When Jeff Passan feels the need to go on an impassioned critique of a team's wrongdoings, it's hard to deny the validity of whatever he's saying. Passan is far from the all-too-common knee-jerky talking heads that dominate sports media, especially when it comes to coverage of the New York Yankees.
But at this point, even someone who possesses the patience and tact of Passan can't hold back. The Yankees are terrible. They are a dreadful watch. And everything the fans have been complaining about for years has ended up being exactly what's wrong with the current roster.
Passan appeared on The Michael Kay Show last week to talk about the team as well as general manager Brian Cashman, after his press conference during the series against the Nationals during which he called the Yankees' season a "disaster."
Though Passan actually backed some of Cashman's moves, such as trading for Giancarlo Stanton and re-signing DJ LeMahieu, he had nothing but scorn for one particular roster decision that undoubtedly played a role in torpedoing the Yankees these last two seasons.
The Josh Donaldson-Isiah Kiner-Falefa trade received zero points from the ESPN MLB insider, as did the team's drafting over the last 15 years.
Jeff Passan ripping Brian Cashman is smoking gun for Yankees’ failures
"The Donaldson trade was terrible. That was bad from the jump. I think the Donaldson trade was bad from the start because the Yankees knew just how poorly he was getting along with people in Minnesota. There was some toxicity going on there. I don’t think you can look at the Donaldson trade in any positive way.- Jeff Passan, The Michael Kay Show
To me, the cause of all of this – of the necessity to go out and get out of these guys – the greatest place you can criticize the Yankees over the last 15 years is their drafts."
Very much hard to argue with that. The Donaldson trade was spurred by the Yankees' unwillingness to non-tender Gary Sánchez. The organization had lamented the difficulties of adding another burdensome contract to their payroll, yet they took on Donaldson's ~$50 million and IKF's $10 million in exchange for Sánchez and Gio Urshela. Not only has Urshela been worlds better than Donaldson over that span, but the Yankees helped the Twins clear payroll to sign Carlos Correa.
The aging curve hit Donaldson harder than ever, and he's been a net-negative for this team when considering all factors. Again, Cashman made this trade likely knowing Donaldson's prickly personality that he experienced firsthand when the slugger called out Gerrit Cole the season prior for the pitcher's sticky stuff usage.
And the draft? All you need to know is this -- Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge are the only two players drafted under Cashman's 25-year reign that have exceeded 2.5 WAR in pinstripes. The only other one who's exceeded 2.0? Anthony Volpe.
If Passan's sounding this alarm, then maybe Cashman was right when he said everybody -- including himself -- would be evaluated in the offseason. Nobody in this regime should be safe after how many disastrous failures have occurred since 2010.