Results tagged ‘ Offseason ’

The Worst/Best Trade Of My Life

Ohhh, Cashman, you don’t make blockbuster deals on Friday the 13th. You just don’t.

And you definitely don’t make this deal.

I’m sure the entire baseball world knows the news by now. I was supposed to have this post up right away, but every time I started it, I had to stop. I figured I could just type through the tears, but then I thought an overly-emotional post would be irrational and unfair. So I waited until I regained some composure. Here I am now, still in shock, but over my initial state or mourning. I haven’t cried yet today, though that may be because I depleted everything I had last night.

This is without a doubt the hardest thing I have been forced to go through in my life as a Yankees fan.

I don’t even know where to start. There’s so much running through my head. I guess I’ll talk about what happened when I found out that the Yankees traded Jesus Montero for Michael Pineda (along with Hector Noesi for Jose Campos, but it’s the Montero part that sent me over the edge).

I saw the news on facebook first on a baseball page that I liked. It wasn’t official then. But my heart stopped a little, and I gasped. I immediately headed over to MLBtraderumors, they had it up with the little times next to each sentence, as if they were monitoring every move. I knew that was a bad sign -that meant it was legit.

I began to panic.

The Yankees website had nothing, just as I feared. Throughout my life as a Yankees fan, being surprised by Brian Cashman and his stealthy moves became quite a regular thing. He never lets you know what’s up. I went on some other site about the Pineda/Montero swap, and it wouldn’t load – too much traffic.

I knew right there that it was happening. I admit it: I started to cry a little.

Aww, who am I kidding. My brother wrote it on facebook anyway, so everyone knows: I was bawling like a baby. The kind of tears that flow without you even knowing, then you rejoin reality and think, “What the heck, I’m crying?”

Yeah I’m a nut. But I can’t help it.

I’ve been hearing about Jesus Montero for God knows how long. The highlight of the 2011 season was the 18 games that Montero played in during September. The .328 avg, the 4 HR (some of which were opposite field line drives, which totally turned me on to the kid), the 12 RBI, the handsome young man with the high socks and the boyish smile, I was swept off my feet. He looked like everything I heard he would be.  And I thought it was just the beginning of what would be a 20-year superstar successful career in Yankee pinstripes. A home-grown, superstar Yankee to be part of a new core of young Yankees. I figured, since they held on to him for this long, he was safe. I penciled him into my 2012 lineup. I said goodbye to Posada, which was tough, but the thought of Jesus Montero eventually catching eased the pain of losing one of my favorite Yankees. In my public presentation class, I even did my persuasive speech on the claim “The Yankees should not trade Jesus Montero,” and I got an A. I never thought he would be traded, because frankly, the Yankees did nothing up to this point in the offseason.

Losing Jesus Montero – I can’t even believe this happened. I just can’t trust Brian Cashman anymore. I never know what’s going to happen. I’m beginning to wonder if we’ll ever see this new generation of prospects play in the Bronx. Everyone knows what his potential is. Shouldn’t we want that kind of talent on our team, especially because he’s home-grown? This trade is an example of the things I don’t like about the Yankees. The immediate-gratification thing, where they don’t want to wait. Sure, Montero’s not a full-time catcher yet, but he can be eventually. Now I heard that the Yankees are thinking about expanding payroll a bit. Although Michael Pineda is at a bargain price, I’m worried now that Montero won’t be the DH, that they’ll go out and sign someone. Like Prince Fielder. Which is exactly what I don’t want: a big free-agent contract, probably ridiculously expensive and around 8-10 years, for a guy who will probably decline soon who we’ll be stuck with. Like A-Rod. Like Teixeira. Partially why I was so into Jesus Montero, was that he was different. Young blood, a new start. He can’t decline. He can only improve. So even if he didn’t start out like the superstar I believe he will one day be, if we wait, he’d learn and improve. I wanted to see that happen to him as a Yankee.

Never in my wildest nightmares did I ever suspect that this would happen. That’s partially why I don’t like this trade, because I’m a little embarrassed. I’ve been saying how he’s going to be on the team in 2012, despite the frequent debates with another Yankees fan. So not only was I upset that the one thing I wanted for the 2012 season was gone, but I was also dreading the remarks of this fellow Yankees fan. I mean it’s not like I’m stupid. No one expected this. I thought Cashman was serious about doing nothing. He let all the other pitchers go by, but little did I know that he’d go for someone that we didn’t even know was on the market. Losing Jesus Montero has left me bombarded with the worst feelings: anguish, dismay, disinterest for the coming season, distrust of the organization, and humiliation for being wrong about it all.

So from a purely emotional perspective, this is the worst trade of my life. And on Friday the 13th, I can’t help but to think it may be bad luck for the Yankees.

But this girl knows that there shouldn’t be any crying in baseball.

I feel bad about feeling bad about this trade. It’s unfair to Michael Pineda. It makes it seem like I hate him. I can’t hate the guy, he didn’t do anything. I mean sure, if asked if I would make the Montero/Pineda trade, I would have said NO (maybe that’s why I’m not in charge of the Yankees). But that doesn’t mean I don’t want Pineda. He’s almost 23 and he had a pretty fine rookie season. Okay, maybe he’s not as cute as Montero on the surface, but maybe he’s got a cuter personality – I heard rumblings of Jesus Montero having an attitude.

And who am I kidding? I know the Yankees needed pitching. I didn’t think they’d get any, but I shouldn’t be upset that they improved in the area that they needed to most. Michael Pineda, as well as Hiroki Kuroda, who I found out was going to be signed about five minutes after the big trade, can definitely strengthen the rotation. And Pineda will be under team control for years to come before he gets to make the big money, which will give him every reason to play heard and reach his fullest potential. I should like that, since I hate the long contracts that I feel create laziness and a sense of entitlement. Another good sign: according to my brother, the Red Sox fans are nervous about the moves the Yankees have made.

That’s always a good sign.

This deal, as with all deals, is a risk. And on Friday the 13th, you know…I can’t help but to think negatively.

Last night in the midst of my meltdown, I was seeking distractions from the news. I had 5 conversations going on facebook, I was blasting Guns N’ Roses in my headphones, hoping the song “Don’t Cry” would actually help my cause (“…there’s a Heaven above you, baby…”), I was contemplating hitting the liquor cabinet (kidding, underage over here!), and I was just trying to avoid reality. Then Grandma comes in my room (brave of her when I’m unstable), and asks if I’m busy, and if not, if I could check to see what the numbers were to see if she won.

She didn’t win, but the number made me a little happy anyway. It was 777.

A sign of things to come? Maybe this is a lucky trade for the Yankees. Maybe the good can counteract the bad here. Maybe I can like, get over this? Maybe there was something about Jesus Montero that I just didn’t know, and maybe this was for the better. Maybe I should trust Brian Cashman, after all, he’s done pretty well for me in my lifetime.

And maybe I should get excited for this upcoming season again. Maybe Pineda will help my boys reach their next goal: #28. And maybe Michael Pineda can be one of “my boys” the way I thought Jesus Montero would be.

Maybe this’ll actually be the best thing that’s ever happened in my lifetime for the Yankees.

We’ll see.

Offseason Is On: Infield Acquisitions?

Nothing much is happening in the world of the Yankees, as I’ve become accustomed to all winter long, but I feel like writing something. Actually, “nothing” is “something” for the Yankees this offseason.

Lately, it seems that even the non-exciting moves aren’t happening. When I thought of Japanese players that the Yankees would win the rights to negotiate with, I had my fingers crossed for Yu Darvish to be that guy. No. Although starting pitching was, as Cashman has tirelessly noted, the team’s number-one priority this offseason, they didn’t go wholeheartedly for Darvish, or for any other top starters, for that matter.

But what the Yankees did do, was they won the bidding for exclusive negotiating rights for Japanese shortstop, Hiroyuki Nakajima. Since the Yankees are playing the fiscal responsibility card this offseason, that’s probably why Nakajima appealed to them. They won his bidding with just $2 million.

Now I wasn’t excited about this at all, I mean aren’t there enough suitable utility infielders that already have Major League experience that they could have gone after? Why go after Nakajima?

Oh well. On Thursday, it became official that the Yankees had not reached a deal with Nakajima, so he’s going back to Japan, and the Yankees get to keep their $2 million.

I wonder, though: will they spend it?

$2 million isn’t enough to get a #2 starter, that’s for sure. But they do need a backup corner infielder, so why not bring back Eric Chavez? I know they signed Jayson Nix to a minor league deal in November, but Chavez is a better value in my eyes.

I was extremely pleased with Eric Chavez last year. Although me missed a huge chunk of the season with that foot injury, he produced in the 58 games he did participate in. He hit a respectable .263 avg with 2 HR and 26 RBI. More importantly, Chavez played perfect defense, ceasing to make any errors at third base or first base. One thing I like about Chavez is that he knows his limits. Even though he’s just 33, he understands that his role now will most likely be a part-time player, because he’s very fragile and has been worn down by various injuries over his 14 year career. He’s fine with being a bench player.

I definitely think the Yankees should bring him back. He’s a quality veteran ballplayer who when healthy can be productive at the plate, and his smooth defense is a guarantee. And he only cost $1.5 million last season. The upside is huge for Chavez, I mean why didn’t they bring him back yet? Not for anything, he also happens to be one of the most handsome men I’ve ever seen on the baseball field. He looks fabulous in the Yankee pinstripes.

My tone towards the Yankees organization this offseason has been one of disinterest, simply because I’m getting bored with predicting what they’re going to do – or what they’re not going to do, rather. It’s getting annoying. So they probably won’t bring back Eric Chavez, simply because it makes a ton of sense to do so…

The winter is wearing thin now! I want to see some baseball!

Offseason is ON! Little Signing Here, Little Signing There…

As much as Yankees fans may try to convince themselves that they are okay with GM Brian Cashman doing nothing, parts of us are just not ready to fully accept that nothing will actually happen. I’m okay with it, but I still can’t believe that it’s going to be this way. All I’ve ever known in my lifetime were the Yankees that went out there and made moves, whether via free agency or trades. I haven’t liked every move my franchise has made in my lifetime, but overall I’d say they’ve done a pretty respectable job, considering in my 18 years they have won 5 World Series Championships, and I only remember them not making the playoffs once, back in 2008.

And it’s hard to believe that they’ll do nothing. I’ll never forget the day the Yankees signed Mark Teixeira on December 23, 2008. I went on the Yankees website during my last period in school only to find this article titled, “Hal: No Yanks offers to Tex…” and I left school thinking that my Christmas would be ruined. 6:30 later that night, an article was posted saying that they had signed Teixeira. It’s impossible for me to forget these kinds of things. How can one really take the Yankees organization seriously?

Sure, there are no free agents that appeal to the needs of the Yankees right now. Starting pitching, as Cashman has tirelessly noted, is the number one priority of this team. As each player – Wilson, Darvish, Buehrle, Danks, Gonzalez – found a new home that wasn’t New York, the frustrations of some fans boiled over, and rightfully so. We have to wonder what they’re up to if they let all of these players go by.

Sometimes I wondered if Brian Cashman was even conscious. Where has he been this offseason?

Although not incredibly exciting whatsoever, Cashman has made some moves for the Yankees – small, miniscule things that don’t change much – but at least he has proven to me that he is indeed alive, and may actually be working.

The two relatively recent signings were that of former Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima and returning right handed bench player Andruw Jones.

The Hideki Okajima signing doesn’t do much for me. He had three great years in Boston and then became less and less effective. At 36 years old, the lefty was awarded with a Minor League deal from the Yankees and will compete for the otehr lefty-specialist spot in the bullpen. Boone Logan has managed to hold his own with that job for the Yankees, so even if the Yankees aren’t satisfied with their second-lefty options, I don’t really think it’s the end of the world.

I expected the Yankees to bring back Andruw Jones, so I’m not especially excited about this move, but I am very pleased. Andruw Jones exceeded my expectations last season, hitting .247 with 13 HR and 33 RBI, but really picking it up after the All-Star break, where he hit .291 and earned more playing time. I thought he would go off to another team and try to be an everyday player, but I’m glad he’s still with the Yankees. He has 15 years of experience, but he’s still just 34 and still has a baby-face and charming smile. And for just $2 million with additional incentives, I’d say Jones is a steal.

As I noted earlier, neither of these signings will satisfy the hungry Yankees fans. They aren’t spectacular, but they are practical, wise investments that are low-risk and high-reward. You really can’t go wrong with either Andruw Jones or Hideki Okajima.

Speaking of low-risk and high-reward and not going wrong, and keeping mind the number one priority of the Yankees this offseason, I’m wondering why the Yankees aren’t going after Roy Oswalt. Like Jones, Oswalt is a 34 year old veteran with over 10 years of experience in the Bigs. All he wants is a 1-year contract anyways, so even if he sucks, after the one year, he’ll be gone. With a career ERA of 3.21, it’s highly unlikely that he will completely flop. The Yankees are concerned with his back issues, but really? A one year contract, you won’t even do that? They signed Bartolo Colon last season, who had more than his fair share of injuries, and he was fantastic for them.

Oswalt is definitely someone for the Yankees to think about, but they better hurry. If they think for too long, he might be gone like the rest of them…

I’m not going to get my hopes up, because I don’t want to be disappointed. But this will remain in the back of my mind until I hear otherwise.

42 days until pitchers and catchers report!

I can’t wait to see my YANKEES.

The Offseason Is On! Thoughts on the Hefty-Lefty

The World Series has been over for awhile now, and I’d like to express my congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals. They had the most heart out of any team I’ve seen in awhile. I said that if my Yankees couldn’t win, I’d be pulling for them, and I’m glad they took the title home. I hope the Cardinals can keep Albert Pujols. As much as I love the guy, I don’t want the Yankees to get him, and they have no need for him, so I don’t even know why I’m mentioning this. The Yankees still have a lot on this year’s offseason agenda, and a bat and price like Albert Pujols, or Prince Fielder for that matter, is not on the list.

So now that baseball is officially over and I don’t have to deal with the pain of other teams playing while my team is not, I’m feeling a little bit better. The offseason can be pretty exciting, at least through the holidays. I think this offseason will be more rewarding for Yankees fans than last season’s was, because the already crossed off the big #1 on their list: bringing back their ace, CC Sabathia.

I had mixed feelings about the CC Sabathia situation. Now I love my Chubby Chunk, but I feared that this lefty was getting a bit too hefty. I remember how he lost about 25 pounds last offseason, and progressively gained it all back by the time the season ended. To me, that’s a sign of laziness. An athlete of Sabathia’s caliber (and price) should be doing whatever possible to maintain tip-top shape, and stuffing your face with Cap’n Crunch isn’t acceptable.

At first I was unsure to whether or not I even wanted Sabathia- he has been one of the best aces in the bigs and has worked a tremendous amount of innings – but even so, I felt his weight gain and lack of success at the end of last season was worthy of concern. Since the Yankees have an excessive amount of long term contracts, some of which I don’t want (ahem, A-ROD), and CC was starting to get on my nerves and I thought he would want a huge contract, I felt that maybe it was better for the Yankees to just let him walk.

But then I wondered: what would the Yankees do without CC? Was it really worth it to let him go, just because we didn’t want those extra few years, and to not have the rest of the prime years? On the other hand, were the prime years worth the giant contract?

Luckily, I didn’t have to worry after all. The Yankees gave me the best of both worlds: an extended contract, but not too huge.

Instead of the 4 year/$92 million he had left on his original deal, CC now has a 5 year/$117 million deal with an option for a sixth year. I recently said that I don’t want any more contracts greater than 5 years, so this deal made me happy. I feel that long term contracts create laziness, just like with many teachers I’ve had who have tenure: their jobs and money are guaranteed, and in the case of these big money guys, it’s hard to move them, so they kind of have a free pass. But this deal is just the right length. Hopefully, Sabathia will come into camp in solid shape at the start of the 2012 season.

Another huge priority has been crossed off the offseason to-do list for my Yankees, and that was bringing back Brian Cashman, one of the architects of the organization. He’ll be back for another three years at least, meaning that he’ll be around to craft #28.

Let’s make it 28 in 2012 my boys!

106 days until pitchers and catchers report.

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