Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cash says he won't gut system. But will we see the 4-Tease?

Future Yankee Cliff Lee is approaching, with the AL post-season in the balance. It's like someone offering to sell a Gatling Gun to the constestants of a knife fight. Listen carefully, you hear the tapping of metal on the walls of a coal mine in Scranton, signaling for Cashman to trade Jesus Montero. And why not? We have Cervelli. We have Austin Romine. We have that Sanchez kid way down there, and he's supposed to be The New Jesus anyway.

Yesterday, Cash said he wouldn't gut the farm system for Lee, but Cash quotes have no currency, and it's all about defining the phrase "gut the farm system" anyway. The Yankee machine is good at the 4-Tease.

Take 'em, tout 'em, trade 'em, trash 'em.

Case in point: Jose Tabata.

At 17, Jose was our best OF prospect. Five tool. Future star. Nobody suggested he was older. Nope. Says 17 on birth certificate. He homered in spring training. The video went viral. But in July 2008, we needed a boost, so we dealt him with Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens, and Daniel McCutchen for Xavier Nady and Dámaso Marte.

Hard to get a fix on that deal. Nady washed out. Marte seemed a total washout until last October. Ohlendorf has been an excellent pitcher for Pittsburgh, but he hurt himself this year and is 0-6 with a high ERA. Karstens is Karstens. McCutchen is still evolving. The remaining intangible is Jose Tabata. If he becomes a star, the deal becomes a disaster.

Immediately after the trade, the Yankee spin cycle began. Tabata hadn't run out grounders -- they all go through that phase. He didn't have power. Four tool. Then he became a punchline for marrying a woman 23 years older than he is, and she was arrested for kidnapping a baby from a shopping mall. If anything, getting him out of New York City was probably a mercy-killing. (NOTE: We at IIH official condemn the trading of punchlines. WE NEED PUNCHLINES.)

BUT... no joke: Ttwo weeks ago, Tábata reached the majors. He singled in his first at bat, later stole second. Last night his big hit won the game for Pittsburgh. He is 21 -- (at least that's what they claim; now that he's with Pittsburgh, we're much more inclined to think he's 37.) He's had 70 ABs with the Pirates and is batting .257. One HR.

Tabata won't reach peak foliage until age 24-27.

Montero is 20 at Triple A.

If Cash deals him, get ready for the 4-Tease.

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