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Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRider's Aaron Judge before a game against the Charlotte Knights at PNC Field in Moosic, Pa. on Tuesday, June 7, 2016. Photo by Martin Griff


Yankees Prospects: To Trade or Not to Trade

My Twitter timeline has settled down a bit, after quite an eruption Tuesday after it was announced the Boston Red Sox had obtained Chicago White Sox star left-hander Chris Sale.

The price: Heralded prospect Yoan Moncada, significant pitching prospect Michael Kopech plus outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe and and pitcher Vicor Diaz, who have not performed above Class A. Boston President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski did this because he felt winning now was more important than waiting for the above-four to get to Fenway Park.

Dombrowski also took this route when he was in a similar position with Detroit, trading prospects for veterans in an effort to turn a rather good club a World Series champion. He fell short, totally devaluing the Tigers farm system. Given another chance, he unloaded Moncada, the $61 million man, and three other possible future stars,

The Yankees did similar things in the past, as George Steinbrenner often instigated trades that sent prospects to other clubs on an effort to have an All-Star at every position. Not until George’s suspension fr9m 1990-93, did Gene Michael shift the focus to the farm system, which produced the Core Four and others who delivered six World Series titles between 1996-2003.

There were some smart trades, led by Michael sending Roberto Kelly to Cincinnati for Paul O’Neill, who blossomed into a superstar in New York, and pitcher Kenny Rogers, who never fit New York, to Seattle for infielder Scott Brosius, who had a superlative four years in Pinstripes.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is a student of Michael’s, who he holds close as an advisor. The two have a tight relationship, which includes fun and banter, bur few know talent as Michael does. He has infused that knowledge into Cashman’s way of looking at things.

Does that mean the Yankees will never trade a prospect under Cashman? Of course not. Bur he believes players including Greg Bird, Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, Chance Adams, Clint Frazier, Jorge Mateo and Gleyber Torres will form another winning “core” within the next few years.

Cashman is just one general manager who believes this, and, with the free-agent class not great this winter – making trades for starting pitchers and other key players a market he wants to avoid. We totally agree with that route.

Twitter, however, has thousands of Yankees general managers. They’ll trade Frasier, Judge, Bi5d and Severino for a Sale any day. They’ll spend millions to sign an Edwin Encarnaion, who might hit some hone runs, but would shove Bird to the bench for a number of years.

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That is not the Yankees plan at this point. It also is not how to build what Cashman wants to build. No doubt he wants to land either Aroldis Chapman or Kenley Jansen to close. Signing Matt Holliday for a year was solid, cost-effective move as well.

So criticize Chapman all you want, Twitter GMs. Praise Dombrowski as he ravages another farm system, Both have the same goal, but they come at it in different ways.

Is there a chance a player like Mateo could be traded? Sure, but the return has to make sense. Will the Yankees add a big free-agent if it makes sense? Absolutely.

Building most of your team from within is the way to go.


Written By

Have covered the Yankees and their system for over 20 years. I enjoy writing about future Yankees and where a prospect stands in the system. One rule: I only analyze and comment on prospects I have seen play and have talked to.

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