The first step of Yankees fandom is admitting you want everything and you have a problem. The second step of Yankees fandom is trying to reconcile your deep, abiding love of prospects with your life-affirming need for the team to make an impact transaction. Any impact transaction.
That makes weeks where the Yankees hold onto potential unicorn talent like Spencer Jones, rather than deal him for Corbin Burnes, particularly troublesome for fans in need of the Calm App.
Some seem to believe all prospects are expendable -- for the right price, or any price. Others angrily counter with the idea that the future should never be trifled with, but the team should also win now and in perpetuity. It should never slow down. The Yankees should operate like a Maserati with a brick tied to the gas pedal. But they should also be cautious? They should carefully navigate an expensive car that cannot stop. No, no, I've got you, loud and clear.
Which is why it often causes more harm than good to compare 16-year-old Jasson Dominguez to Mickey Mantle and Mike Trout, an unfair comp that was lorded over the teenager's head as he adjusted to pro ball (and promptly stopped mattering when he was elevated to the bigs and looked really good). The Yankees' decision to keep Jones out of Burnes and Dylan Cease trade talks, with his all-world exit velocities and a rarely matched Aaron Judge-ian body, has now been placed under the same microscope.
Will Jones be the team's center fielder of the future? Will he ever be able to thread the needle between creating in-zone lift with his tightly-coiled swing and popping up too often (when he doesn't whiff)? Who knows? But now, suddenly, he's not just Spencer Jones: Top Prospect. He's Spencer Jones: Future 30-30 guy ... or he better be, considering he let the Orioles get their hands on an ace. No, not Brian Cashman and his evaluators. He did that (per the complainers).
Yankees placing heavy burden on Spencer Jones after Corbin Burnes trade
Luckily for Aaron Judge, even he didn't have "Aaron Judge-like expectations" when he was ascending through the system. The sum total fans knew about him was that he was a larger-than-normal supplemental first-round pick who might hit for a spot of power if the stars aligned. Fresno State, right? Cape League? Man, I wish I knew his exit velocity numbers from Charleston, but that stadium just got equipped with lights, so ... probably not possible. Anyway, he hit 20 homers in his second pro year, which is ... fine?
Nowadays, hardcore fans are intensely hooked up to minor-league data they never would've dreamed of caring about 10 years ago. It's accessible to anyone with an intense desire to judge things too early. Lavishing outlandish praise on Jones -- while his fine-at-best counting numbers are there for everyone to see -- does more harm than good.
If someone's struggling to reconcile his batted ball data, "future 30-30 man" doesn't help clarify things. It just turns every devotee into an unreliable narrator.
And now, fold in the layer of comparing Jones to Joey Ortiz and DL Hall, the prospects who actually were traded for Burnes, and there's an additional mess. Some Yankee fans will never, ever entertain the idea that Ortiz, Hall and a draft pick represented a better fit for the Brewers. Some will maintain that Jones should be more appealing, while still believing he should've been dealt. Others still would like to keep him, sure, but would prefer he weren't referred to in the public square as a Judge clone (an impossibility, given his exact height and weight).
Jones could be the Yankees' future. But previous core members of the same future were allowed, once upon a time, to develop in silence.
Jones? He's been branded with one too many labels already, and you can add "Helped Send Corbin Burnes to the Orioles" into that mix. That won't help him much, either.