Monday, January 5, 2015

On second thought: River Ave does a 180 flip-flop on Manny Banuelos

I hate nitpicking on Michael Axisa, mostly because he's great. Seriously. I've been reading the guy for years. More often than not, he hits the mark. But lately, my spider sense is tingling, as Axisa and River Ave continually offer detailed analyses that support the latest Yankee move. They are starting to look like less a blog than a YES-owned subsidiary, which - well - they are.
What rattled me today is a post on Chasen Shreve, a little known chess piece the Yankees received in the Manny Banuelos trade. Axisa writes glowingly about some new pitching strategy that could make Shreve a front-line reliever, the steal of a deal. And maybe he will be. But what piqued my interest was Axisa's newly evolved view toward Banuelos. (Emphasis mine.)
The Yankees talked Banuelos up all summer because that’s what teams do, talk up their prospects, but other reports indicated he didn’t look all that hot. Keith Law (subs. req’d) wrote there was “a big gap between his old 92-95 mph fastball with a little pop and the current 90-92 version” after seeing Manny in June, for example... Clearly Banuelos’ stock has dropped a bit because of the injuries, and, had he repeated his 2014 showing in 2015, his trade value next off-season would have been tiny... I would say Shreve definitely has more MLB value than Banuelos right now
Wow. A rather over-hyped prospect, that Banuelos. Sounds like we cut bait on the bum just in time. Good job, Dr. Cashman. 

Well, something bothered me about the write-up. Somehow, I'd gotten the impression that Banuelos was ripe for a breakout year. I wracked my brain, trying to figure out where I'd come up with such an idiotic notion. Then I found what Axisa wrote about Banuelos six weeks ago, on Nov. 24.

We’ve been talking about left-hander Manny Banuelos here at RAB so long that it’s easy to forget he’s still only 23 years old. He’s younger than both 2014 Rookies of the Year and everyone who finished in the top five of the voting in each league as well. Yet because we’ve been talking about him since he was an 18-year-old pitching in High Class-A, it feels like Banuelos is much older than he really is...
[E]verything is lined up for 2015 to be the year Banuelos finally breaks through and arrives in the big leagues. Will he be an impact pitcher right away? Maybe! But even if he isn’t, just reaching the show is the next step in his development. Banuelos has dealt with injury and rehab for the better part of three years now. Next year will be his chance to reclaim his top prospect glory and help the Yankees.
So, which Baneulos did we trade? The prospect or the bum? 
I have no problem with River Ave analyzing a trade and concurring with the Yankee brain trust. But lately, I've wondered if the site - still evolving under the ownership of Rupert Murdoch - is an independent voice or a mouthpiece. 
Hey, there's nothing wrong with a mouthpiece. Somebody has to do it. If River Ave simply calls itself the Internet Voice of the Yankees, I'm down with that. It's still a good read. Secondly, most fans would react to my concerns by saying, "Who gives a shit? It's just a blog." And they'd be right. But over the years, I've wailed on "Gammonites" for their schoolyard name-calling, suck-up behavior to owners, self-indulgent sense of righteousness and - too often - their flat-out hypocrisy. I'd hate to start whipping on "Axisians." 
But here's the deal: Following the write up on Baneulos, River Ave published "The Case for Trading Dellin Betances." Is that an opinion piece? Or a trial balloon? It's fair to wonder.


Hermodorus said...

Excellent work duque.

Watching Axisa "moderate" the comment section on RAB is also very telling.

Cashman always gets a free pass, without fail.

Delphi technique, derision and "divide and conquer" tactics keep the commentariat from ever uniting against our true enemy: the whiteshoe attorney/bankers scum that actually run the NYY.

Mister D said...

I don't see either quote as contradicting the other. In the older quote, he says "maybe" ManBan can reclaim his prospect status. In the other, he points out that his stock has fallen in many eyes (something I've read in other places well before the trade). And saying that one player may have more value than another doesn't mean that player has no value. Looking at recent Yankees prospect lists, I don't recall seeing Banuelos ranking at the top of anyone's list - he's been vaulted by a number of players in the last two years, and could fall off the top ten with another bad year.

In the end, I tend to see two types of Yankees fans and bloggers. Some are intent on scrutinizing everything, others trying to find something to root for. Ideally we would just do straight analysis and call things fair, but innate temperment plays a big role. Axisa seems to me to be someone who tends to view the upside. As long as there are other blogs to take up the other view, I'm fine with that.

Hair on Fire said...

Trade Betances? No, God, NO!

el duque said...

You're right that there is no absolute contradictory lines in the two write-ups on Banuelos. It's just that the entire tone of each is markedly different, and the only thing that changed is Banuelos' uniform.

That said, what can I say, I still love to read River Ave. And if their optimism pulls me off the bridge someday, should I even care if it came from YES?

Kim J. said...

Running dog lackeys of their capitalist pig masters! If they were Sony, we would hack them!!

Premier BPO, Inc. said...

Problem is, flip flop or not, he's right, Shreve is a GREAT pitcher and is going to be a star and Banuelos is mediocre with a high ERA and serious injury problems. And when you throw Carpenter in the deal, who was spectacular last year almost all year with a sub-3 ERA, it was a HORRRIBLE deal for the Braves who clearly are suffering from trade paralysis and are trying so hard to build a team for the ages (the ages being 3 years from now) when MLB baseball moves at a change speed of sonic proprieties and one almost MUST forget about "building" ANYTHING past the first day of April!

Mister D said...

I wouldn't go that far Premier BPO. Prospect for prospect is a crap shoot (see Montero/Pineda). Banuelos could have bigger upside IF he comes back all the way and becomes a starter. We'll see what Shreve becomes. Carpenter makes this a good move for the Yankees short term.

If ManBan becomes a reliever, then this is no big loss, even if Shreve tanks, as the Yankees have little trouble developing solid relievers. It is, really, the only thing they have developed in recent years. But I think that recent trades have shown very few of the prospects the Yankees let go really became someone to mourn.

Anonymous said...

You gunna sleep with the fishes, duque


M. Ax