While the ball club was sputtering along to a 3-3 week, the New York Yankees’ front office got aggressive. The big news came on the international front where the Yankees signed nine of the top 30 international free agent on the first day. They clearly took huge efforts in the first step of rebuilding the farm system, including locking up shortstop Dermis Garcia who was number one overall on the Top 30 international prospect list.
Sunday was a busy day as well. First, they shipped off the struggling Vidal Nuno for Brandon McCarthy. Then they designated veteran Alfonso Soriano for assignment bringing an end to his second stint in the Bronx. Were these the right moves? The Bronx is boiling and I need to blow some steam.
SUNDAY’S MOVES ARE A BIT PUZZLING
I have been the biggest proponent to mixing up this roster. I think now, more than ever, is the time to cut ties with some of the old guys and see what our 20th ranked farm system can do. At the very least, the Yankees will know where they stand. After all, the Yankees are one game over .500, it’s not like they are ruling the American League just yet.
There are a lot of problems with this roster, but I’m not sure Soriano was the first one that needed to be addressed. Soriano has proven over his decade and a half run in the bigs that he is one of the streakiest hitters in baseball. We saw that first hand at the end of last season. The problem with Soriano is actually Carlos Beltran. Beltran can’t throw a baseball, and the glaring reality is that he is most likely done from outfield duties for the rest of this season. This in turn has made him the full-time DH and has severely limited Soriano’s at bats. So the Yankees kept a damaged Beltran with essentially the same numbers and nearly the same age and let Soriano walk. In response they recalled 28-year old pitcher Bruce Billings who will likely be sent down Monday to make room for Shane Greene.
Was Soriano slumping? Sure, but not much more than Beltran. Does Soriano fit in the future plans for the Yankees? Probably not, but there is a chance that this move comes back to hurt the Yanks. Soriano surges in the second half, and the Yanks are going to need a huge second half push to stay relevant. With players like Kelly Johnson and Brian Roberts struggling and Francisco Cervelli throwing away games on the roster, I just don’t see why Soriano was the first to go.
A lot of people are happy about the Brandon McCarthy trade, but I just don’t get it. He is certainly an upgrade over Vidal Nuno, but let’s face reality, folks, you or I were a better fit than Vidal Nuno. Those praising the move have been saying to overlook the horrid 3-10 record and not to worry too much about the 5.01 ERA because his peripheral stats are what really matters and they are solid. The same people who like the trade will tell you he has a great track record against the AL East, which may in fact be true.
So let me play devil’s advocate. McCarthy hasn’t pitched in the AL in two seasons. His numbers are skewed because the rosters are very different from the last time he faced AL teams with any regularity. If you want to discuss peripheral stats, lets take a look at some scary numbers. Right now, no pitcher has allowed more hits in baseball than McCarthy. No pitcher in baseball has allowed more earned runs than McCarthy’s 62. The most alarming number is that over his league leading 18 starts, McCarthy has already allowed 15 home runs. Sure, he does have a nice strikeout to walk ratio, but those numbers, especially the home runs, are a bit worrisome coming to the hitter-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium. If you want to say that his ERA and losses are bloated because some fielding/ pitching statistic says he’s been a bit unlucky, then the Yankees’ infield is no place to go to improve your luck.
The Yankees missed out on Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, and for the price Theo Epstein wanted, I don’t blame them. Rumor has is the Cubs wanted Gary Sanchez, Ian Clarkin, and Luis Severino for the two pitchers and that is entirely too much. So going after a buy-low guy like McCarthy wasn’t terrible, but it didn’t improve the Yankees all that much. So, what can the Yankees do to improve their current situation?
If the Yankees truly believe that some of their prospects are too good to be traded, then start using them. It’s time to roll with one of the catching prospects over Cervelli. It’s time to see Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela in pinstripes and be done with Roberts and Johnson. The Yankees have young players ready to roll, so it’s time to use them. If they don’t want to use them, then trade them. As awful as the Yankees first half has been, they still have a chance to come out of the East. The Phillies are going to be sellers, so why not go after a Cole Hamels with a Gary Sanchez/ Greg Bird package? But if the Yankees feel their prospects are too good to deal, then it is time to rejuvenate this roster and give the kids a chance.