Saturday, April 28, 2012

Why trading away Jesus Montero will haunt the Yankees for years

Today's a big day for baseball -- one highly-touted rookie is making his major league debuts, and the other got a callup. Bryce Harper, who was Baseball America's No. 1 prospect in 2011, got called up from the Washington Nationals and will make his MLB debut tonight. And Mike Trout, No. 2 on that list, is getting to play today for the Los Angeles of Anaheim (they released Bobby Abreu to make room for him; Trout did get to play a bit last year, but now he's getting a more of a chance). Guess who was No. 3 on that Baseball America list? Jesus Montero, who hit a homer last night. Meanwhile, Michael Pineda (No. 16 on the list) cooled his heels after his visit earlier this week to the Carl Pavano Memorial MRI tube. Thanks for nothing, Brian Cashman.

I was getting some grief on Facebook this week, being accused of "second-guessing" the Montero-Pineda trade. Excuse me? I didn't second-guess; I first-guessed! And one of the reasons I had such misgivings over the trade was this -- that generally speaking, Yankee fans feel much more passionately, and have more invested, in homegrown players. And that it would have been awesome to see Montero hitting up a storm in pinstripes for the next decade or two.

It was exciting last September to see Montero in the big leagues for the first time, and watch him start to show the promise we had heard so much about. Now we will get to see him show that promise in Seattle, while we hear how Pineda is progressing from torn labrum surgery. Lovely.

Yet there are still some Yankee fans and media shills who insist it's still "too soon" to judge the trade. Are you kidding me? Right now, it's as big of a rout as Peyton Manning over Ryan Leaf!

Yet the pro-Cashman voices among New York sportswriters -- which is to say, pretty much all of them -- gave Cash a pass. Again. Shocking, I know. Even if you believe Cashman's story, that Pineda wasn't damaged goods, that there were no red flags due to him having a 5+ ERA and losing velocity at the end of last season, you have to wonder what the heck the Yanks were doing with the way they managed -- more like mismanaged -- Pineda.

Like why didn't the Yankees pony up and get the dye-contrast MRI in the first place? It's a true fact that the regular MRI does not catch partially torn labrums. When Pineda was shut down, they should have put him in the dye-contrast version of the Carl Pavano Memorial MRI tube. Why didn't they?

And again, let me remind you of what injury expert Will Carroll wrote on April 4, after Pineda was diagnosed with "tendinitis":
As for Pineda, he might be better served looking to another starter on his staff for a better comp. CC Sabathia had some shoulder issues early in his career. A trip to Glenn Fleisig's lab in Birmingham helped him change some things, and the results speak for themselves. Why Pineda isn't heading down there is beyond me.  

It is also odd to me, given Cashman's insistence that Seattle did not give him "damaged goods," that he would have this conversation with Pineda this spring:
Cashman said he, too, had wondered about the condition of Pineda's shoulder during spring training, when he struggled to get his fastball above 90 mph on a consistent basis.

"I asked him several times through an interpreter if he had ever been in an MRI tube at Seattle," Cashman said. "Each time, the answer was the same.


Yet there is not a single voice in the mainstream sports media who covers the Yanks who will criticize Cashman for any of this, or even ask questions wondering about it all. The closest there has been to any criticism came from the New York Daily News' sports media columnist Bob Raissman, who pointed out how much the press is in the tank for Cashman. He notes that this stems from the days when Cashman was "George Steinbrenner's whipping boy," and writes:

Cashman gained the reputation of a humble nebbish who had the misfortune of working for an intransigent bully. In Cashman, the media discovered a sympathetic figure.

Those days are long gone. Cashman is a powerful executive who can mix it up, even taking on some Steinbrenner characteristics. Like playing the role of threatening bully. Yet in the mind’s eye of many who cover him, he’s still seen as the same old sympathetic figure.

Few find fault with the way he handled all aspects of the Pineda deal. Judging by the tone of the stories and commentary, the scribes/voices are dismissive and downright disgusted when any conspiracy theories are even mentioned.
This is why I laugh when people talk about the tough New York media. Because they are a bunch of marshmallows when it comes to Brian Cashman, falling all over themselves to defend him here. The way they did with Joe Torre.

One day, after Cashman is gone, and wields no power, you might actually get a real assessment of what a crummy job he has done over the last few years, but until then, fuggeddaboudit, as they say in Brooklyn.

What do you think? Tell us about it!


Roger 9 said...

Yes Lisa! You are absolutely correct about Brian Cashman's mishandling of the Pineda affair!
Had the Boss been alive and well, Cashman would have been long gone! Given the present Yankee brain trust, we can expect more of the same for years to come.

Unknown said...

Isn't possible that all this was made up? Let me explain: The Yankees need an opening for Pettitte, and what better way, than tell Pineda to take a long vacation

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