The emotional roller coaster we fans have called the New York Yankees’ 2014 season saw yet another typical week. They started the week getting beaten down by the first place Baltimore Orioles and finished the week taking two big wins from the surging Tampa Bay Rays. The inconsistencies of this bunch have been enough to put an old man in the hospital and give the younger fan an ulcer.
Despite the talk heating up that it’s Joe Girardi’s time to leave, we must remember this isn’t George’s team. The loyalty the younger Steinbrenner’s show to their top men has been baffling at times. A lot of people think that Brian Cashman has worn out his welcome as well. Well, I’m here to tell you it could be a lot worse. The Bronx is boiling, and I need to blow some steam.
THE BEST MOVE CASHMAN NEVER MADE
The Yankees needed to go out and make a splash at the trading deadline to bolster the team’s depth and depleted starting rotation. None of the moves were extraordinary, yet they all seem to be doing alright for the time being. Brandon McCarthy has been sensational and even Chris Capuano, still searching for his first Yankee win, hasn’t pitched all that terribly. Martin Prado and Chase Headley haven’t knocked the cover off the ball, but they have been steady thus far since joining the team. Stephen Drew is proving to be what every Yankees second baseman has been this whole season: a waste of space.
The Yanks big brass came under some scrutiny for not pulling off the big move. Reports after the deadline told us that they were blocked by the Red Sox and Tampa Rays for going after Jon Lester and David Price. But why didn’t they make the play on a Cole Hamels type? The asking price was too much especially when it came to Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. It could go down as Brian Cashman’s best move ever and it was because he didn’t make it.
Since the Oakland As acquired Samardzija and Hammel, they have gone from best team in the AL and odds on World Series favorites to tied for first. They mortgaged one of the best up and coming shortstops in Addison Russell to get two pitchers who have been mediocre at best. Had this happened in New York, Cashman would have been hanging from the George Washington Bridge.
The rumors were that Theo Epstein wanted Gary Sanchez, Ian Clarkin and Aaron Judge with a Luis Severino being thrown around as part of a package to get the two righties which, at the onset, looked as if it would appear to fix the Yankees rotation woes. This is a new era for Cashman apparently. I don’t remember a time where he coveted a prospect as not to unload him (or them) for veteran players, especially All-Stars. Perhaps their was a short window in 2007 when Joba Chamberlain was off the market, but let’s remember just a few seasons ago that the Yankees dumped their highest rated prospect in years (Jesus Montero) for a guy with a losing record and one full season under his belt.
I had never been a fan of either of Samardzija or Hammel, so when the prospect of a trade came up, I was worried about what the future held. When Cashman said no, I was rather impressed. Samardzija was 2-7 before the trade but had an astounding 2.83 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 105 innings pitched, or roughly 8.6 strikeouts per nine. He earned a trip to the All-Star Game, but wasn’t allowed to pitch since he made it as a Cub and had just been traded to the A’s.
Since the trade he is 3-2, but his ERA is beginning to rise to 3.21 and his strikeouts, which have been his claim to fame over the years, are at the lowest rate they have been since 2010 (roughly 6.4 per nine innings). Hammel has self-imploded since returning to the AL. He put together a nice first half for the Cubs, going 8-5 with a 2.98 ERA and 104 strikeouts over 108 innings. Since joining the As he has been absolutely abysmal. He is 1-5 with a 6.75 ERA and just 21 strikeouts in 32 innings. Even more frightening is that he has walked 17 batters and, after allowing ten home runs in the entire first half with Chicago, he has already allowed 9 home runs in 32 AL innings. Could you imagine him in Yankee Stadium?
So while we sit here and watch the Yankees go out and beat first place clubs and playoff bound teams one week and struggle with irrelevant teams and divisional foes the next, let’s all remember, it could be a heck of a lot worse. We could have had two pitchers come in that would have arguably made us worse and have nothing to look forward to in the future with 80 percent of our elite prospects gone in the deal. Talk about a tough time trying to win over Yankees fans. The past few years, Cash has been lambasted for nearly every move he made and here I am praising him for the one he didn’t.