Since the 4:00 p.m. trade deadline slam down on the 2014 season everyone is clamoring about two things: What the Red Sox did and what the Yankees didn’t do. The Red Sox sold off team ace Jon Lester and outfielder Johnny Gomes to the Oakland A’s in exchange for star slugger Yoenis Cespedes and traded John Lackey to the Cardinals for outfielder and first baseman Allen Craig and pitcher Joe Kelly. As a fan of baseball it was awesome. They saw the season was over and they reshaped the roster for next year. They brought in three stars for the price of two starting pitchers. But, as a fan of the Yankees I knew what would come. The constant and annoying media sounding off about how the Yankees should’ve done the same thing and how we’re stuck in our ways and all that good stuff. The Yankees traded minor league catcher/first baseman Peter O’Brien for an excellent utility man, both in defense and on offense, Martin Prado and they swapped the constant cause for me running out of Advil, Kelly Johnson to the Red Sox in exchange for Stephen Drew (Yeah. That Stephen Drew). They were two good moves, but of course everybody thinks we should be more like the Red Sox. Yeah. Okay. I’ll get right on that.
A statement on ESPN New York this morning said this “Maybe a package of Robertson and O’Brien, perhaps with Francisco Cervelli thrown in, could have fetched a Cespedes or even a Lester…” Well, while we’re pretending I’ll go call up the Angels and we’ll trade Ichiro for Mike Trout straight up but they’ll have to throw in a unicorn and the map leading to Atlantis to make it a fair deal. There are at least three things wrong with that proposed trade (The Robertson one not the theoretical one with the unicorn). One, the Red Sox gave up Jon Lester, an established ace and post-season warrior and Jonny Gomes, an established mouth piece and solid player both in the postseason and regular season, in exchange for Cespedes. The other problem is NOBODY KNEW CESPEDES WAS AVAILABLE UNTIL HE WAS GONE! Nobody! It shocked the baseball world. The Athletics are World Series favorites and World Series favorites don’t normally trade their cleanup hitter. So how would the Yankees even be in a position to consider the slugging outfielder as an option for a trade that never would’ve worked? As for Lester… use your own common sense on this one. Were the Red Sox really going to trade their home grown ace the their ancient rivals. I don’t think so!
As a whole, the Yankees don’t sell. In baseball, selling is taking stars and trading them for prospects to develop and potentially turn into stars. The Yankees are not in a position to sell. Their biggest stars, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Mark Teixeira, etc., all have full no trade clauses and most of them are in the first year of multi-year deals. You know who sells players after one year under contract? The Marlins or as they’re commonly referred to now a days the Blue Jays. “Well you could trade Ichiro and Johnson and Roberts and Robertson and that guy and this guy.” That’s not selling. It’s not. Nobody wants Ichiro, Johnson (Except the Sox) or Roberts (DFA’d to make room for Prado) and what are you going to get for Robertson? A few decent prospects and a gamble that Betances can close? Robertson has been doing a great job and it’s not fair to him or anyone else to compare him to Mariano Rivera because nobody is Mariano Rivera. Robertson is the closer and we have to deal with that. If I woke up on the morning of the Trade Deadline and the Yankees sold off all their best players for the best prospects in the game of baseball I’d be pretty mad. You can’t bank on prospects not even the best. Rick Ankiel was once ranked among the best pitching prospects in all of the world. Boy, we hit the nail on the head with that one.
Look, nobody is more upset to see Robinson Cano play for the Mariners than me, but I don’t think there was anyone who thought he wouldn’t sign back with the Yankees. So a year later it’s a moot point (And a dumb one too) to say “Oh we should’ve traded Cano a year ago and gotten something back.” A year ago would we have wanted that? No! Of course not. If I have to read one more article talking about how the Yankees shouldn’t sign players because they’re aging and long term deals don’t work I think my head will explode. Everyone praised the Mariners for signing Cano, who is 31, to a 10-year deal. Do you think he’s going to be that good when he’s 41? Of course not and if he is he’s either magic or the greatest player baseball has ever seen. Everyone praised Detroit for locking up 31-year-old Miguel Cabrera for the next decade. No offense to Cabrera (I am a big fan of his) but he’s not exactly a shining example of a physical specimen and he’s dealt with his fair share of injuries over the past couple of years. Did anyone call it a bad move? Nope, nothing wrong with that one! If you’re going to scold one team then scold the others or it’s just an attack on the boys in the Bronx.
Why do we praise the Red Sox? They’re the model franchise because they won the World Series with more or less replacement players? That makes them great? I’m not going lie, but last year was something pretty special, but there was a bit of luck thrown into it. Still, it was special and everyone knows it. So now whatever the Red Sox do all of baseball should do? How does that make any sense? They traded Lester and Gomes for Cespedes and that was great. Absolutely great. But let’s not start acting like it’s what needs to be done all around. Sorry Red Sox fans, but Lester is set to hit the free agent market and guess who’s going to come calling with saddle bags full of money? I’ll give you a hint it’s not the Athletics. No it’s your old friends who’ve stolen Boggs and Damon and Ellsbury and that Ruth guy. The Yankees will be right there and trading Lester prevents anyone from getting a draft pick for him. It won’t be too pretty if ends up in pinstripes. Oh and Cespedes, that clause in his contract that prevents a qualifying offer from being extended to him that won’t be favorable either. After 2015 La Potenisa will be a free agent and the Yankees, who have been on him since he left Cuba will be right there fitting him for pinstripes. That’s the way it works. Just because a system works for one team doesn’t means it works for another.
Lets be honest. David Price, Jon Lester or Yoenis Cespedes were never going to be traded to the Yankees. Why would we sell at the deadline? One bad season and everyone wants to blow the thing sky high? If you buy a house and put in time, money and energy and all the sudden the roof starts leaking are you going to say “Oh wow I think we tear down the house.”? No. you wouldn’t. You’d say “Well, time to fix the roof.” The Yankees roster is loaded and we had a rough go of it. Injuries plagued us once again and some players have had off years. It happens. But the main foundation for this team is built and it’s going to get better next year (Another thing a sports journal says won’t happen for some reason). When you’re done reading this, take a look at the stacked free agent market coming up. I’d bet my life savings (All $60 of it) that they’ll be a few stars putting on pinstripes over the off season. We’re Yankees fans. We don’t root for rebuilding. Nobody tells the Yankees how to run a team. We are The Team. Let’s remember that. Play ball baseball fans!