You might’ve been upset and frustrated with Luis Cessa at times during his tenure with the New York Yankees, but there’s no doubt he gradually improved ever since debuting in 2016.
And his struggles weren’t entirely his fault. In classic Yankees fashion, the team jerked him around between the rotation and bullpen before he became a full-time reliever. From 2016-2018, out of his 43 total games, Cessa made 19 starts and finished 13 games. What kind of formula to develop a pitcher is that?
Then, when he finally looked like he’d be carving out a meaningful role for himself in the bullpen, the Yankees traded him in a “salary dump” trade with the Cincinnati Reds. “Salary dump” is in quotes because the Yankees never ended up spending the money that they saved … which was under $5 million total between 2021 and 2022 when they offloaded Justin Wilson.
Yup … a $5 billion franchise parting with a potential asset to save the equivalent value of a Nintendo Switch for us common folk. Are you still wondering why fans are incessantly angry?
If you felt the desire to get even more frustrated about a transaction that occurred five months ago, you better believe we have you covered.
On top of this trade giving fans more ammo to scream the Yankees are “cheap,” it once again indicated that the front office doesn’t value team chemistry. Cessa is famously good friends with a number of Yankees players. And you mean to tell us this didn’t affect team morale down the stretch?
Yankees-Reds Luis Cessa trade proves New York doesn’t value team chemistry.
This offseason, a number of Yankees, including Nestor Cortes Jr., were at Cessa’s wedding. Most recently, he was vacationing in Hawaii with Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres. We’ve seen him out and about with Gio Urshela and Aroldis Chapman a number of times in the past, too.
The Yankees never needed to trade Cessa, and could’ve fully avoided potentially playing yet another role in deemphasizing chemistry in the clubhouse. We don’t know if they did for sure, but it’s not out of the question to speculate from an emotional perspective. When one of your good friends leaves a job you’re both working at, you’re not happy, are you?
We can go back to suppressing our emotions and look at the stats now. Sorry about that. Before the trade, Cessa had a career-best 2.82 ERA and 3.56 FIP in 29 games with the Yankees. That’s an actual productive relief pitcher.
When he arrived in Cincinnati? Those numbers improved to 2.05 and 3.13 across 24 games with the Reds. He finished the year with a 2.51 ERA, 180 ERA+, 1.14 WHIP and 0.7 HR/9, all of which were career bests. He struck out 54 batters in 64.2 innings (53 total games).
The team decided to trade a player performing that well just to erase a mistake they were responsible for a few months earlier. For every good move the Yankees make, it feels like three bad ones are quick to follow.