Friday, March 10, 2017


(Sept. 12, 2016 - Source: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America)
With a couple of starts and not a complete game's worth of innings under their belts, none of the Yankees' five declared in-house candidates for the two vacant rotation spots have busted out with a strong case for the job.  

No surprise there. It's early yet and most of them still have the potential to grow into it with regular work toeing the rubber in live game situations.  It won't happen in the three weeks before Opening Day though, and it was never going to happen in the space of one spring training camp.

(Aug. 20, 2016 - Source: David Banks/Getty Images North America)    
Which is why we here at BYB are pleased to read in the NY Post per George King III that a White Sox scout is STILL "a constant figure at the Yankees’ exhibition games to evaluate talent"  with an eye toward moving Jose Quintana, the former Yankee pitching prospect who once upon a time got sent packing for not looking like a perfect fit on the Scranton Shuttle to Joba-cide and instead made it big in the city of big shoulders and even bigger hairy arms.

I know this particular trade story has been hanging around so long it probably feels like it should be ticketed for loitering. I usually bypass trade rumor stuff entirely, and certainly old stale ones.

But I'm going to hammer it again for the same reason George is --  because this isn't simply a rumor. The White Sox ARE in the midst of  a tear down. Their scout IS watching our prospects every game to evaluate them. They ARE looking for a trade partner for Quintana, who just happens to be attached to the most cost-effective four-year team-controlled deal the Yankees will ever see associated with an available pitcher of his caliber ever again.

(July 24, 2015 - Source: Jason Miller/Getty Images North America)    
There ARE at least three other teams known to be scope-locked on Jose whom the Sox are similarly scouting. And sooner or later -- correction, whomever's soonest -- SOMEONE is going to get a great deal on a great starter for the cost of a couple of suspects who are at best coin flips to be any use to their teams. (And in the Yankees' case, almost certainly can NEVER be as useful to our team as  Quintana would be.)

(Sept. 25, 2016 - Source: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images North America)    
Oh yeah, one more thing about this is real. Multiple sources confirmed back in December that Brian turned down two offers for Quintana: once with Clint Frazier at the top of a trio including Jorge Mateo and Luis Severino and once with Gleyber Torres as the trio's headliner. 

How nuts is that? The sticking point keeping us from  a badly needed front-end rotation arm -- by far the team's neediest position now and for years to come --  is an organizational love affair with two youngsters who play the two least needy  positions in the system and have never been part of the team's rebuild conversation -- except as trade pieces.

One's a teenager who's years away from the Bigs and blocked by another fine young player who's quickly developing into one of the best in the game at his position and could spend his career there. And the other is a problematic project who not only hasn't mastered Triple A hitting yet, but is learning a new position because his chances of cracking the Yankees lineup anytime soon on a full-time basis are slim to none. 

(Credit: J. Conrad Williams Jr.)
There's many good reasons for biting the bullet, giving them their prospects and doing this deal today. (Personally, if given a choice, I'd accept the Frazier package rather than the Torres one as I think he's got the greater bust potential.)  

There's only only two reasons for the team not to do it:

(May 15, 2014 - Source: Scott Halleran/Getty Images North America)
1) Someone up the line believes 'the Prospect Fairy' is suddenly going to wave her wand and drastically change the odds of success for young players reaching the majors and outperforming the competition.

2) Someone up the line is so afraid of a round of stories about the mistake they made the first time evaluating Quintana, and the inevitable sidebars about the system's abject failure delivering starting pitchers,  they would rather go down in flames playing Joba-cide on the Scranton Shuttle than admit they made a mistake at a presser welcoming him back.

Prospects are suspects, and the only thing more suspect than this rotation right now are its prospects for getting measurably better any time soon. 

The economics attached to this quality arm assure he won't last on the market until the trade deadline. 

Time to send those kids packing Brian. Let's make a deal.

 --Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore

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