Friday, July 9, 2010

Game 86: Jesus Is Just Alright

I was away from my computer today. Did I miss anything?

No? Good.

In all seriousness, I saw the report break after I finished recapping last night's game but didn't have time to write anything about it before I left for the day. I was nowhere near a computer at any point, but kept checking on the rumors on my phone, hoping against hope that the propsed trade for Jesus Montero and (less importantly) David Adams didn't go through.

Cliff Lee is obviously an incredibly talented pitcher who would make any team in the history of the sport significantly better, but I don't like the idea of trading the best prospect in the system for him now, when the Yankees already have five capable starters and he has three months left on his contract. Yes, they could still swing a deal for Javy Vazquez, but they'll have zero leverage with whatever team might be interested in him.

There's also an element of stacking the deck at work here. The Yankees are clearly capable of winning the World Series as currently constructed. They have the best record in baseball, for fuck's sake. Do they really need to add one of the top 5 starting pitchers in the game? Does the marginal increase in their chances of winning a World Series really justify getting rid of an awesome prospect and some other potentially useful pieces? If they make the trade and don't win, the answer to that question is painfully obvious. If they pull the trigger and win a Championship, the answer could still be "no".

Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I like rooting for a team that tries to develop their own players and isn't willing to mortgage their future for a slight increase of winning it for one year. Maybe Jesus Montero never pans out to be the great hitting catcher that he's projected to be but I'd rather that than the Yankees dealing him out of impatience and insecurity and watching him blossom somewhere else.

Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright, oh yeah.
Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright.

I don't care what they may know,
I don't care where they may go,
I don't care what they may know,
Jesus is just alright, oh yeah.


Cliff Lee won't be on the mound tonight as originally scheduled and he won't be in either dugout, as Joel Sherman is now reporting that the M's have a deal with Texas, unless of course they back out of that one too.


  1. Montero has no real future with the Yankees except as trade bait IMO. At best, he can develop into a very good DH, but that's about it. They have other catchers in the system who they obviously value more at that position.

    If they had gotten this deal done, I would have been OK with it. It would not, as some people seem to think, cripple the organization long term. They still have pieces they can deal, both in the minors and on the major league team to restock whatever was dealt.

    As it is, they didn't get him and I'm ok with that too. Mostly because Tampa, Minnesota and Boston didn't get him. But also because he'll be a Yankee next season anyway. So much for being against stacking the deck. Besides, while it's nice to have 5 quality starters right now, it isn't a given that 1) Andy can continue his torrid pace, 2) AJ and/or Javy will be as consistent as they've been the past couple weeks, and 3) Phil will be as solid as he was in the first half. In fact, we should probably expect some dip in the starting pitching production. And once the playoffs begin, Hughes will probably be in the bullpen anyway. The old axiom of never having enough quality starting pitching is true for a reason. Make no mistake about, Lee would have made the Yankees much stronger this year. As it is, they'll have to wait until 2011, and you can be sure he knows how much the Yankees want him now! They'll open up their wallets for him for sure.

  2. Captain_Mick7/9/10, 9:48 PM

    I agree with you fully, Jay, both on this trade as well as on team philosophy generally. But ultimately, this would have been a boneheaded trade because it would have completely, utterly failed to optimize the value you'd get out of Montero. Three months of a pitcher joining an already-strong rotation, in exchange for either a) several cost-controlled years of Montero or b) any FUTURE trade value he might provide, which is highly likely to be more valuable to the Yankees than Cliff Lee for the latter half of 2010. I did cartwheels when the deal fell through.

  3. I'm with you on this one. I spent most of the day firing away on whatever soapbox I could find about this proposed deal. We're capable now and can bolster the weakest parts of the team for far less. I'm sick of getting excited for our developing players only to see them sent away for veteran rentals.

  4. I'm with you. I don't see the point in getting Lee when we have the staff we do now. Well, let me rephrase that. In the short term, I understand Cashman's directive to win it all, and this would certainly have moved him towards that goal. And with Romine and Sanchez, we may have suitable replacements for Jesus (who may not have a place to play).

    But as a fan, I would like to have SOME sense that other teams can pose a threat to the Yankees. It gets boring to me if they just win and win and win (and yes, I remember 1998, and it was incredible, but the excitement was watching them compile the record - individual wins eventually lost much of their luster for me).

    Now, next season we are likely to lose Andy and Javy. That certainly opens a slot for Lee, and I'd have no problem with the Yanks rounding out the rotation with him (and, I pray, Joba). That would be addressing a need. This is just piling on.

  5. poster boy for red sux eliminated from all star team by the universe!

  6. The deal is dead and I'm fine with that, but the fact that people are thinking this would have been overkill for the Yankees baffles me. Tell me who takes a spot in the rotation if one of our starting 5 goes down with an injury. Mitre? Nova? Gaudin? Then what happens if Javy and/or Burnett keep giving the consistency we've come to expect from them? Then what happens when Hughes hits his innings limit and is shipped off to the bullpen later in the year? The lead is only 3 games, folks. Last year, the Yankees were forced to go with Sabathia, Burnett and Pettitte the entire way through the playoffs, and they got away with it. (Who knows yet if all those added innings back then don't come back to haunt those arms this year? Especially if they have to pitch a lot down the stretch with a slim lead in the standings.) Imagine if Burnett had pitched his inevitable stinker in game 2 of the World Series instead of game 5, and the Phils leave Yankee Stadium with a 2-0 lead. I'm just saying, the Yankees by very definition ARE overkill. They have an all-star at nearly every position. They're gonna get Lee anyway, so you may as well get used to more overkill on the pitching staff.