The New York Yankees, a team that is currently languishing in last place, is struggling due to a series of disappointing trades and acquisitions under general manager Brian Cashman.
Despite the evident failures in roster construction, Cashman’s job seems secure. Let’s delve into the franchise-altering trades that have set back the Yankees this season and explore the difficult road ahead in the 2024 off-season.
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Two Devastating Trades that Destroyed the Yankees
1. Trade for Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Ben Rortvedt
This trade saw the Yankees acquiring Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Ben Rortvedt. The impact on the team, however, has been negative.
Josh Donaldson’s Performance: A Liability at 37
The Yankees had hoped for remaining value from Donaldson, but instead, he became one of the team’s worst offensive players, with elevated strikeout rates. His current season stats show a .142 average and 10 homers, a significant decline from previous years.
Moreover, the final $50 million of Donaldson’s deal prevented the Yankees from acquiring free agents elsewhere. This led to missed opportunities, especially in the outfield where support was desperately needed. The Yankees now await the opportunity to reallocate his salary, but questions remain about the trust in Cashman’s ability to spend wisely.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa: A Fine Utility Piece but Not a Starter
While Kiner-Falefa has become a useful utility player, his performance as a starter has been suboptimal. His season stats, including a .253 average and six homers, are fine, but his defensive value in the outfield has been below average. IKF is ultimately the least of the Yankees’ worries when it comes to this trade.
The Flip Side: The Twins’ Gain
The Twins managed to acquire Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela for almost nothing, unloading a heavy contract and benefiting from Urshela’s good 2022 season. Meanwhile, the Yankees were left trying to salvage the situation.
2. Trade for Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino
The second devastating trade involved the Yankees sending top pitching prospect Ken Waldichuk for Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino.
Frankie Montas: A Negative Asset
Montas, dealing with an overlooked shoulder injury, recorded a 6.35 ERA for the Yankees. With no innings pitched this year, the Yankees leveraged a top minor-league pitcher for essentially a net negative asset. A potential return to form for Montas would be a significant risk. It’s possible Cashman takes a flier on Montas and gives him a prove-it deal, but it certainly feels like a situation that ends up hurting the Yankees.
Lou Trivino: A Risky Investment at 31
Trivino has been struggling with injury, and while he has another year of control before free agency, his future is uncertain. With a 4.53 ERA last year and coming off a serious injury, the Yankees may seek a cheaper option.
The Impact of the Trades: A Difficult Path Ahead
These trades have left the Yankees with no real value, despite taking on $50 million and losing a top prospect. The challenge now lies in navigating a competitive free agent market, with Steinbrenner potentially losing trust in Cashman, especially following the first-year flop of the Carlos Rodon deal.
The Need for a Tactical Rethink
While it’s true that the trades represent a culmination of poor choices that have resulted in a downward trend, the real challenge lies in the 2024 off-season. Cashman’s strategies will be under scrutiny as the team looks to rebuild and move away from the shadow of injury-prone talent and expensive veterans. The Yankees’ future hinges on the right decisions being made to turn the ship around, and all eyes will be on the management to see if they can rise to the challenge.