Yankees Editorial: Will Brian Cashman regret offseason deals?


Before Spring Training a season ago, Derek Jeter announced that 2014 would be his last year playing baseball, ending a storied career as one of the greatest shortstops the game has ever seen.  Jeter’s early announcement gave GM Brian Cashman and the New York Yankees over a year to prepare for something they haven’t had to do in 20 years, find a new shortstop.

On December 5, 2014, months before Spring Training, the Yankees filled this void, acquiring Didi Gregorius from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-team trade, which saw the Yankees send Shane Greene to the Detroit Tigers.

Greene, who debuted out of nowhere with a strong rookie season in 2014, has been one of the best pitchers in baseball.  Following his start versus the Chicago White Sox on Sunday, he has an ERA of 0.39.  He has only allowed one earned run in 23 IP across three starts, allowing just 12 hits, as opponents are batting a miniscule .160 against him.

Gregorius, however, has struggled mightily at the heavy task of replacing a Yankees legend.  Through his first 11 games in pinstripes, Gregorius is hitting .189 (7-37) with an OPS of .414.  He has no extra-base hits, eight strikeouts and only one walk.  While the Yankees knew his bat was a work in progress, he has also committed an error, and has had several inexcusable blunders on the bases.

While both Greene and Gregorius are young players, and the season is only two weeks old, it looks like the Yankees might have made a colossal mistake by trading Greene.  While a shortstop was needed, there was no bigger question mark than the rotation, and there were other shortstop options out there.

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To replace Greene, exactly two weeks later, on December 19, the Yankees acquired Nathan Eovaldi, Garrett Jones, and minor-leaguer Domingo German from the Miami Marlins for David Phelps, Martin Prado, and cash.  While Eovaldi has struggled through two starts, Jones has performed well in limited time.  Phelps has also struggled, largely due to one poor performance out of the bullpen, but was strong in his one start.  Prado has been his usual consistent self, as he hit for a solid .277 average, far better than Stephen Drew, who is playing the second base position Prado likely would have manned.

This trade is also too early to judge, but considering the cost it took to get Prado, minor league slugger Peter O’Brien, it is likely that the Yankees lose this trade.  Prado is the ultimate utility player, but O’Brien possesses power that is lacked throughout baseball.  After hitting 34 home runs in 2014, O’Brien already has three in just ten games to start the 2015 season.  He also has posted a video game like slash-line of .375/.390/.700.

While the season is still very young, and most players involved have several years of team control remaining, it is unlikely that Cashman doesn’t look back on at least one of these deals with some sort of regret.  With O’Brien looking dominant in AAA, and the Yankees lacking power, his bat could be used.  Surely, this is a thought that Yankees fans will think for a long time if he, along with Greene, is able to keep up the production.

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