31 Jul 2007
It’s interesting, but as I have heard the Yankees and Brian Cashman repeatedly bashed on the airwaves the past few hours, it has made me more sure than ever that Cashman is doing the right thing.
I have been saying in this space for years that the Yankees have to get younger and they certainly did so today, trading a 30-year old middle reliever for a 25-year old third baseman. No, it wasn’t a sexy deal, but it gives the Yankees a nice bat off the bench who might be able to play some first as well.
Yes, Proctor will be missed, but let’s face it, the bloom was off the rose. The guy who dazzled us last year wasn’t the same this year. Last year he walked 33 in 102 IP, this year he has given out 29 walks in 54. His strikeout rate is way down as well. Hey, I loved watching the guy and I really admired his toughness, but you have to wonder if Torre’s overusing him has finished his career. I certainly hope not because he deserves better, but I think the Yankees got good value for a guy who could very well be hitting the downside quickly.
And yes, it is tough to sit here today and see that Boston acquired Eric Gagne, but they are in a position where they should make trades like that. They have the best record in the AL and are clearly gunning for a title. They have an eight-game division lead and they are willing to pay an expensive price for a rental. The Yankees are four-games back of a playoff spot and giving up on some of the young pitchers now would not be smart. Let me put it to you this way, if October rolled around and the Yankees missed the playoffs with Gagne, what would you have thought of that deal then?
Instead Cashman chose to try a different plan. The Yankees are already getting two significant pieces back in the next week or so, Hughes and Giambi. Maybe Chamberlain, maybe Ramirez, maybe Britton maybe no one can fill the bullpen role that they needed filled. But, they have kept all of their chips for another day. That may be the smartest thing of all. This offseason could be devastating with the losses of Rivera, Posada and A-Rod, so the Yankees might just need some chips to trade for a new closer, catcher and third baseman. I don’t know if Gagne would have helped them get over the hump in 2007, but I do know the prospects they kept will help them in 2008 when Gagne is back to closing for another team.
Plus, the Indians didn’t make any moves today and they are the team the Yankees have to catch and as much as you don’t want to see Gagne in Boston, it would be worse if he went to Cleveland.
The one thing I will knock Cashman on is not dumping Farnsworth, but it is a small knock. I assume he didn’t want to trade Proctor and Farnsworth without getting back someone for the pen and I bet he just couldn’t do that. Plus, you can always send him though waivers if he doesn’t improve his performance and attitude and if a team does claim him, you can just let him go.
Looking at the big picture, I would say Atlanta and Boston are clearly the winners, but I can’t find anyone else who really won. On the losing side, it’s also hard to identify a clear loser, but I have to wonder what the Pirates were doing grabbing Matt Morris and his entire contract.