Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Starlin Castro is a Yankee, Adam Warren is not; and Rob Refsnyder will die in Scranton: The Yankee Mystery Scout strikes again
Posted by el duque at 6:29 AM
This is the presence who long ago decided Francisco Cervelli could never catch. It is the entity that twice craved Javier Vasquez the way Donald Trump does hairspray, so much that the Yankees traded for him twice, both times with disastrous consequences. This is the thing that said Eduardo Nunez could play SS and, later, that Brendan Ryan was the solution to the fact that Nunez couldn't. It correctly assessed Nick Swisher's potential, and last year it picked Nathan Eovaldi out of a pile of Miami beach glass. And this Mystery Scout has always, always, disliked Rob Refsnyder.
Yesterday, the Mystery Scout struck again. The Yankees got former three-time all-star (and Sports Illustrated cover boy) Starlin Castro - whom the Cubs have sought to deal now for six months - for Adam Warren and (as some sites are reporting) Ryan.
Well. WTF? I guess you can look at it in several ways.
Too Rich to Fail: After all the talk about cutting costs, Hal Steinbrenner is once again tethering himself to a whale of a contract. Castro has 4 years left on a $60 million deal, so all of you who hoped for an honest competition next spring at 2B: Go away. Once again, the Yankees will be paying a guy too much money to bench him for somebody else. Castro is our 2B, whether he plays well or not.
Getting Younger: Castro is 26. Warren was 28, and Ryan (if it is Ryan, hope-hope-hope!) seemed 1,000 years old. Technically, the Yankees are younger, and that's always good. Castro is heading to his peak years, output wise, so maybe he can reclaim his status as a star. Nick Swisher did. Scott Brosius did. With Aaron Hicks now in the outfield, the Yankees are becoming the Team of Second Chances. That's not the worst thing to be.
Up or Down? The Gammonites today emphasize that Castro finished strongly at 2B last year, hitting .265. But he once led the league in hits. In two of the last three seasons, his on-base percentage was below .300. That's what we got in Ichiro's final Yankee incarnation. Castro either turns his career around - some former stars treat a trade like a kick in the pants - or we're stuck with a guy the Cubs wanted desperately to get gone.
We will really miss Warren. The guy did everything the Yankees ever asked of him, but the Mystery Scout never saw him as anything more than middle innings fodder. He'll find pitching in the National League so much easier. Last year's 3.29 ERA will probably drop by 30 points, and that could make him the next Ted Lilly, the next one who got away. Unless Castro thrives, don't look for the YES team to do a lot of comparisons between what we gave up and what we got.
Refsnyder's third year in Scranton. Once again, I ask myself, why bother watching Scranton? It doesn't matter if it's Kyle Roller or Adonis Garcia, or Zolio or Igawa, once the Mystery Scout makes his (or her, or its) decision, God help the player who falls on the wrong side. The Yankees can bluster about getting younger, but the Cubs actually cleared the path for a rookie, while it's clear now that Refsnyder will never see the light of day. Banished again to Scranton, he will be demoralized and get off to a slow start, and the Mystery Scout will say, "See? I told you so." Maybe someday, Refsnyder will get a chance. But not with us. The Mystery Scout has spoken... For better or for worse.