(Don't leave us, Cash.)
So while A.J. was putting on his best batting practice pitcher imitation in the bottom of the 1st last night, I was struck with this horrible series of events that played out in my head while I was talking with my buddy about the game and about A.J.
Imagine this. Bartolo, Freddy, and A.J. continue to struggle over the next week or so before the deadline. Talks with Colorado about Ubaldo Jimenez fall apart because of their asking price and because Cash isn't willing to part with Montero, ManBan, and Betances. But Hank and Randy Levine, like they did in the offseason with Soriano, become obsessed with adding starting pitching because of the other guys' struggles and so they intervene and end up forcing trades where the Yanks give up some combination of those top prospects for Edwin Jackson, Wandy Rodriguez, Ryan Dempster, or some combination of any of the 3. But those guys don't help the way Hank and Randy envisioned, instead contributing to weird feelings, bruised egos, and interruptions of guys' routines around the clubhouse as the team tries to juggle 7 starters down the stretch, and the Yanks end up bowing out some time before the World Series again.
But it gets worse. Now it's the 2011 offseason. The team is minus 2 of the big 3 prospects plus some lower-level guys, and stuck with some combination of CC, A.J., Hughes, and potential bad contracts of the pitchers they traded for if those guys choose to exercise player options. They have no room to try to move guys to go after other trades or potential FA targets, and most importantly, Cash is still without a contract and pissed that he got overruled again on a baseball decision that didn't work out to the team's benefit. Tired of having to deal with the interference from above, Cash decides not to re-up with the Yankees, leaving for another team or just take a break, and the Yanks now have to find a suitable replacement for Cash. There will be some internal and external candidates, but whatever new guy they end up with, they will be back in a position of being run from the top (Hank and Randy) as this new guy won't have the tenure or street cred within the system that Cash did.
This new regime starts changing up of all the plans the team had in place with their remaining younger guys (including trying to trade more of them), which crushes some of their futures, and we end up heading down another path similar to 2002-2008 with each bad trade/signing being supplemented by another one because nobody listened to the smart baseball people in the front office that were supposed to be put in place to make the baseball decisions.
That would suck, huh?
It's an admittedly melodramatic and worst-case scenario, I know. But I also don't see it as something completely outside the realm of possibility. I'm already on board as being against trading the 4 names in question to Colorado for Jimenez; I just don't see the baseball logic in sacrificing a potentially great extended future for a potentially better immediate future when the team is still doing incredibly well. But the first thought that popped into my head when A.J. was blowing up in the 1st inning last night was how that, and any additional hiccups from the rotation over the next 12 days, could be seen as proof that the Yankees NEED to make a move to add a big time pitcher.
That's why it was huge that A.J. got it together last night, and why it's critically important that A.J. and Bartolo and Freddy have these recent struggles just turn out to be blips on the radar and not indicators of declining performance moving forward. I understand and expect the Yankees to make moves to put themselves in a better position to win, but I don't want to go back down the road of making knee-jerk blockbuster deals just for the sake of it. And we all already know that Hank and Randy are capable of such things.