Our next Pinch Hitter is Bill Sullivan, a Vietnam veteran and former Lieutenant in the FDNY. Bill’s been a diehard Yankees fan since 1963, but wrote that his only highlight from that postseason was his favorite player, Mickey Mantle, going deep off Sandy Koufax.
Bill wrote: “My greatest pleasure as a fan has been watching young players come up through the system and spend their whole careers in pinstripes (Murcer, Munson, Mattingly, Jeter and Cano ) so I follow the minor leagues in anticipation of the next great Yankee to come along (fully appreciating the fact that one of these players is going to eventually outlast me).”
For his post, Bill looked at four positions of real depth for the Yankees, asking the question: Who should stay, and who should go?
The Yankees have such an abundance of quality young players at starting pitcher, catcher, center field and second base that they should be categorized as keepers or trade assets, since they cannot all make the big club at the same time.
In categorizing players you must understand that their value is based on ceiling projections and distance from the majors. Value is more certain the closer to the big leagues the player is, as he has traversed obstacles in his growth along the way. A player in A ball may have a higher ceiling but will not provide a fair value because so much can happen along the way.
Here is what the Yankees have to decide on.
Keeper / Trade asset
|Manny Banuelos||No. 1 starter||Late 2012||Absolute keeper|
|Dellin Betances||No. 1-2 starter||Late 2012||Keeper|
|Adam Warren||No. 3-4 starter||Now||Trade asset|
|David Phelps||No. 4-5 starter||Now||Trade asset|
|D.J. Mitchell||No. 5 starter||Now||Trade asset|
|Jose Campos||No. 1-2 starter||2014-15||Keeper (hard to get fair return)|
|Austin Romine||Starter||Mid 2012||Trade asset (blocked)|
|Gary Sanchez||All-star||2014-15||Keeper (should replace Martin)|
|J.R. Murphy||Starter||2013-14||Trade asset|
|Mason Williams||All-star||2014-15||Keeper (hard to get fair return)|
|Slade Heathcott||All-star||2014-15||See above|
|Ravel Santana||All-star||2015-16||See above|
|David Adams||Starter||Now||Trade asset (blocked)|
|Corban Joseph||Starter/utility||2013||Trade asset (blocked)|
|Angelo Gumbs||Starter||2014-15||Keeper (hard to get fair value)|
Pitchers Banuelos and Betances are keepers because any opportunity at acquiring inexpensive, top-end starters cannot be squandered. The rest of the upper-level pitchers have value, especially to lower budget teams, but it’s hard to get real value for a pitcher as young as Campos.
Looking at the catchers: Romine is blocked by a player with the same skills as his projected ceiling, thus making him expendable. Sanchez should be ready about 2014-15, creating a potential Girardi/Posada apprentice relationship with a 32 or 33-year-old Martin.
The centerfielders are too far away to trade for anything significant, so hang on to them, and best-case scenario you have a complete, young, athletic and under-control outfield to replace the aging outfield in 2015, or at least tradable commodities down the road.
Second base belongs to Robinson Cano for the foreseeable future, though Gumbs is an interesting possibility for later in the decade.
As you can see Brian Cashman has done an excellent job building assets to keep the Yankees from having to go the more expensive route of “free” agency because he can chose to promote from within or package assets to improve the club. Keep up the great work, Mr. Cashman.