The Major League Baseball trade deadline passed and General Manager of the New York Yankees Brian Cashman has been criticized for failing to pull the trigger on a trade to improve the 2011 Yankees roster. In particular is Cashman’s refusal to depart with 3-4 of his minor league prospects in exchange for Colorado Rockies pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez. The Colorado Rockies were rumored to have asked the Yankees for their 21 year-old catching prospect in Jesus Montero, 20 year-old left-handed pitcher Manny Banuelos and 24 year-old right-handed pitcher Ivan Nova (who is 10-4 this season for the Yankees) as the starting package for Jimenez.
I strongly believe that Cashman was right to hold onto his minor league prospects and here’s why: the Yankees minor system has churned out a large amount of major league players the last few years and the Yankees should give their prospects a chance to contribute in the majors. Below is a list of former Yankee prospects who are thriving in the majors this season. The list also includes the players that the Yankees received in return and when the date of the trade was executed.
Statistics as of August 7, 2011:
Ian Kennedy (RHP) (AZ) (2009 3-team trade for Curtis Granderson from Detroit Tigers) – 14-3, 137 strikeouts in 163.1 innings, 3.20 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, leads the Diamondbacks in wins, strikeouts and ERA.
Mike Dunn (LHP) (FLA) (2009 trade for Javier Vazquez and Boone Logan from Atlanta Braves) (Braves traded Dunn to Marlins for Dan Uggla in 2010) – 5-6, 58 strikeouts in 51.2 innings; 3.66 ERA, 1.32 WHIP – a lefty that the Yankees could certainly use in their bullpen right now.
Melky Cabrera (OF) (KC) (2009 trade for Javier Vazquez and Boone Logan from Atlanta Braves) – .303, 13 HR, 62 RBI, 14 Sb – Cabrera was released by the Braves after one season but is excelling with the Royals this season.
Mark Melancon (RHP) (HOU) (2010 trade for Lance Berkman from Houston Astros) – 6-3, 11/14 in saves, 3.04 ERA, 1.29 WHIP – Melancon has become the closer for the last-place Astros.
Jeff Karstens (RHP) (PIT) (2008 for Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte from Pittsburgh Pirates) – 8-6, 3.17 ERA, 1.13 WHIP – Karstens is starting for the Pirates and has helped the Pirates compete this season.
Daniel McCutchen (RHP) (PIT) (2008 for Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte from Pittsburgh Pirates) – 3-3, 2.93 ERA, 1.27 WHIP – McCutchen has become an integral part of the Pirates bullpen.
Tyler Clippard (RHP) (WAS) (2007 trade for Jonathan Albaladejo from Washington Nationals) – 2011 All-Star, 77 strikeouts in 63.1 innings; 1.56 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, leads the Nationals with 28 holds this season.
Don’t forget the impact that Austin Jackson had as a rookie last season for the Detroit Tigers. Add this list to the current players on the Yankees major league roster who came up through the Yankees minor system in David Robertson, Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Brett Gardner, Robinson Cano and Eduardo Nunez, and it is clear that the Yankees minor league system has the ability to produce major league talent.
As a life-long Yankee fan, I’m glad that Cashman did not trade any of the aforementioned prospects for Ubaldo Jimenez. If Montero is as good of a hitter that scouts say, then he should be given a fair shot to produce in the majors this season and beyond. In addition, I believe that a team should hold onto pitchers who are left-handed (such as Manny Banuelos) because of the lack of quality left-handed pitchers in the major leagues. Lastly, it’s fun to watch home-grown players making it onto the Yankees major league roster and seeing them become a significant part of the team.