Time is money. And Brian Cashman has all the time in the world to make the right move. Prior to trading for Michael Pineda, Cashman had the opportunity to sign CJ Wilson, bid for Yu Darvish, or trade for Ubaldo Jimenez, Gio Gonzlaez, or even Mat Latos. However, Cashman clearly didn’t like the associated cost. For some of these names, one could argue that the talent may be comparable, but in terms of player cost, there’s no comparison. More after the jump..
While the Yankees were never in on Mat Latos, the team did ask about Ubaldo Jimenez and Gio Gonzalez. I wrote this piece on trading for Ubaldo and I was all for the move–if the price right. Jimenez’s contract was friendly (only had roughly $20 million remaining for three years), but the asking price was too high. The Rockies apparently wanted Montero, Manny Banuelos, AND Ivan Nova. That’s too much. Instead, Cleveland coughed up their best pitching prospect (Drew Pomeranz), two additional top tier arms, and one top tier bat. Cashman let another team trade their farm for Ubaldo. Jimenez went 4-4 with a 5.10 ERA as a member of the Indians last year. Patience pays off.
As for Gio Gonzalez, I had this to add, taken from an article written back in December:
Everyday, we hear more and more about lefty Oakland starting pitcher, Gio Gonzalez. Gonzalez, 26, has been a full-time starting pitcher for the last two seasons, compiling a 31-21 record with 378 strikeouts in 402 innings. More importantly, Gonzlaez is under team control for three more seasons.
Last season, Gonzalez was fourth in wins (16), tenth in ERA (3.12), and ninth in strikeouts (197). However, these numbers were compiled in the Oakland Coliseum, a very spacious ballpark, and against the lighter hitting AL West.
Billy Beane has made it know that Gonzalez is available and the Yankees have begun to kick the tires. It is rumored that A’s want Jesus Montero and Manny Banuelos as a starting point in any deal. That’s too rich for my blood, but I’m partial to my prospects and Gonzalez’s track record isn’t long enough for me to deal my two best.
Outside of Gonzalez, no other trade names really jump out to me. Obviously, I’d give up the farm for Felix Hernandez, but he’s not available.
Like Cashman has done for the last five years, hang onto the young kids and develop them internally until the right deal comes along.
And the right deal did come along. I don’t think anyone thought Michael Pineda was available, given his cost (five years of team control), body of work (plus fastball), age (22), and Mariner philosophy (build through the rotation). Pineda’s second half wasn’t that good (5.12 ERA, 1-4 record) and maybe the Mariners saw something that they didn’t like. But dumping him because a ‘bad’ second half? Seems a little trigger happy. By no means is Montero a slouch and the Mariners clearly need offense, but teams normally hang onto these types of pitchers.
I won’t get into how absurd bidding $53 million to just talk with a player is (Looking at you, Yu). Nor will get into the risk associated with big money, free agent contracts (Looking at you CJ & AJ). It’s just not worth it unless the right player comes along.
At the end of the day, the Yankees did not have to trade any Killer B to get a pitcher. For the Yankees to obtain Jimenez or Gonzalez, Montero, Banuelos, and probably others would have been sent packing. Instead, the Yankees had to part ways with Montero while giving Banuelos and Betances more time to develop in the minors. I said it last night and I’ll say it again–Give me the young arm over the young bat any day of the week. Players who have Pineda’s upside are not on the free agent market. Big power hitters (Prince Fielder, Carlos Pena) are still out there, waiting to be signed.
I rest my case.