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Yanks Don’t Have Prospects, They Have Assets

By Mike Silva ~ July 1st, 2011. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Yankees.

Mark Newman sat down with the guys at NoMaas the other day. It’s a lengthy interview, but the one thing I took away from Newman’s comments was that it’s very unlikely that many prospects will ever play in the Bronx. I realized the Yankees have assets, not prospects, and their focus on the farm system is more about what they can flip it for then personal usage. This is no different than trading commodities on the Stock Exchange. So if you are a Yankees fan and expect to one day see Jesus Montero, Adam Warren, David Phelps, or Austin Romine play in the Bronx, don’t count on it.

Take a look at these quotes by Newman:

First, this is his response to criticism the team won’t use prospects on the big league roster:

I wouldn’t want to characterize the criticism as fair or unfair. It was our decision that at the current time our best option was Brian Gordon. He had extraordinary performance over the last couple months in AAA, and because of an out, he became available. We always want to promote our guys, but this was a special case. We needed to make a decision on what would help us win in the short-term. We understand those criticisms, but we’ll see how it all plays out. Remember our priority is to win games.

This was his response to the lack of utilization of Hector Noesi:

Our thoughts are that we’re in an ‘all-hands on deck’ scenario. Our mission is to win games in New York. Our secondary mission is to develop championship-caliber players in our farm system. In the ideal situation, Noesi would be a starter in Scranton right now and be continuing his development.

I don’t disagree with anything that Newman says. The Yankees should have a yearly mission to win a championship every year. I just don’t see how developing these kids at Scranton, instead of New York, is helping them or the team.

Why can’t they do more of what we saw in 2005? When they needed a second baseman and starter they called on Robinson Cano and Chien-Ming Wang. The team was forced into this decision because of a lack of external options. That turned out fine.

It’s not crazy to say they are in a similar scenario this year. Forget guys like Felix Hernandez or Jered Weaver. Teams aren’t giving their stars to the Yankees unless they get premium return. Maybe Montero and the two Killer B’s change their mind, but by and large teams aren’t about to help the Yankees win a pennant.  Think more Hiroki Kuroda as who is available.

Keep in mind, Newman and the player development team are looking at more than just the numbers. They know the mental and physical development that each prospect needs. He mentioned some of the adjustments that Adam Warren is going through at Triple-A. Let me ask you this: is Hector Noesi any worse than some of the names we have heard that could be available? I do believe they need a lefty in the rotation, but acquiring someone like Ted Lilly is more of a salary dump and shouldn’t cost them prospects. In the interim, why not see what you have? Sergio Mitre? Brian Gordon? Is that really “all hands on deck?” Were Wang and Cano completely ready? Unless they embarrass themselves wouldn’t learning at the big league level be the best type of development? A mixture of veterans and kids won’t derail this team. Have you looked at the competition lately? Are the Yankees really in danger of not making the playoffs because Hector Noesi makes a few starts? You can win and develop at the same time. This is the dream scenario for any big league club. The Yankees have it all and don’t want to use it.

The real blueprint for success is what we see in Boston. The Sox have incorporated Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, and Clay Buchholz the last five years. They are not afraid to call on their prospects. Pedrioa struggled mightily his first couple of months in the big leagues. Instead of going out and trading for “Tony Womack” the Sox stuck with him and he went on to win the Rookie of the Year. The following season he was the AL MVP. Would Pedroia have survived in the Bronx? Would any of those players ever see the big leagues? It’s a fair question. I wonder if Ian Kennedy, Phil Hughes, and Joba Chamberlain failing in 2008 spooked the Yankees to the point where they changed their mind on the role of the prospects. And no, using kids in the bullpen doesn’t count as “giving them a chance.” That’s a low leverage risk.

The Yankees continue to be successful with this model, but for how long? One day the veterans won’t be there, and the farm system might not be as fertile as it is now. They might wish they took advantage of this prosperous time in team history.

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6 Responses to Yanks Don’t Have Prospects, They Have Assets

  1. Chakrabs

    Its a perfectly good plan. They’re the only team that can afford to a) sign those top draft picks that would be harder for other teams to sign due to $. and b) they can afford to sign the expensive veteran player they’re giving up prospects for. So, they develop and hype up the prospects and target the MLBers they want and add to their team. Any prospect thats legit, like a Cano or example, they’ll keep. Finally, these great prospects are always good for depth regardless.

  2. Chuck Johnson

    On the show this past Sunday, Joe D. had some positive things to say about the Yanks’ farm system and some of their players, even a handful of off the radar guys.

    Joe and I agree on most everything, but in our own personal conversations this is where we disagree; I think the overall talent level in the system is massively overrated.

    The Yanks’ need an emergency start and have to go to the minors for a guy they think is capable of pitching five innings.


    Brian Gordon and Adam Warren pitch in the same league.

    Against the same competition.

    Going outside the organization for a AAA pitcher is basically saying the guys you already have can’t cut it.

    Look at Atlanta.

    Their top three AAA guys; Julio Teheran, Brandon Beachy and Mike Minor have sixteen starts combined for the Braves this year, and 108 innings pitched.

    These guys come up, put in their six innings, get back on the bus, and head back to AAA.

    And Newman’s comments saying Austin Romine “should be in AAA” and Jesus Montero “not being ready” tells me Romine has passed Montero on the depth chart.

    Especially when Newman referred to Montero and his “organizational age.”

    Um, sorry, Mark, but there’s no such thing.

    Jason Heyward is four months older than Montero and was a National League All-Star…last year.

    Mike Stanton is three weeks older than Montero and will be an All-Star this year.

    Starlin Castro is eight months YOUNGER and likely will be an All-Star this year as well.

    What are their organizational ages?

    I don’t blame Seattle at all for sending Cliff Lee to Texas, I like Justin Smoak better than Montero, too.

  3. David, Jr.

    I don’t know why Chuck is so negative about Yankee prospects. I can relate a conversation that I had with a reporter friend that is quite close to the Minnesota Twins, who I believe are considered to be a sharp organization.

    It was in the context of Liriano. He said that the Twins don’t like him, consider him to be not much of a worker and somebody that they wouldn’t commit to big time. He went on to say that the Twins “love” both Montero and Banuelos.

    Maybe Smoak is better than Montero. So what?

    Also, your citing of other young players that have been successful doesn’t mean much in the context of the Yankees. You have a team that has about a 92% chance of making the playoffs, which means that there simply aren’t going to be many opportunities for young players. It means exactly that, not that they are bad or overrated.

  4. Chakrabs

    I think the gist is that for the Yankees, it doesnt matter if the prospects are good or bad. It seems like they’re developing prospects in order to hype them up to receive MLBers in trades. They’re able to do this because they can absorb major-league salaries in a way most other teams cannot.

  5. Hot Carl

    Hey numbnuts -

    “The real blueprint for success is what we see in Boston. The Sox have incorporated Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, and Clay Buchholz the last five years. They are not afraid to call on their prospects.”

    What about Gardner, Nova, Hughes, D-Rob, Joba, Cervelli? Are you retarded? If you add in Posada, Jeter, Cano, Nunez, Pena, Noesi, Wade more than half of the active roster (and many of their starting players) were developed in house…

  6. Hot Carl

    how can I forget MARIANO RIVERA??!?!?!?! Please forgive me, Mo

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