Yankees Brian Cashman and the judgment of the present hour
Life is a Series of Hellos and Goodbyes
It seems that Divine Providence intervened to make Fowler his most valuable, and expendable, at the exact time Cashman wanted to make this trade. And true to form, Cash crafted a trade with his friend, Beane, that is good for both clubs.
For instance, Dustin Fowler saw his Yankees prospect ranking recently raised to fourth. That’s partly due to his play this year, but also because some higher ranked players were just traded. And numbers have power.
Also, he got hurt before he could hit. That means his offensive possibilities live on in the undiscovered country, where all things are possible. But he did show grit and heart to all the world. Every team wants a player like that. Fowler is a major league outfielder, and his inclusion ensures this trade is not a bust for the Athletics.
And Who doesn’t Want a Surfeit?
But the Yankees have a surfeit of outfielders both on the team and the farm. Fowler is not better than Judge or Frazier. And he’s not better than the 2017 Yankees version of Aaron Hicks, while Gardy looks likely to finish his contract wearing pinstripes.
Dustin would make an ideal fourth outfielder, but both Jake Cave and Billy McKinney look equally ready to fill that role. And below him is Florial, whom the Yankees have made clear they think is the best of their remaining outfield prospects.
And keeping Florial really showed Brian at his best. The Yankees grade him out higher than Fowler, which means the Athletics probably did, as well. And he’s been hot lately. Yet Cash got his “friend” Billy to take a less-talented player who just suffered a major injury.
Boom or Bust
James Kaprielian is another perfect trade piece for both sides. The Yankees need to clear roster spots and the vast majority of their remaining top 30 prospects are pitchers. Plus, Kap has been a professional for two years and lost both seasons to injury.
But if these two years prove a fluke, Beane just acquired a front line pitcher…if. And he might start pitching like an ace as soon as the middle of next year. Or he could prove to be inherently fragile. Either way, he’s the only pitcher in the deal, meaning Cash traded a maybe (Kap) for a yes (Gray).
Will Luck Follow Speed?
Jorge Mateo will play in the majors. His speed is incredibly valuable and adds an umatcheable skill that can help a team win a championship. It seems likely, however, that he will be a professional pinch runner. He is the player you see on a highlight and think, what a great player; at least until you see his slash.
Mateo has had two good weeks in the last two years. He continues to try to be the next Rickey Henderson instead of focusing on having the highest OBP in the game. If he wants to get 500 at-bats and play in 148 games in the bigs, he will have to either improve dramatically or change his approach. That seems less likely every year.
Mateo is more of a distant dream than a true future star. But if he does turn it around, he has superstar talent. Two-word letters don’t get much bigger than the first one in that last sentence. And that means that Cash traded three guys with more arrows pointing down than up, right now, for a young front line pitcher.
But his foresight did not end there.