May 27, 2007


Picking up the pieces: As draft approaches, heat's on Cashman to change past (BILL MADDEN, May 27th 2007, NY Daily News)

The annual June draft - i.e. "The Great Baseball Crapshoot" - will take place a week from Thursday, and while most fans greet this as a day of anticipation, intrigue and hope, Yankee legions have come to view it as a day of dread. For until last year, when GM Brian Cashman took over the supervision of the draft from the incompetents (read: since-fired scouting director Lin Garrett) in Tampa, the Yankees' record in this annual exercise was abysmal.

Although the jury remains out for at least a couple of years on the trio of blue-chip starting pitchers - Ian Kennedy, Joba Chamberlain and Dellin Betances - Cashman & Co. took with their first, second and eighth picks last year (Kennedy and Chamberlain are off to good starts in the minors at Tampa, while Betances is set to open at Staten Island), the fact that the Yankees haven't produced a single impact position player out of the draft since taking Derek Jeter in the first round in 1992 speaks directly to the crisis they face now with an aging team and no saviors looming in the system. It's been said here before - with the exception of Phil Hughes (who certainly looks like the real deal) as their No. 1 pick 2004 - the Yankees have drafted more than 700 players since 1992 and for none of them to make it to the big club as starters, well, you can't try to be that bad.

Prior Yankees' GMs have understood that your prospects don't need to be that good as long as they're surrounded by NYC hype. That makes it so you can trade them for talent that's already in the major leagues. Brian Cashman seems to believe that he'll prove himself by holding onto the thoroughly marginal players in the Yankee system instead of trading them to fill the many holes on the big league squad. It's an epochal error.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 27, 2007 9:57 PM

Yes, let's trade Cla Meredith and Josh Bard for Doug Mirabellie to fill that whole at backup catcher.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at May 27, 2007 11:18 PM

Back-up catchers and middle relievers are insignificant--there are always plenty of good ones available almost free. The Sox have too many of the latter and need a youngster who can take over from Varitek full time. Saltalamacchia had an at-bat in the Sox/Braves series that makes it seem a near certainty that Theo will get him.

Posted by: oj at May 28, 2007 7:15 AM

I don't know that NYC hype will cut it, oj. That NY Daily News article you cited not long ago said that Matt DeSalvo & Chase Wright would be "trade bait" that would help the Yankees re-stock. If they seriously think there's a large trade market for sub-replacement level major-leaguers, or that marketing such folks is an adequate team development strategy, the Yankees have already greatly exaggerated the market value of NYC hype.

The reality is the Yankee cupboard is so bare that even NYC hype can't sell these players. Cashman has no choice but to hang onto his players.

Posted by: pj at May 28, 2007 10:48 AM

No, it's guys like Melky and Cano they should be dealing, who've already hit their rather low ceilings.

Posted by: oj at May 28, 2007 12:16 PM