has the same constraints.
I think this is easily my favorite point of the ones listed because it almost contradicts everything I’ve said thus far. Every team has a unique set of circumstances and priorities. It’s not much of a secret that the Yankees have more money than God any other team and can absorb bad contracts easier than anyone else. There seems to be an understood payroll cap of approximately $200M, but if Cashman decided to go on a shopping spree and landed the final payroll at $220M, would any of us honestly be surprised?
The Yankeees will undoubtedly be in the mix for every big named free agent and trade rumor. Much of this is marketing and/or the Yankees simply exploring their options. Even though the Yankees could theoretically make some of these maneuvers, it’s not necessarily in their best interest. The team should look to improve areas that need improving — as much as I’d like Fielder on the team, another DH just isn’t practical.
That’s all for now. I’m sure there are some other good thoughts on the matter that I’ve forgotten. Feel free to jot down your thoughts on the post, the offseason, or whatever else is on your mind.
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