Yankees have one last chance to learn their lesson from Jorge Mateo
Attitude is Everything
Last year at this time Jorge was the Yankees 3rd ranked prospect and 18th overall. But he was also in the middle of a disappointing year. Mateo spent most of 2015 hitting only .268/.338/.378. But he did steal 82 bases. He did worse than regress, however, in 2016, by slashing a mere .254/.306/.379, while stealing fewer than half as many bases (36).
Worse yet, he began to show that he has an attitude problem and plays accordingly. His abilities got him named to the Futures Game last year; his position forced the Yankees to suspend him and miss playing in that game. He was not nominated for it this year.
The Yankees should have traded Mateo then. And if not last year, at least this off-season. They had the far better Gleyber Torres in the fold, with Didi and Starlin already on the team. They were always going to have to trade at least one or two of these players and should have focused on Jorge if for no other reason than his attitude.
He Who Hesitates
Instead, they waited. And now it might be too late; too late to get maximum value, at least. Within the last two weeks, those who rank minor league players finally saw what everyone but they and the Yankees had seen for almost two years: Jorge Mateo is not a top talent.
MLB moved Mateo down to the team’s eighth best prospect and out of the top 100.
So much for his trade value. He is a throw in piece now, instead of the player the team can build a trade around. And since they did not trade Mateo when he was a top prospect, they now have to trade an actual top player. If the Yankees trade Esteval Florial this year, it’s because they failed to trade Mateo last year.