Looking back at the ones who got away goes both ways. This morning, Pinch Hitter Brian took a look at those players he’s rooting for because the Red Sox lost them, but let’s be honest, there are quite a few players scattered around baseball who the Yankees wish they had back.
This is a list of guys the Yankees would like to have still in pinstripes. As we’ll see, wishing they were still with the team isn’t the same as regretting letting them go.
Of course the Yankees would like to still have Montero in their system, but obviously they felt it was worth trading him away. Betemit is coming off a nice year with the White Sox, but there’s no way the Yankees regret trading him for Nick Swisher. Same applies for trading Jackson for Curtis Granderson. And Alberto Gonzalez makes the list strictly because I couldn’t come up with a better shortstop. There’s no regret about losing him.
There’s more regret with a guy like Tabata, who hasn’t emerged as a superstar but remains a very young player at a thin position for the Yankees. The fact he was lost in a regrettable trade obviously doesn’t help. Berkman and Cabrera are coming off big seasons, and maybe the Yankees wish they’d foreseen that, but how could they? Duncan and Paredes are far from everyday guys for the Yankees, but Duncan has become a solid, part-time power bat — a .484 slugging percentage making league minimum — and Paredes has become a so-so prospect since being traded to Houston.
Of course this list starts with Kennedy, but because he was a key part of the Granderson deal, the Yankees can’t second guess that trade too much. Noesi is also a guy the Yankees wish they had in the system, but he was necessary to make the Michael Pineda deal.
Aceves and Moseley, although they’re more back-of-the-rotation/long-relief options, could have stayed in pinstripes without much financial commitment. That’s what makes those two regrettable, especially Aceves, who’s become a valuable piece of the Red Sox staff.
Ultimately, Vizcaino might be the most regrettable of everyone on this list. His prospect stock has continued to grow since being traded in the Javier Vazquez deal, and the winner of that trade might depend on the development of Vizcaino vs. the development of Dante Bichette Jr. (a compensation pick when Vazquez became a free agent).
Mid-level prospects as starters, both Clippard and McCutchen were traded away and converted to relievers. They’ve each found success — especially Clippard — in that relief role. Clippard was originally traded for bit player Jonathan Albaladejo, and McCutchen was part of the regrettable Xavier Nady/Damaso Marte trade, so obviously the Yankees would like to have do-overs. If Clippard had emerged as this sort of relief option in pinstripes, would the team have committed so much money to Rafael Soriano last winter?
Long considered an elite relief prospect, Melancon had some chances in New York, but he never thrived until stepping into the closer’s role in Houston. Would he eventually have found the same success in New York? Was he worth a two-month rental of Berkman?
Dunn was essentially replaced by Boone Logan, Coke was worth trading for Granderson, and it’s hard to imagine the Yankees sticking with Farnsworth long enough to reap the benefit of last year’s strong showing as the Rays closer. Karstens has been a good back-of-the-rotation starter for the Pirates — perhaps better than anticipated — but the Yankees haven’t exactly been desperate for fifth starters and long relievers.
Associated Press photos