Trade BFFs

Being enemies is so 2001.

If you don’t believe me, just look at some of the trades the Yankees and Diamondbacks have been making. They have made three (3!!) trades with each other since the July non-waiver deadline, with the latest trade coming today. The third trade, which was made today, involves the Detroit Tigers, just to shake things up. All three clubs have just confirmed today’s big trade news, and every MLB reporter has been talking about it since about 8am AZ time this morning. The D-Backs are sending shortstop Didi Gregorius to New York, the Yanks are sending RHP Shane Greene to the Tigers, and the Tigers are sending LHP Robbie Ray and big-time prospect Domingo Lebya to the D-Backs.

Let’s have a run down of the three trades the Yankees and D-Backs have made:
1) Brandon McCarthy to the Yankees, Vidal Nuno to the D-Backs.
2) Martin Prado (bae!) to the Yankees, hot-hitting catching prospect Peter O’Brien to D-Backs.
3) Didi Gregorius to the Yankees, Shane Greene to the Detroit Tigers, Robbie Ray and infield prospect Domingo Leyba to the D-Backs.

So much for being enemies, huh? Growing up in AZ, you are trained to believe that the Yanks are a bigger enemy than illegal immigrants, snow, or the Los Angeles Dodgers (Hence why my love of both teams has led to threats of violence from friends and threats of being disowned by my parents. Hi Mom! I know you are reading this because you are the only person who does! Love you!!). However, these 2001 World Series foes seem to be heavily relying on each other these last six months. In fact, with the Prado (bae in pinstripes) and Gregorius trades, I knew they would happen before they happened! No, I’m not psychic – outstanding and gorgeous will be acceptable titles instead – but I knew what the Yankees needed and what the D-Backs could give. With A-Rod’s suspension and no solid second-baseman in 2014, the Yanks needed a versatile infielder who could play 3rd, 2nd, or outfield. Cue Martin Prado (bae…wit dat booty)! And this year, the Yanks needed a shortstop and guess who has a surplus of shortstops? The D-Backs! See? It’s not that hard to predict trades; you just have to pay attention.

Anyway, looking at the trade today makes a lot of sense for all the teams involved. The Yankees get their shortstop, Gregorius, who is a one-man defensive highlight reel. The Tigers get Greene, who has filthy stuff and potential to be a solid pitcher. I will miss him in pinstripes, but he will do great in Mo-Town as a back-end starter. And the D-Backs got a pitcher who could be a “diamond-back” in the rough (see what I did there?!), be it in the rotation or the bullpen, and they got a minor leaguer who can RAKE. Yes, Leyba has some time before he gets to the bigs and his defense is not as good as it should be, but he has done nothing except put up power numbers in the minors.

Now, if you can recall, this is not the first time the Tigers, Yanks, and D-Backs made a trade. Back in 2009, there was a blockbuster trade. The Yanks sent Austin Jackson and Phil Coke to the Tigers and pitcher Ian Kennedy to the D-Backs. The Tigers sent Curtis Granderson to the Yanks and Edwin Jackson to the D-backs. And the D-Backs? Well, they sent a little-known pitcher named Max Scherzer to the Tigers, along with pitcher Daniel Schlereth…How cool would it be if this trade came full circle and Max Scherzer signed with the Yankees this off-season? I would cry. Obviously, this trade burned the D-Backs bad since Kennedy was a dud for them and Scherzer, well, he won his Cy Young elsewhere. Hopefully, the trade today won’t burn the snakes again.

I like today’s trade, mostly because I will still get to see Didi play on a regular basis. He is awesome and will be a great addition to the Yankees infield. Now, if the Yanks could just re-sign Brandon McCarthy and sign Scherzer, that would be great!

Here’s some good Just A Bit Outside articles about the trade…BTW, if you aren’t on the JABO train yet, I recommend it, especially if you like insider opinions and saber-metrics!
http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/just-a-bit-outside/baseball-joe/blog/yankees-diamondbacks-tigers-trade-didi-gregorius-shane-greene-analysis-120514
http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/just-a-bit-outside/baseball-joe/blog/the-heir-apparent-to-derek-jet-no-stop-it-120514

…And here are some more articles because this trade involves my two favorite teams on planet earth and you fools need to be well informed!
http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/keith-law/post?id=3016&ex_cid=InsiderTwitter_Law_GregoriusTrade
http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2014/12/05/didi-gregorius-trade-yankees-diamondbacks-tigers/19956169/

Cruz-ing to Safeco…

If you don’t follow MLB Memes on Twitter, I highly recommend doing so. They make fun of everyone and every team (although I would say they make fun of the Yankees more than others…) and some of things they post are genuinely funny. After news broke that Orioles slugger Nelson Cruz signed a 4 year/$57 million deal with the Seattle Mariners, MLB Memes posted a photo of a graveyard that said “Nelson Cruz in Safeco Field, where power hitters go to die”. I laughed because it is true.

When the Mariners swiped Robinson Cano from the Yankees in the off-season last year, I was upset. There went our power-hitter and it was something the Yankees never quite recovered from. Being the spiteful person that I am, I really did not want to see Cano’s home run totals be high. I got my wish. He only hit 14 home runs in 2014. To put that number into perspective, he hit 27 in 2013 and 33 in 2012. He was still incredibly productive, with an average over .300 most of the year, but his home run numbers dropped significantly without that short right field porch Yankee Stadium offered him.

Cano’s example begs the question if Nelson Cruz will see similar drop offs in his power numbers. My guess is they will drop. Camden Yards, where Cruz slugged his way through 2014, is a pretty good hitters ballpark. Safeco Field is cavernous. Some people will argue that the power numbers come from a hitter-friendly park (such as Camden Yards, or Yankee Stadium in Cano’s case), which is totally valid. For example, Troy Tulowitzki could be considered a power hitter at Coors Field, but not even close whenever he is on the road. Ball parks have a lot to do with it, but raw power is something else.

Nelson Cruz has raw power. That was never the question. The question is if he will be able to make a meaningful difference in Seattle. He will make a big impact in terms of getting runs in, but will that be all? Do the Mariners want to spend so much money on these power hitters when they know full well that their ball park is a graveyard of power hitters? I would have signed Cruz myself, but I think they also need to play small ball in their big ball park. Seattle will be very good in 2015, but it won’t be because of the long ball.