Best Laid Plans
Another week, and another week of nothing material to discuss with respect to the 2022 MLB season, trades, free agent acquisitions or even DFA’s.
The only thing we learned this week is that a new acronym was added to the baseball vernacular; FMCS.
No, FMCS is not a new Bill James analytical tool. It stands for Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. The FMCS was founded in 1947, and are an independent agency of the United States government, and the nation’s leading public agency for dispute resolution and conflict management.
FMCS is tasked with mediating labor disputes throughout the fruited plains.
So, the people that can’t agree on anything, are going to get involved with Baseball.
Just what the Doctor ordered.
Since the latest “sit down” between MLB and the MLBPA this past Tuesday accomplished little, if anything, MLB is requesting assistance from the Government.
Of course Tony Clark and the MLBPA have zero obligation to agree to this proposition and in typical form declined comment. Instead Tony and his team will discuss how to respond.
Here’s the fun part, let’s just say the players do agree to go to mediation, the mediator’s suggestions, guidance and counsel are non-binding.
It is not entirely unprecedented, you may recall that the same folks got involved in 2013 to end the NHL 4 month lockout. So, I guess that’s a good sign.
However, keep in mind the last time baseball went in this direction it was considered a major failure during the 1994 work stoppage. Not a good sign.
On Friday afternoon the MLBPA declined the offer stating “Two months after implementing their lockout, and just two days after committing to Players that a counterproposal would be made, the owners refused to make a counter, and instead requested mediation. After consultation with our Executive Board, and taking into account a variety of factors, we have declined this request. The clearest path to a fair and timely agreement is to get back to the table. Players stand ready to negotiate”.
Spring training beginning on time is now officially in peril.
“There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need, but not for man’s greed”… Mahatma Gandhi
Since we have no baseball news or encouraging developments to stimulate us, all we have is a collection of memories. Which got me thinking.
In 2016 the Yankees were sellers for the first time in quite a while. The last time I can remember a sell off was in 1989 when Rickey Henderson was dealt to the A’s. A terrible trade to say the least.
Photo by David Madison
How did the 2016 re-build go? Actually we all know the Yankees don’t re-build, they re-load, right? Let’s take a look at what Mr. Cashman’s re-load actually amounted to.
In July of 2016, the Yankees traded dominant lefty reliever Andrew Miller to the Indians in exchange for four players; Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield, and right-handers Ben Heller and J.P. Feyereisen. The Tribe went on to win the AL Pennant, and lost in a great 7 game series (thanks in large part to a 10 minute rain delay) to the Joe Maddon Chicago Cubs.
Two years later the Yankees dealt Sheffield along with Erik Swanson and outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams to the Mariners for James Paxton.
Paxton is no longer a Yankee and J.P. Feyereisen is a solid pitcher with division foe Tampa Bay Rays. He went 4-2 with a 2.45 ERA in 2021.
Frazier is now a Cub, cut by the Yankees following the 2021 season.
Heller was last seen after being cut by the Diamondbacks 2021.
The next 2016 re-load occurred when the Yankees sent closer Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs in exchange for infielder Gleyber Torres, outfielders Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford, and righty Adam Warren, who’d been traded to Chicago by the Yankees in the December 2015 Starlin Castro trade.
Torres has regressed and many consider him trade bait.
Billy McKinney has bounced around and spent 2021 as a Met and Dodger.
McKinney played two games with the Yankees in 2018, and then he was dealt along with Brandon Drury in a trade to the Blue Jays for left-hander J.A. Happ.
Don’t even get me started on J.A. Haap and the 2020 playoff debacle!
Rashad Crawford was last seen playing for the Toros de Tijuana of the Mexican League in 2021.
Adam Warren, after bouncing around, inked a minor league contract with the Yankees on December 18, 2019, on July 17, 2020, the Yankees released Warren from his contract. On December 15, 2020, Warren signed another minor league contract with the Yankees (his third stint with the Yankees). Warren had a decent 2021 season with the Scranton farm team, but when arms were needed on the big league club, the Yankees chose to go with Sal Romano instead.
Chapman helped the Cubs win the aforementioned 2016 World Series, their first title since 1908.
After the 2016 Season, the Yankees signed Chapman to a free agent contract and later extended it for another 3 years. He has been the closer since, and surrendered two of the most heartbreaking home runs in recent Yankee history, actually three if you throw in the Sunday Night Baseball blast to Rafael Devers in 2017 at Yankee Stadium.
On Aug. 1, 2016 the Yanks dealt 39 year old Carlos Beltran to the Texas Rangers for three right handers Dillon Tate, Erik Swanson and Nick Green.
Tate was used in the Zach Britton trade with the Orioles in July of 2018.
As mentioned above, Swanson was traded as part of the Paxton deal, and Nick Green has bounced around quite a bit; he was last seen as a Somerset Patriot in 2021.
Beltran on the other hand moved on from Texas to Houston as a free agent. He was a part of the 2017 Championship team, and then we all know what happened to him afterwards.
Brain McCann was traded to the Astros prior to the 2017 season in exchange for pitchers Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman.
As mentioned above, Houston won the World Series in 2017.
Abreu pitched 38 innings over the 2020 & 2021 seasons for the Yankees, pitching to a 5.68 ERA.
Guzman was part of the Giancarlo Stanton trade with the Marlins and signed a minor league free agent contract with the San Francisco Giants after suffering elbow injuries.
Although all of the story is not written, the great re-load of 2016 has not yielded nearly as much as Mr. Cashman and his crew had envisioned.
Essentially, the Yankees helped three of their four trade partners get to the World Series, and are still waiting to get to one themselves.
There have been many excellent rebuilds in pro sports over the years. A few that come to mind are:
2010 Texas Rangers led by Jon Daniels – Result: 2010 and 2011 AL Pennant winners.
2006 Detroit Tigers led by Dave Dombrowski – Result: 2006 AL Pennant winners.
2010 Seattle Seahawks led by Pete Carroll – Result: back to back Super Bowls, 2013 Super Bowl Champions.
2015 Cleveland Indians led by Chris Antonetti – Result: 2016 AL Pennant and 3 straight AL Central Titles.
1996/1997 Los Angeles Lakers led by Jerry West – Result: 3 consecutive NBA titles (2000-2002).
2007/2008 Golden State Warriors led by Bob Myers – Result: 5 NBA finals, winning 3 (2015, 2017 & 2018).
2013 Kansas City Royals led by Dayton Moore – Result: 2015 World Series Champions.
2013 Chicago Cubs led by Theo Epstein – Result: 3 out of 6 NL Central titles and the 2016 World Series Championship.
It has now been 5 plus years since the 2016 re-load and the Yankee have not won a World Series. In fact, they have not even won an AL Pennant.
Their re-load falls far short of the above teams rebuilding. If and when a 2022 season is played, they are not considered favorites to even win their own division.
In my opinion the 2016 re-load was an abject failure as the Yankees have won 1 AL East title since the re-load and have been to the ALCS once.
For me, that is simply not good enough.
Here is an interesting fact I came across recently, from 2014-2018 Dellin Betances had 100 plus strikeouts each season, making him the first reliever in MLB history to accomplish the feat in five consecutive seasons.
Have a great weekend.