Thursday, July 30, 2015

They ridicule us as "prospect-huggers," but the price of any Yankee deal had better be right

There's an insult common to Yankee message boards: "Prospect-hugger." It stems from the 1980s phrase "tree-hugger," which was the coal industry's Limbaughian, bumper-sticker way to dismiss environmental causes. You don't like shorn-off mountains or rivers of arsenic? You're one a them tree-huggers. Get a job, hippie.

So we now have "prospect-huggers," according to the all-wise fans, who never get attached to the meat on the Yankee farm. They don't see Rob Refsnyder as a future 2B, whose work ethic eventually makes him into a good-hitting, solid fielding player. Nope. They see a "trade chip." They prefer some high-salaried, ex-all-star with a seasoned bat and glove.

I believe if you're not a prospect-hugger, it's because you a) Are too young to remember the 1980s, b) Were too drunk to remember the 1980s, or c) Are that rare fan whose basic knowledge of the game is that there is some guy named "A-Rod." You missed the wholesale savaging of the Yankees - the 14-year-barf - back in the days before there were prospect-huggers.

This week, decibel levels have risen constantly from a shrieking brigade of writers and bloggers who say the Yankees ABSOLUTELY MUST do something to keep pace with KC, Toronto, California - whatever. And - hm-mm, how do I put this? Well... These people are fools.

The Yanks are in first by six. The closest team - the Orioles - did nothing this week. Last year, we cut deals of desperation. This year, other teams are desperate.

Which brings me to Mr. David Price, trade target of the day.

Yeah, I'd love to get him. He always had the feel of a future Yankee. Remember how gracious Price was after surrendering Jeter's 3,000th hit? He's a gamer. He's a moose. And next winter, he will be a free agent. He'll cost us a boatload of money and a first-round pick... if we want him.

But the Tigers don't need to deal. They can chase the last Bud Selig Memorial Wild Card Slot, which is open to all. If they expect to receive the world for David Price, the Yankees should simply hug their prospects and walk away.

Yankee trade chips? We have a few. I'm thinking of Jose Pirela, the second 2B after Rob Refsnyder. Poor guy can hit, but he's on somebody's secret shitlist. There's Austin Romine, the catcher, who deserves freedom. One of the three OF amigos - Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams or Ramon Flores - probably can go. And a couple of the Scranton 10 - the bullpen of Nick Goodys and Danny Burawas - can leave. And - yes - maybe even Ivan Nova, though if we trade him, don't be surprised if he doesn't outpitch whoever we get in return. 

This week, all the blather has been about the big names. Look close, and you find Toronto, Texas, etc. have given up some of their top prospects, and they were picked out by opposing scouts.

Listen: I don't want one Yankee championship every 10 years. I want five. I want an organization built up from within and supplemented through free agency. I don't want perpetual waves of old players, signed to boarish deals, trying to buttress a leaky barge.

This needs to be Cashman's last chance to build that organization. He hasn't done it in 15 years.

Over the next 48 hours, I hope Cashman never dials the phone. Let them call us. If nobody calls, we'll still be in first. Come August 1, something tells me James Shields - with his horrible contract - will pass through waivers. And he won't be alone. Because here's the dirty little secret of July 31: There is no trade deadline. It's a joke. It's just something created by the people we should most fear: The Headline-Huggers. Ugh. Get a job, yuppie.