|Cano to Go, Don'tcha Know|
The Yankees are close to the top of the AL East and the two available wild card spots. They're also close to last place in the AL East and an ignominious finish to the 2013 season. With a plot like that, how should the Yankees write the rest of the book on this season? By being sellers...and potentially smart buyers.
Injuries to Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, Eduardo Nunez, Kevin Youkilis, and Francisco Cervelli have turned the team upside down. For a while everything was okay- newbies Lyle Overbay, Vernon Wells, and Travis Hafner played like they were re-born in April. Since then they have mostly reverted to their over-the-hill status.
The Yankees pitching kept them afloat for a while too, but CC Sabathia has lost velocity and control, Andy Pettitte has been ineffective after a good start to the season, Phil Hughes is doing his usual Jekyll and Hughes routine, and Ivan Nova and David Phelps have had their ups and downs. Only Hiroki Kuroda has been consistently good, but the lineup goes to sleep when he pitches.
The Yankees have relied on a number of players night in and night out that are not Major League hitters. It's remarkable that they have stayed above .500 for this long. With Teixeira and Youkilis gone for the season, Granderson still unable to swing a bat, and A-Rod possibly facing suspension just as his rehab assignment has started, are things going to get that much better?
It's time for the Yankees, for the first time in recent or long term memory, to be primary sellers at the trade deadline. Unfortunately, they will likely not do that, but the fan base would probably prefer the Yankees did some dealing to re-work the present team.
It should all start with Curtis Granderson.
I love Granderson, he's an even better person off the field than he is on. He had a remarkable 2011 season, before a strictly hit (43 HR) or miss (195 K) 2012 season. This season has been a complete wipe out. Hit by a pitch in the first Spring Training game, he missed the first 38 games of the year. He was only back for eight games when another baseball broke his finger. He's missed another 35 and counting.
Grandy will be 33 when next season starts and he'll be a free agent after this season. I don't see any scenario in which the Yankees give him a new deal.
The Yankees would be nuts to bring Phil Hughes, another pending free agent, back next year. Hughes' laundry list of injuries and his inconsistency over the years should push the Yankees to get a ready-for-the-Major Leagues player or players back instead of waiting for draft pick(s) when Hughes goes elsewhere. Let Michael Pineda or Vidal Nuno take the spot that opens up.
Joba? I don't even need to go in detail as to why he should be dealt. The Yankees won't get much for him, but I know I can't watch more of him coming in and extending the other team's lead.
So now we get to the most difficult one of all...Robinson Cano. I want him back next year and years to come. But not 10 years or whatever outrageous number of years that he's reported to want in a new deal. Cano will be 31 to start next year. You've already seen, for whatever the reason, the degrading of players like A-Rod, Teixeira, Albert Pujols, and Adrian Gonzalez after they signed ridiculously long deals.
Michael Kay spoke on his radio show on Tuesday about how ridiculous it is for Yankees fans to want to blow the team up. There aren't too many people, myself included, who want to blow things up. It's to deal the right players and to do it, not for the sake of just trading them, but to get good return. Otherwise you don't make those deals.
I totally agree that anything can happen once you make the playoffs. I am not from the spoiled generation of fans who think like George Steinbrenner of the pre-millenium that any no-championship season is a waste. but sometimes you need to make moves to avoid multiple seasons without playoffs.
That could definitely be the case with Hal Steinbrenner demanding a $189MM total salary by next season.