Yankees Brian Cashman and Giancarlo Stanton skin Derek Jeter alive
The Yankees were able to add the National League MVP to their already dangerous lineup at little cost. Marlins owner Derek Jeter may have botched this one, but history suggests he will soon improve.
The Yankees top draft pick in 1992 and number six overall, spent his first season in the minors committing 42 errors. He got better. Through work, focus, and desire to be his best, Derek Jeter went on to win five Gold Gloves.
Now, in his rookie season as an owner, Jeets has committed almost as many errors as he did for the Yankees in ’92. And that is just with how he handled trading Giancarlo Stanton.
Trading Giancarlo should have not only provided financial relief but also restocked the farm. That might seem like too much, but teams do it every year. The Yankees and Cubs serve as good recent examples.
Last season, Brian Cashman traded much of the Yankees high-priced talent, freed up cash, and acquired talent at the same time. That’s a tall order, however, for a man with a full no-trade. It would have taken a Hall of Fame effort.
Unfortunately, for the Marlins, DJ is not quite ready for an owner’s bust in Cooperstown.
All warfare is based on deception
Derek started the parade of mistakes by letting everyone in the world know he was desperate to slash payroll. While I was tempted to turn to a bevy of quotes from Sun Tzu and Robert E. Lee, I will merely allude to them.
It is a rare time indeed when a leader announces his battle plans to his opponents, and this should not have been one of those times. Worse, he let Stanton know he either accept a trade or suffer through a rebuild.
What Jeter wanted to do was be much more vague about his intentions. Yes, they want to trade Stanton, but only with the right deal. And they are willing to wait until the trade deadline, which should have been true.
Instead, Derek practically held a press conference to let everyone know the Marlins WILL be slashing payroll. Jeets never let them see him sweat on the diamond, but he has been pouring flop sweat since he sat in the owner’s chair.
And he should have never threatened Stanton. That put all the leverage in Giancarlo’s hands. Those large manos of fate already clutched a full no-trade, all the more reason to massage the situation.
Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night
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The approach should have been to motivate Stanton to want to leave. That’s what Cashman is trying to do with Jacoby Ellsbury.
To that end, Jeets should have started by getting rid of the other players he wanted to trade first, for several reasons.
One, he could have created ascending trade value. Dee Gordon brought back the Mariners’ number two and number five prospects. Christian Yelich would bring back a better package, as would Marcel Ozuna. Make those trades and then step back for a week or two and let teams start to bid against each other, without even making Stanton available.
Now, teams will try to low-ball Jeter and the Marlins. Their desperation is palpable and they already accepted a small return for their best asset.
To be fair, I would not quite call this a pure salary dump, as some are. Jorge Guzman has a big league arm and three solid pitches already. And, Starlin Castro will be turned into at least one or two promising prospects, plus a throw-in.
Still, Jeter has established a poor precedent. Who is going to give up their best prospects when they know, they merely have to threaten to slow play Jeter?
The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting
Next, Stanton made it clear he did not want to suffer through another rebuild. Jeter should have used that to wage psychological warfare. As mentioned, by trading away the team, he might have motivated Stanton to request a trade.
Being last in the division on July 1 can have a sobering effect.
Additionally, Jeter should have announced that in the interest of protecting their best asset, Stanton was going to be limited to 120 games in the field each year. He has a history of injury, so there is nothing fishy about that.
But it would have meant a loss of a lot of playing time in a league without a DH. And playing time is everything.
Had Jeter done those things, he might have put pressure on Stanton to expand his list of destinations. Instead, threats made him shrink that list. Good for the Yankees, bad for the Marlins.
Thus the expert in battle moves the enemy and is not moved by him
But what Jeter really needed was to win his fight with new co-owner Bruce Sherman. I’m sure Sherman mandated the payroll decrease as a condition for Jeter’s ascendance. It is Jeter, however, who knows that baseball is longer than a Russian winter.
And that baseball’s best warriors are just as cold.
The smart baseball moves would have been to strip the team down around Giancarlo and limit his playing time in the first half. If he arrived at the beginning of July with fewer than 250 AB’s, he might have added quite a few teams to his approved list.
Then, Jeter might have been able to trade Stanton for both money and prospects. And rebuilt the Marlins into a contending club quickly.
Right now the plan seems obvious: spend so little that the organization makes money even in an empty building. And there’s nothing wrong with that when your team is drowning in debt.
But a better front office person could have turned chicken dump into chicken soup. Instead, Jeter has made baseball fans around the country sick.
Next: Yankees and Major League Baseball Arrive at a Crossroads
Not in the Bronx, though. There, Jeter has Yankees’ fans dancing in the streets; best to enjoy that dancing now. Because, just as Derek overcame his initial fielding errors to earn #RE2PECT, he is just as likely to learn quickly in his new role. And master the position.
You can bet his mistakes and attendant criticism sting his pride. While his only goal now is to guide his new team to a World Series, the dream must be to meet the Yankees there.
Funny, that sounds like Stanton’s dream, too.