Friday, October 14, 2016
Posted by el duque at 7:33 AM
1. Are we a country or a kingdom?
2. Do we trust algorithms over instinct?
3. Are we spiritual beings or organic machines?
4. Will the Yankees backtrack on their 2016 youth movement?
Let's study - hm-mm - number four! Will the Eve-Emp this winter abandon the long game, which began July 31 with the sell-off of its three best players. As the 2017 free agent signing period takes shape, fears start anew that we will merely go back to the bottle and sign the next generation of Ellsburys, Headleys and McCanns (oh my...)
Two days ago, MLB's Jim Callis gushed about the newly regenerated Yankee farm system, saying it might be the deepest in all of baseball. (Key word: Might.) Yesterday, we placed six kids on MLB's Top 100 prospect list. (They are Frazier 15th, Torres 17th, Mateo 18th, Judge 22nd, Rutherford 50th, and Sheffield 78th.) That's great news, but let's put it into context: Boston placed five, including the top two - (Yoooooooooooooan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi). We may have more depth, but their system is exploding and, frankly, they have a superior success rate - compared to our track record of Jesus Montero hype and Zolio Almonte whatever. When Gary Sanchez makes the All-Star team, and when Aaron Judge has 30 HRs to his name, we can move from expectations to reality. But we're not there yet.
So let's ponder the top free agents on the market this winter. According to Moonlighting Mike Axisa in a different gig - CBS Sports - here's the list of those players most likely to receive qualifying offers from their teams:
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
Yoenis Cespedes, Mets (assuming he exercises opt-out clause)
Ian Desmond, Rangers
Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays
Dexter Fowler, Cubs (assuming he declines his half of his $9 million mutual option)
Jeremy Hellickson, Phillies
Kenley Jansen, Dodgers
Mark Trumbo, Orioles
Justin Turner, Dodgers
Axisa expects each to get the QO, which means the Yankees would forfeit their first round pick next June. Screw dat. Those players should be off the board. Forget them.
But there are others out there, who won't cost us picks. Two closers leap out, both former Yankees, and all they cost is a shitload of money. Of course, I'm referring to Aroldis Chapman and Mark Melancon. Either would solve a huge issue - our bullpen on fumes - without crippling our future farm. We have big money coming off the books this winter - Tex and Beltran, for starters - and there is no reason - beyond Food Stamps Hal Steinbrenner - why we can't go to the bank on Chapman or Melancon, or both.
You want more names? RA Dickey probably won't get a qualifying offer from Toronto. He'll pitch to age 70. Let's sign him, before Boston does. (Because they will, and he'll kill us for 10 years.) Wouldn't it be nice to see Brett Cecil shutting down the Blue Jays, instead of us? Travis Wood of the Cubs? Koji Uehara? Maybe a flier on Jared Weaver, CJ Wilson, or even Bartolo Colon? None will likely cost us a pick. This is the gene pool from which we can work.
And let's keep the sell-off going - permanently. The new reality should involve a constant trading of veterans for prospects, even though the kids won't always pan out. Let it start with Headley and McCann - invoke the Ivan Nova rule, which says we'll take Cashman's word for it and celebrate the no-names we get - and also either Gardner or Ellsbury, who have become basically the same player with different contracts. Hell, if anybody wants CC Sabathia (and if he wants to go), make him available.
The youth movement of 2016 must not end. It should be just starting. And from now on until the day we die, it should be the new reality of the Yankees: Never give up a draft pick, and never stop hoarding prospects.