The New York Yankees did it to themselves again, picking the absolute worst possible trade partner when faced with a conundrum.
First, it was Adam Ottavino to the Red Sox. Surely his sweeping breaking balls wouldn’t come back to haunt the Yankees’ righty-heavy lineup! Dumb, dumb, dumb. They also opened the door to a Garrett Whitlock departure for good measure.
Then, as if on cue, New York DFA’d Mike Ford and found the one spot for him that makes us suspicious about whether he has more in the tank.
On Thursday, Brian Cashman sent Ford, a patient lefty with power (though he rarely showed it this year) to the Tampa Bay Rays, where he will surely kill them down the stretch and beyond.
Right now, Ford’s at Triple-A Durham huddling up with Mike Brosseau on how exactly to enact vengeance on Bombers who’ve wronged him.
Want to bet Ford starts getting balls and strikes called properly on him now that he’s shed his Yankee pinstripes?
Why did the Yankees have to trade Mike Ford to the Rays?
First, it was the guy who said he could strike out Babe Ruth. Now it’s the guy ESPN compared to Babe Ruth. Just wonderful.
Do not allow us to mince words: since 2019, Ford has been awful in the Bronx, posting dueling OPS+ marks of 38 and 59. He’s batted both .135 and .133 with very few instances of his trademark light-tower power mixed in.
Rest assured, though, the literal only scenario where I’d be scared of him involves Rays Devil Magic (or Red Sox Video Room Access), and lo and behold, Cashman let it happen again.
Would we rather have Chris Gittens on the MLB roster than Ford? Yes. Would I rather Ford be anywhere but Tampa? HARD yes. Hardest yes.
Ford’s 2019, spent as a fill-in with the Bombers, was quite special; he was truly a “Next Man Up” to be reckoned with, slashing .259/.350/.559 in 143 at-bats, rocking 12 homers. We’ll never forget those contributions.
After that season, though, things began to get stranger. The strike zone seemed to expand for umpires behind the plate, robbing him of his legendary patience. The swing looked longer; he made less and less hard contact. His personal trainer started yelling at the Yankees’ front office. Without the walks and the pop, Ford provided very little other than a semi-natural first baseman after Jay Bruce’s retirement.
That said, he’s going to rake in Tampa Bay at least 18 times a year. Ji-Man Choi redux.