Brian Cashman has his feet over the fire, here in New York City. Why? What deal did he screw up?
Actually, it’s the deal he didn’t screw up—didn’t make, actually—that has him in trouble. See, last winter, Cashman had the ability to trade Phil Hughes and/or Ian Kennedy for Johan Santana and didn’t. So, of course, all the New York tabloids, all the radio jockheads are screaming for Cashman on a stick in the harbor because of that idiotic gaffe.
Now here we are again, one year later, and the same question is on the table; do we trade these undeniably talented kids with some growing pains ahead of them for some veteran help, or do we hang on to them and hope they grow up faster rather than slower.
The answer, unlike last year, is trade them….or not.
OK, what I mean by this—they are not off the table.
Hughes (22) and Kennedy, (23) as I’ve written in the past are miles from the Sell By date. Kennedy has thrown a grand total of 58.7 innings for his career, Hughes, 94.7. They have looked, as you expect, like phenoms at times, overwhelmed at others. And they’ve done it, not in the relative quiet of Kansas City, Tampa or Pittsburgh, but in the hardest, hottest spotlight in America, where growing pains aren’t tolerated, and anything less than a 4-game sweep of the World Series is total failure.
That said, the Yankees are now in full Fire Sale mode. They’ve discovered what some of us have known for a while, they are old, many of their players’ best years are in the past; they are a poorly constructed team that can’t run, doesn’t defend and can’t shut down opposing lineups.
What to do? It’s obvious the outfield needs a makeover, 1B is a gaping hole and your pitching is a prayer until the 9th inning. Well, what do you have as assets? Well, we’ve got these young pitchers…..
Now before we go handing these young pitchers for the first Rick Rhoden or Steve Trout to come along, let me repeat: They are not off the table.
That means that you don’t go into the off-season with the plan to trade Hughes, Kennedy and Cano for whatever you can get. Rather the plan should be, let’s let it float out there that we have some young talented pitchers than could be had—for the right price. Say Texas is interested in Kennedy and will part with Josh Hamilton—I’m listening. Or Colorado really wants Hughes and will part with Holliday, Mmm-K?
Seriously, you don’t think 30 teams out there wouldn’t be interested in talking if the Yankees said, Kennedy and Hughes could be had? Deals would come flying off the fax machine. Maybe there’s a good one out there. Maybe not. A lot depends on if the Yankees can get Sheets or Sabathia to aid their rotation. So, a perfectly acceptable result of floating this out there, is that the Yankees decide that keeping two young pitchers—neither of whom will be much past 24 come next season—is the best idea of all.