The Yankees are loaded with young players and should consider capitalizing on their value

The 2018 Yankees are stacked for an impressive campaign, but what is more impressive: the 2018 Opening Day Yankees, or the other young players tucked away other organizations would love to have? 
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Names like Clint Frazier, Gleyber Torres, Justus Sheffield, Chance Adams, Estevan Florial, Miguel Andujar, Albert Abreu, Domingo Acevedo, Freicer Perez and Domingo German amongst a slew of other high performers are on the outside looking in on the 2018 Opening Day roster.

There is is a chance that some of these names won't make a meaningful impact as a New York Yankee, but they can set the course of Yankee history due to their value as prospects. 

The Fall of 1992 was sure to be satisfying to a young power hitting outfielder with speed for the New York Yankees Roberto Kelly. He worked hard after being signed young as an international free agent and grinded through the minor leagues, until he made his MLB debut a couple of years before. It all came together in 1992 as his tantalizing blend of five-tools earned him an All-Star game selection. More All-Star games with pinstripes were surely in his future.

However, November 3, 1992 came, and Roberto Kelly was shipped off to the Cincinnati Reds for a third- rounder out of Clemson, 1B/OF Joe De Berry, and a soon to be 30-year old volatile outfielder who only hit .246 the year before with a measly 14 home runs. Yankees' GM Gene Michael saw something he liked and went against stereotypical baseball protocol for a Yankee GM, he traded a young homegrown star at the precipice of his career. 

The trade worked out short-term for the Reds as Kelly batted over .300 and made the 1993 N.L. All-Star team, but there is a plaque for Paul O’Neil at Yankee Stadium recognizing him as one of the main pieces of  the 1990's Yankee dynasty. I wonder if De Berry was the real piece the Yankees wanted? He was a perceived stud that could have filled in for a rapidly declining Don Mattingly. De Berry fizzled out, however, and never made an impact for the Yankees on the field. 
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The Yankees and the fans never would have imagined the trade to pay such benefit. Young players look great on paper, but have the ability to underperform and lose value. 

Clint Frazier was the jewel with “legendary’ bat speed until a collision with athe left field fence left him not knowing his own cats' names. Torres took MiLB by storm last year, but an unfortunate slide left him injured for almost a year. The Yankees can package some of these hyped up prospects to secure proven commodities. Chris Archer is a perfect example of a player and personality the Yankees may covet.

A really tall task that is in theory possible due to the Yankees plethora of talent is trading for the young local Jersey product superstar, Mike Trout. A package of Torres,  Florial, and Adams may be a starting point to a conversation. The Angels are considered playoff contenders in 2018 and likely would not even consider moving Trout unless they suddenly fall out of the race, however, it is irresponsible to not at least start a dialogue. The Yankees loved him as a high school prospect and were disappointed to let him slip through their fingers. Trout is often compared to the skill set once displayed by Yankee legend, Mickey Mantle. The Yankees are said to be a contender for Harper, but Mike Trout would be an incredible acquisition. The model of trading away prospects for established major leaguers worked last year for the Yankees.

I loved Blake Rutherford as a prospect. I even went to a few games in Charleston and Columbia to watch some Tebow Time sprinkled with Blake Rutherford. His inclusion in the White Sox trade opened the door to solidify the 2017 AND 2018 bullpen and brought the Todd Father to the hot corner for a magical 2017 playoff run. Rutherford has, as of now, stalled with the White Sox. 
Photo Credit: Baseball America
Trading away MiLB “nice to have’s” for MLB “have to have’s,” is something the Yankees' front office has shown they're brave enough to do and hopefully Brian Cashman and his staff can do it again. How high was Greg Bird’s trade value last week? Now he is replaced by a late spring training signee, Neil Walker. 

Hicks? His value will never be higher as he flashes his new and improved biceps for the cameras. He is another strained hamstring or poor season away from baseball oblivion and the Ellsbury wasteland of outfield purgatory. 

Trading away a young electrifying player once lead to a dynasty, perhaps it is time to repeat history.

Article by: Patrick Montgomery



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