Retrospective: A Few Potential Trade Partners had Unrealistic Expectations
by Cary Greene
August 7, 2021
The Yankees had a pretty exciting trade deadline and, it seems, Brian Cashman even tried to come away with more than he did. In the end, he was curtailed both by Hal Steinbrenner’s clear desire to not exceed the luxury tax threshold and rival General Managers unwillingness to bite on Cashman’s trade proposals.
A few of the teams that matched up really well with the Yankees had unrealistically high expectations and this justifiably caused Cashman to simply pivot away from them as potential trade partners.
One such example was the Colorado Rockies, who were a plane that never got off the ground as the pilot, GM Bill Schmidt, just decided not to fly. Many in the media were well aware that Schmidt wasn’t in a trading mindset. It was widely reported that Schmidt wasn’t considering moving Trevor Story in June or July because he wanted to “market him” leading up to the All-Star game. This caused a few teams who might have been interested to make alternate plans. That’s significant because Colorado could have had a bigger prospect haul if they had traded Story sooner, but they didn’t!
In the aftermath of the deadline, Schmidt addressed the Media this past Friday and said, “I feel good about our process and how we handled things, it’s a snapshot in time right now. We’re going into the offseason trying to improve the club, but I thought our process was solid.”
When pressed about not dealing Story, Schmidt added, “With what we were offered, we thought the (competitive balance) pick was better suited for us and we could have Trevor on our team for another two months … If (any deals) were close, we probably would’ve got to the finish line.”
The truth is Colorado lowered their trade demands in the eleventh hour but by then, other teams had pivoted and had already made deals to improve their teams. Obviously Brian Cashman’s first plan was to trade for Gallo and then Story. The thinking was that Story would slot in at shortstop and Gleyber Torres would move to second base while DJ LeMahieu would then shift to first base.
Cashman had just swung a huge deal with Texas for Joey Gallo on Wednesday night, also acquiring situational lefty reliever Joely Rodriguez in exchange for a significant prospect haul comprised of Ezequiel Duran, Trevor Hauver, Glen Otto and Josh Smith. Gallo came with a whole year of extra control beyond this season and Rodriguez came with an extra four years of control. Star players with team control will fetch significant prospect hauls and that’s exactly what Texas got.
Cashman’s very next move was submitting an offer to the Rockies for Story. Clearly, the Rockies wanted a significant package for Story, who at this point would have been a two month rental player. Colorado took their time with the offer and while their G.M. was demanding more, Brian Cashman simply pivoted and traded for former Gold-Glove first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who was also a terrific fit for the Yankees needs and probably even a better fit than Story would have been. After all, Rizzo provides tremendous balance to what was an overly right-handed lineup.
Like Story, Rizzo is a two is a 2-month rental player. The trade with the Cubs went down for two really nice prospects, Alexander Vizcaino and Kevin Alcantara. Make no mistake, Vizcaino is an excellent pitching prospect and Alcantara has a lot of potential. If Colorado passed on an offer similar to that for Story, they aren’t getting anywhere near that with the “competitive balance” pick they’re so eagerly anticipating.
Rockies G.M. Schmidt also said to the media on Friday, “At the end of the day, nothing came to fruition. We made a deal with Mychal Givens a couple of days ago and that ended up being the only deal. It wasn’t for a lack of effort. Talks were close but at the end of the day, it is what it is.”
Keep in mind, we’re talking about a Rockies team that is 14 games out of the Wild Card and who also plays in the same division as the Giants, the Padres and the Dodgers. “It is what it is?” Seems like a lame comment from an irrelevant franchise to be honest. Colorado will now receive one competitive balance pick for losing Story to free agency this coming offseason.
Schmidt also dealt a significant blow to Trevor Story’s market by keeping him. There will be teams that might have been interested in Story this offseason but now, they stand to lose a draft pick if they sign him.
Borrowing a line from Schmidt, “…at the end of the day, it is what it is.” The Yankees can sign a shortstop this offseason if they want to. They can also stick with Gleyber and allow him to mature, or trade him. It’s not like the Yankees don’t have excellent options.
I’m in favor of re-signing Rizzo this offseason and I think the Yankees should trade Torres for pitching help – assuming they sign a really good shortstop like Corey Seager who would be a terrific fit for the Yankees. In fact, if New York retains Rizzo and adds Seager, that’s a game changer because it further balances the Yankees lineup.
Plus, the pitcher Torres might bring would solidify the staff.
Here’s another quick note-
Many of us here at SSTN wanted the Yankees to trade with the Royals for Andrew Benintendi (who, like Gallo, has a year of team control beyond this season). Oddly, Benintendi wasn’t even on the market and once again we’re talking here about a noncompetitive team, the Kansas City Royals.
The Royals are 13 ½ games out of the Wild-Card and though they have a top ten farm system, one has to wonder why not sell off a few pieces to strengthen the organization? Look no further than the Royal’s GM, Dayton Moore in order to understand what Kansas City was doing. He simply didn’t want to trade people. Pretty simple, really.
Pretty dumb as well.
Moore clearly laid an egg at the deadline but I’m not surprised that Brian Cashman didn’t try to trade for Benintendi on account of not having the financial wiggle room to pay Benintendi’s remaining $5 million that he’s owed. No doubt, Hal Steinbrenner had really made it clear internally that he strongly preferred Cashman to not exceed the threshold.