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It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

About the Off-Season: It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

By Tim Kabel

February 18, 2023


Every fall, when thousands of young people head off to college, the highways are strewn with mattresses, sofas, recliners, and other items that these youth and or their parents believed would travel perfectly fine at 80 miles an hour in the back of a truck with nothing tying them down. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Every Easter, many parents buy their children adorable little ducklings or baby bunnies. Six months later, the Aflac duck is standing in the middle of the living room quacking incessantly while a giant furry rabbit is tearing up your carpet with two front teeth that resemble chiclets, while it deposits jelly beans all over your floor. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Every time there is a new hit show on TV, people become obsessed with the characters. You will see a spike in obscure names on the list of baby names for that particular year. Fifteen years later, Daenerys, Tyrion, and Drogo will be teased unmercifully at school and harbor festering resentment for their parents. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Every Saint Patrick's Day, people of all ages will consume vast quantities of green beer, green bagels and more green beer while pretending to be Irish. Many of them will wake up the next day, not remembering any of it and complaining of a severe headache. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Last year, at the trading deadline, the Yankees traded minor league pitchers, JP Sears, Luis Medina, Ken Waldichuk, and second baseman Cooper Bowman to the Oakland A's for Frankie Montas. For the Yankees, Montas went 1-3 with a 6.35 ERA. He was shut down late in the season due to shoulder issues. Earlier in the off-season, it was reported that he would miss the first month of the season. Now, he needs surgery and will most likely miss most, if not all of the 2023 season. Since he will be a free agent after this year, the highlight of his Yankees' career could be that one game he won last year. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

As the old saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. It would be easy to blast Brian Cashman for acquiring Montas but, many people were in favor of the deal at the time. Injuries happen. It's simply that the four players the Yankees gave up for Montas could be helping this Yankees team now if the trade had not been made. Sears and Waldichuk seem to be the most likely players to have success in Oakland, which will frustrate Yankees fans for quite some time. I think there is a lesson to be learned here, other than simply saying they never should have acquired Montas.

Sometimes, it is better not to make a trade than it is to make one. Realistically, Montas did virtually nothing as a Yankee last year and certainly was not worth the cost in prospects. Sears pitched better for the Yankees than Montas did. Now, Sears is gone, along with three others. My point is that sometimes, it would be better to hold on to the prospects rather than making a trade simply to make one. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. That leads me to my next point.

Many Yankees' fans are now clamoring for the team to make another trade. They just sent away four prospects for a fellow who probably won't contribute anything to this year's team. Sending more prospects out to bring in a replacement who most likely would not be as highly regarded as Montas seems to be foolish. At this point of the season, it is unlikely that a top tier pitcher would be available. The smarter move would be to fill the fifth starter spot from within.

That could very easily be the underrated Domingo German or someone else who is currently in the minors. There has been some talk of Clark Schmidt as well. Personally, I think he is better suited to being a relief pitcher but, he is an option. Spring training is the time to evaluate the roster and even non-roster players to see who could fill that role.

If the Yankees could acquire a starting pitcher by trading Gleyber Torres or Isiah Kiner-Falefa, that would be one thing. The team would like to send those players away anyway so, using them to acquire a pitcher to fill a need would make sense. However, a package of prospects is not the way to go at this point. The Yankees have held on to Anthony Volpe, Oswald Peraza, and Oswaldo Cabrera for a while. Now it is time to see what they can do on the Major League level for the Yankees. Panicking and sending one or more of them out to acquire a fifth starter would not be a good idea. We can use the Montas trade as a teachable moment in another way as well.

Substitute the name Bryan Reynolds for Frankie Montas. The Yankees have been rumored to be interested in Reynolds for quite some time. It would take a very large package of talented prospects to acquire him at this point. It could be done. The Yankees could send Peraza or Volpe, or both of them and some other prospects, including Jasson Dominguez and Austin Wells to the Pirates. While this trade could be done, the question is, should it be done? Would it make more sense to see what the internal options and non-roster invitees can do before making a deal. What if Oswaldo Cabrera has a very hot spring and seizes left field. I'm not saying that he's as good as Bryan Reynolds but, we have never seen Bryan Reynolds play in New York. In addition, Cabrera is young and presumably will get better. He also will not cost anything; he is already here. Maybe the answer isn't Oswaldo Cabrera. It might be somebody else who will be in spring training. I doubt it will be Aaron Hicks, but it could be one of the non-roster invitees.

The Montas trade was a disaster. There is no way around that. Making another trade at this point either for someone to take Montas' spot or to acquire another veteran who will supposedly be a difference maker is not the way to go at this point. The Yankees have sent away a lot of prospects in the last couple of years. At this point, the only two acquisitions from last year's trade deadline who are in a position to help this team are Lou Trevino and Harrison Bader.

Let's hope the Yankees take a breath and relax and see what they have assembled in spring training before doing anything rash. We don't want to be sitting here In August, watching another pitcher who was acquired in a trade struggle or waiting for Bryan Reynolds to explode in pinstripes while Oswald Peraza and others are flourishing on a new team.

We don't want to say one more time, “it seemed like a good idea at the time.”

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