I’ve been waiting for this year since the mid 90s. I’ve been waiting for this to happen. The Yankees have just shed their “Evil Empire” reputation. So, its safe to say that this season will be free of the “greedy” Yankee jokes…just kidding those will apparently never get old (MOVE ON PEOPLE!)
But this off-season has proven just how the team has changed their dynamic. Maybe (HOPEFULLY) they’ve finally learned that spending a lot of money does not guarantee championships. Maybe they learned that their best assets have been those younger players that have developed through the Yankee system. Maybe.
Let’s take a look at players who have (sadly) departed this off-season:
Francisco Cervelli: Traded to the Pirates for Justin Wilson (a much-needed Southpaw reliever)…but not a huge loss, seeing as how McCann will reign behind the plate with the reliable and seasoned John Ryan Murphy as backup…or possibly Austin Romine…over-abundance of catchers, so overall an excellent trade move.
Shane Greene: Overall, I think this might be significant loss for the Yanks. Despite that four error game (ugh, will always be on my mind), Greene proved to the Yanks that he belongs in the majors and has the talent and determination to grow into a star in the Bronx. But, he’s gone. I guess they needed to fill a vital spot at shortstop, so you gotta do what you gotta do.
David Phelps: Well, as much as I liked having Phelps on the squad, he just wasn’t making the cut with his numbers. Going 5-5 with a 4.38 ERA in the 2014 season, he was shuffled between starter and bullpen, never seeming to find his niche in one specific spot. Still a young player with time to grow, Phelps can do that elsewhere because his inconsistency in the Bronx was just not cutting it.
Martin Prado: Shipped off with Phelps to the Marlins in a shocking trade, the Yanks eliminated their primary second baseman, but picked up some young stars from Miami. Although he had a great presence on the field last year, he only played a quarter of the season with the Yanks and is older, so the Yanks cut him loose for some younger players.
Shawn Kelley: Well, I can’t say I’ll miss you but hopefully things get better for you on the road!
And for the pick-ups from those trades:
Didi Gregorius: A replacement for Jeter? No one can replace Jeter, but I think he’s a good start. 24 years old and plays multiple infield positions. His rookie season he posted a .243 batting average and then fell off the wagon in 2014, with a .226 BA, which is far from the average the Yankees are looking for. But, young and talented player showing promise? Sound familiar? Maybe I’ll say Jeter, A-Rod, etc. This guy will take some adjusting to the Bronx, but I think once he settles in, he’ll be solid asset for many years to come.
Andrew Miller: Strengthening the bullpen was one of the greatest things the Yankees needed to do with their loss of Robertson this offseason. With a strong duo of Betances and Miller, the Yankees will easily nail down their 8th and 9th inning guys. Who will do what…who knows yet. But regardless, this duo will be one of the strongest in the league, if not all of the MLB.
Nathan Eovaldi: With a fastball in the upper 90s and a young arm, Eovaldi will be a work in progress in the rotation, but could be something that will work out in the long run. Even with a 6-14 record last season and giving up the most hits in the National League, he never had the run support that a high-powered Yankee offense could give him…that might help.
Domingo Germen: A prospect? Say it ain’t so! Not a big name at all…in fact he’s a no-name who could benefit from developing through the impressive Yankee farm system that brought in the likes of Jeter, Posada and Mo.
Garrett Jones: Also through the Phelps-Prado trade to Miami, Jones will be a first baseman (back-up to an injury-prone Tex) and possible outfielder. With a .246 BA last year, of course their is room for improvement, so hopefully the Yankees can work some magic throughout spring training to develop a solid first base back-up.
Johnny Barbato: The Yankees have picked up a minor leaguer who has the potential to be a dominant closer in the future. In the minors, he has converted 16 of 18 save opportunities this past year. Starting in the minors, he’ll come up soon as the bullpen needs help. Definitely a better option than Kelley and overall a solid choice for the future.
So this is the stat that gets me:
Average age of the players traded: 28.6
Average age of players the Yankees received via these trades: 25.6
Young kids…just what they needed. And hey, maybe this is the start of another dynasty era for the Yanks. We’ll see how this goes. But for now…the Yankees have won the off-season by being what nobody expected…the low-spenders and the cradle robbers.