"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

New York State of Mind

Will Leitch on the Knicks trade and why New York teams fail:

The Knicks, essentially, not only took a contract albatross off Toronto’s hands — new GM Masai Ujiri was desperate to rid himself of the failed first overall pick — they paid the Raptors for the privilege. If the trade were just Camby and Novak for Bargnani, it would be a wash, two teams handing over each other’s soiled linens. But the Knicks threw in three draft picks because … well, because in New York, the future isn’t just something that doesn’t matter, it’s something to be actively avoided.

This has always been a thing in New York. For whatever reason, there is this sense among sports owners in New York City that rebuilding — or, rather to say, the process of compiling and amassing talent and resources that can be used to sustain perpetual success — is something that the fanbase will just not stand for. If your team is not competing for a championship that very year, obviously your franchise is a failure and unworthy to wear the words “New York” on the front of your jersey/uniform/sweater/hot pants.

This mindset leads to lunacy like just about every free agent acquisition the Mets have ever made — with the ironic exception of Carlos Beltran, the one many fans were the most angry about — or the Yankees giving Alex Rodriguez a 10-year contract or the Knicks trading for someone like Andrea freaking Bargnani. The logic behind the Bargnani trade, behind so many New York sports teams’ moves, is that if the move makes the team even slightly better today, it’s worth mortgaging whatever possible future there might be. Is having Bargnani on the team for the 2013-14 season better than having Camby and Novak? I find that an arguable point, but if the Knicks think so, and they do, then why not throw in three draft picks do make sure the deal goes down? We weren’t using them anyway! They’re draft picks!

So should the Yankees trade Robinson Cano, or what? They won’t but it’d be the ballsy move.

[Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]


1 ms october   ~  Jul 1, 2013 10:42 am

the knicks are just so inept.

2 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 1, 2013 10:43 am

Wait, I thought the Jets were so inept!

3 ms october   ~  Jul 1, 2013 10:46 am

it's a a pretty big inept bucket - mets, jets, nets, knicks, rangers.
yankees are tbd at this point with the giants the only ones that seem to be right more than wrong.

4 RagingTartabull   ~  Jul 1, 2013 10:54 am

here's my thing with the Bargnani deal:

we can (should) agree that Novak and Camby are non-issues to trade. Novak's deal is a year longer than Bargnani's, which is insane, and Camby is a corpse. So they gave up nothing of value in terms of roster, and actually GAINED a level of flexibility since Bargs will be an expiring deal sooner than Novak. Which brings us to the picks: the second rounders, I don't like losing them but...they're second rounders. Maybe you hit on something with them, chances are you don't. And then the 1, which Denver has trade rights on. That is almost certainly a late first round pick, which is certainly a valuable commodity but a roll of the dice.

I feel like a lot of the people who hate the deal are the same people who think the Knicks are inept drafters. So what are you upset at really? That the Knicks have given up picks you think they would've screwed up anyway?

I think it's a lateral move, I don't see how it makes them better (other than in the abstract of being out from under Novak's shitty contract)...but people acting like it's some kind of disaster is silly.

And no, don't trade Cano. Not unless you plan on slashing ticket prices 40% next year.

5 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 1, 2013 10:56 am

[0] "So should the Yankees trade Robinson Cano, or what?"

Yes, if the Yanks think they will get a good return, and they could always re-sign him. Yes, that's a risk, but it doesn't keep you from trading Cano; you just factor the risk in appropriately.

The real question is, will three months of Cano bring back enough talent to make it worthwhile?

My guess is no. The teams with the best farm systems either know enough to avoid trading top talent for a rental, or are not in position to take on salary. Most of the contending teams don't have enough useful-to-the-Yanks talent to give. The rest of the contending teams are among those with the best farm systems.

Leitch's article is dead on with regards to the Knicks - how stupid is giving up draft picks in the NBA?! - but I'm not sure how true it is of the Yanks. It gave me another option, though. Maybe the Yanks should hang on to Cano, let him walk after the season, and collect a compensation pick in the 2014 draft?

6 monkeypants   ~  Jul 1, 2013 11:02 am

[5] Bingo.

I've been saying for weeks now the Yankees should sell. And if I were running the show (heaven forbid!) everyone on the roster would be trade bait, including Cano, but---but---Cano would be the only player around whom I would consider building for the future. That means: shop him, but make a deal only for a major haul, and at the same time work aggressively to resign him. But not for ten years.

7 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 1, 2013 11:02 am

[4] Imma defer to your almost certainly better knowledge of the NBA, Raging, but this sort-of-outside Knicks observer thinks that given there are only 3 ways to acquire new talent in basketball (buy, trade, draft), and the Knicks are potentially financially limited in 2 of those, they ought not to discard the 3rd unless they get something really nice in return.

8 ms october   ~  Jul 1, 2013 11:05 am

[4] it is a mindset. a team that is well run would not be making this deal. being over the luxury tax now really limits what a team can do. so at least take on a better over/high paid player than bargnani since the only thing the knicks have to offer is their willingness to take on salary. the knicks did ok with shumpert. even shitty drafting teams like the knicks can get value with lower picks - and those guys are so cheap you need them.

9 RagingTartabull   ~  Jul 1, 2013 11:11 am

[7] I'm not saying there isn't a potential downside, I just think that downside is being overstated. There's always a downside. There's a potential downside to the Yankees trading Phil Hughes straight up for Giancarlo Stanton, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't roll the dice.

As for the Yanks, let's just say they decide to be sellers...who is there to sell really? Cano is a FA, so his potential return in a trade is likely to be low unless Cash fleeces someone ala Beltran/Wheeler. Ichiro and Gardner could be potentially attractive, but you're not gonna get any kind of haul for them. Kuroda to a contender? That's probably your best bet, but again he's in a contract year so...

I've been saying for a while, the Yankees are in a position where they would have a seriously hard time publicly defending a fire sale. They're 6.5 out of first and 4 out of the Wild Card. That's a dangerous place to be on July 1, but it's not out of it by any stretch. If they lose another 5 games in the standings over the next three weeks, then that's one thing. But if they tread water and are still on the periphery of the race a fire sale is gonna be a tough sell.

10 BobbyB   ~  Jul 1, 2013 11:38 am

Cano will be 30. That means 4 more good years, maybe. He wants an eight year contract. The answer should be obvious. The last great NY dynasty had a bunch of young guys (Jeter, Rivera,Petite and Posada). In 1998 Tino was 31, Knobloch was 30, Brosious was 31, Bernie was 30, O'Neal was the old man at 34 so the day to day players were fairly young. But that team wasn't built by anyone named Steinbrenner or Cashman.

11 monkeypants   ~  Jul 1, 2013 11:46 am

[9] It's a tough sell, of course, but that's what makes it such a dangerous position to be in. Historically even five games out at the deadline is tough to overcome. The Yankees can weather short fan discontent. Hell, they're playing like ass and leading the league in paid attendance now. If the brass are smart, they sell whatever they can (except maybe Cano) for whatever they can get. And whatever they do, don't pick up any more veteran crap.

12 monkeypants   ~  Jul 1, 2013 11:47 am

[10] But that team wasn't built by anyone named Steinbrenner or Cashman.


13 RagingTartabull   ~  Jul 1, 2013 11:52 am

[10, 12] well Knoblauch and Brosius were Cashman guys. As were Clemens, David Justice, and really anyone from November 1997 forward...but I get your point. Whatever, at least we're not still pretending Showalter somehow deserves credit.

14 monkeypants   ~  Jul 1, 2013 11:57 am

[13] Credit for what? Being a pretty good manager? He was (and is).

15 monkeypants   ~  Jul 1, 2013 11:58 am

Anyway, I thought Cashman didn't have "complete autonomy" until after 2005.

16 The Hawk   ~  Jul 1, 2013 12:00 pm

I am 1000% in favor of trading Cano right now.

17 RagingTartabull   ~  Jul 1, 2013 12:01 pm

[14] no he is, but c'mon you know you remember that whole "Torre just won with Buck's players!!" trope that got thrown around a lot between 2004 and 2007.

18 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 1, 2013 12:09 pm

[9] [11] The trick is to not pick up any crap, regardless of age. History says it is usually the team trading the established MLB player for young players who loses the deal (recall the return the Royals and Jays each got for Cone, for example).

Not sure there's anything but crap to be found, though.

19 thelarmis   ~  Jul 1, 2013 12:25 pm

where is "Stick" Michael these days? he got a lot of the credit, deservedly so.

i am no longer in a NY state of mind, as i am back here in Atlanta. i'll be back in my hometown again month from now...

i like robbie, but don't want him for 8 or 10 more years.

20 The Mick536   ~  Jul 1, 2013 12:26 pm

Trade Cano? In a second! He will suffer terribly while the Yankees buy and buy and buy washed up and washed out trash. What's worse, some writers have speculated that A-Rod will return and provide needed power. What a joke! Why not tell us what is really going on? And, how many think Jete's going to come back?

21 The Mick536   ~  Jul 1, 2013 12:28 pm

[18] Yup! What's out there? Nada. Where did the kid go?

22 monkeypants   ~  Jul 1, 2013 12:34 pm

[17] I honestly don't remember that so much as I do Torre being hailed as some sort of genius of the five rings. I always figured that narrative, when it came from the organization or those friendly to it, was just rear-guard justification for dumping Showalter, a decision I never really understood at the time (and still don't). But you are probably correct that Showalter got too much credit for rebuilding the team.

23 monkeypants   ~  Jul 1, 2013 12:37 pm

[18] True. But outside of Cano, what tradable player on the Yankees now can really be counted on to help the team in two or three years? Because I think that's what the target should be. Not this year or next year, but 2015 or 2016

24 monkeypants   ~  Jul 1, 2013 12:41 pm

[20] The Yankees are more likely to buy and buy washed up talent if they keep Cano by signing him to a longterm, expensive contract (at the end of which, he will be washed up overpriced talent), than they would if they start trading off assets with an eye toward building a core of young players. It's a crapshoot, of course. It's also how the Yankees managed to build the core they have relied on for much of the last fifteen years.

25 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jul 1, 2013 12:56 pm

I do believe the Yankees are cooked this year. But the Boston Red Sox were as crispy well-done as this last year and bounced back into a first place team and legit contender in one trade deadline and off-season worth of gutsy moves and recovery of health.

I have little doubt that the Yanks could be good again next year, and most definitely had better be good again by 2015.

26 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 1, 2013 1:22 pm

[23] I am with Jon. I think we see a contending team again next year, and certainly in 2015. They will have to work to get there, though. Might yet be enough talent on the farm, if it develops, to fill a lot of the gaps . . .

27 monkeypants   ~  Jul 1, 2013 1:29 pm

[26] In all seriousness, what talent is on the farm? I know I beat the dead horse, but this organization believed that Vernon Fucking Wells was a better option than anything they had in MiL, that Lyle Overbay was better than anything down on the farm; the same organization for whom Nuñez is seen as the solution at SS. Seriously, what is down on the farm? And if there is talent there, will the organization try to use it?

28 RagingTartabull   ~  Jul 1, 2013 1:32 pm

[27] the answer you're likely to get is Gary Sanchez and Slade Heathcott, no?

29 thelarmis   ~  Jul 1, 2013 1:34 pm

well, A-Rod has been cleared to play games.

he's starting at 3rd tomorrow for the charleston riverdogs and will play 3 innings...

30 RagingTartabull   ~  Jul 1, 2013 1:41 pm

I say this in all seriousness, if the Phillies call you tomorrow and say "Young and Ruiz for Hughes and two minor leaguers (can be lower level guys" Do you do it?

Because if the Yankees "buy" that's how it's gonna be

31 monkeypants   ~  Jul 1, 2013 2:04 pm

[28] Gary Sanchez is in..high-A ball this season. Slade Heathcoat is batting .661 OPS in AA. Methinks they are not making the Yankees competitive next year or even 2015. (I'm not saying that's what you're saying...)

32 RagingTartabull   ~  Jul 1, 2013 2:09 pm

[31] yeah, I just mean if you were to look Cashman in the eye and say "what potential long-term cornerstone players are on the farm?" Rightly or wrongly the answer would probably be "Gary Sanchez, Slade Heathcott, and Tyler Austin"

33 monkeypants   ~  Jul 1, 2013 2:09 pm

[30] No. To what end such a trade?

34 Dillon   ~  Jul 1, 2013 2:10 pm

[30] Chooch isn't replicating last year's success at the plate, but I do feel seeing his name on the lineup card will look more attractive than Stewart OR Romine. I think if I got that phone call from the Phils, I'd pull the trigger. We could use that 3B upgrade.

35 Dillon   ~  Jul 1, 2013 2:10 pm

+, how far along is Cito Culver, does anyone know?

36 monkeypants   ~  Jul 1, 2013 2:12 pm

[32] I would agree if he said "longterm." I have no problem trying to build around that potential talent. But the key is to be patient and aim for 2016, and if that's the goal, it changes the way one views players on the current roster, especially Gritner.

But if we are talking about the 2013 Yankees trying to pull a 2012 Red Sox trick, there needs to be (I think) more talent on the farm *that the Yankees are willing to use* who can help next year.

37 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 1, 2013 3:48 pm

[27] Talent that isn't major league-ready today, but might well be by 2015. If it was ready now, Wells wouldn't be on the roster. If there was no talent, why did (just as an example) Keith Law ranked the Yanks' system as the 10th best going into 2013?

[31] [32] Sanchez is in high A, but the expectation is that he will be moved up to AA soon, given JR Murphy's recent promotion to AAA. If so, Sanchez could certainly make an appearance in Sept 2014.

As for Heathcott, Austin, et al., I do not put a lot of stock in minor league stats, especially offensive stats generated in the Florida State League and in the Eastern League (both filled with pitchers parks that suppress offense). Just as one example - Cano had a .695 OPS across High A and AA in 2003.

For the moment, I trust the talent.

38 monkeypants   ~  Jul 1, 2013 4:04 pm

[37] If it was ready now, Wells wouldn't be on the roster.

You have more faith than I do in the organization. I think the organization is addicted to veterans and almost completely mistrusting of MiL players. But maybe you are correct, and it's simply the case that the organization is so completely lacking in talent at the upper level that Vernon Wells is better than the several OFs they surely have on the roster in AAA.

39 Dillon   ~  Jul 1, 2013 4:26 pm

I wonder if it is organizational mistrust in the MiL system or, as was discussed earlier, the external pressure from a NY fan base that wants to see familiar (even if past-prime) "names" on their team.

40 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 1, 2013 4:32 pm

[38] Well, let's see. Going into the season the AAA OF was going to be Zolio Almonte, Melky Mesa, and Ronnie Mustelier, with Thomas Neal and Adonis Garcia the reserves. Neal spent two months on the DL, and when he was healthy, got called up. Ditto Almonte. Mesa and Mustelier have been hurt almost all season, and Garcia just came off the DL.

Between Almonte's call up and Boesch being hurt, too, SWB recently had to sign Corey Patterson (yes, him) and trade for Fernando Martinez, who wasn't good enough to stick in the bigs with the Astros, so they had enough OFs. They also had to sign Randy Ruiz (yes, him) out of the Mexican League to DH and spell Dan Johnson at 1B.

So yeah, I'd say the organization was indeed lacking in healthy talent at the upper level. When those guys have been healthy and shown any modicum of hitting ability (Neal and Almonte only, so far), they have been called up.

41 monkeypants   ~  Jul 1, 2013 6:16 pm

[40] But wasn't Wells signed before the season started, and before some of these guys got hurt. And in the case of Neal and Almonte, the team only went to them after Wells sucked--even worse than he has for the previous two seasons--for an extended period of time. If the team actually trusted AAA players, they never would have signed Wells to begin with and instead go with *anyone* instead of a known corpse like Wells. There is simply no justifying getting Vernon Wells.

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