The old switch-a-roo just before the holidays…

I’ve been watching a lot of the off-season moves with some measure of amusement. Honestly, sometimes it’s made me shake my head in confusion as I see what should be high-ticket players off to small- or low-market teams as a road of rebuilding (or perhaps a bit of redemption) as they regroup for the 2015 season. Though the Giants now trying to defend their third title in 5 years, I have little doubt 2015 will not be a Giants win as they seem to have an aversion to odd number years and winning teams, and it seems all the other teams seem ready to pounce on such an opportunity. The Cubs, Marlins, and Padres are all teams that seem to be on the losing end of things and have all made recent deals which make even the biggest pundit in sports news second guess their previous biases against such teams.

I am less convinced, but perhaps it is because I am cynic by nature and prefer to reserve my hopes and positive thoughts for things (and teams) I care about and be pleasantly surprised (and sometimes disappointed) however things turn out. In fact, I have been rather grateful recently that I didn’t choose to blog for another team as I’ve been using the “shaking my head” gesture quite literally as I read teams trade away their better players and become harvesting grounds for big-spenders or regrouping teams. I try to remain positive even when I don’t agree with such moves or it’s rather bad news, and those teams certainly would stretch my desire for positivity on here with what I consider (for lack of a better term) “bonehead moves”.

But I digress…

I spent the day doing the exact opposite of what I do for this blog — I took the day off and did some personal holiday preparation with a good friend. In other words, I wasn’t checking social networks and following leads for the latest news. And it’s on days like this that decide to pull the rug out and surprise my brief holiday vacation with a sudden impact on the 2015 season.

And thus, today’s blogpost…

Okay, two big moves secured further depth on the Yankees’ pitching staff and certainly created some options on the infield. First, in a deal with the Marlins, the Yankees traded Martin Prado and David Phelps for pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, pitching prospect Domingo German, and 1st baseman/outfielder Garrett Jones. Now, the Yankees took on Prado’s $3 million year salary when they picked him up the middle of last season and will continue to owe him this for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. But the Yankees were looking for proper back-up for Teixeira and the outfield, which looks like the reason Jones was chosen, including some chatter that “his swing was made for Yankee Stadium”. Eovaldi is a starter who could flesh out the rotation with some National League level pitching. (Long-term readers will understand my affinity for the strength of NL pitchers.)

The second move picked up reliever Gonzalez Germen from the Mets in exchange for cash considerations. (Another NL pitcher; is this a trend now?) To make room for him on the 40-man roster, the Yankees have designated Preston Claiborne for assignment.

One reporter commented that it should be noted that the Yankees picked up both a German and a Germen on the same day. However, I suspect German (from the Marlins) will stay in the minors for a while as he develops as a player, though initial scouting reports rank him high on their list of prospects. Germen (from the Mets) has spent a couple of years with the Mets, and this marks the first trade with their crosstown rivals in a decade (December 3, 2004 Felix Heredia to the Mets for Mike Stanton, a pretty good trade overall).

There was some initial fan backlash over the first trade (with the Marlins), something I didn’t quite understand as it seemed to be in direct contrast with previous backlash in relation to the same players in quite the opposite manner during the actual season. But I suppose that only further serves as a reminder that no one can pick on family but family. Like I can mess with my brother (and have) as much as I want (don’t worry, he’s great at revenge), but if someone else were to try to mess with him, heaven help that person.

I learned this basic fact at my first Yankee game sitting among long-term season ticket holders (as in inherited seats and fan status from their fathers and grandfathers). They could dissect why certain players weren’t the right fit or how the Yankees need to fix all their problems, even debating each other on specific facts or team history or opinions. But if a non-Yankee fan tried to join in and tell them why the team sucked, the fans would join forces and school the “other guy” on why he was oh so wrong and couldn’t mess with their team.

Well, guys, we lost a couple of “relatives” today, but we gained a few too. And this whole crazy off-season trade madness is really just getting started.

I don’t expect to blog before Christmas or the New Year, so have a wonderful, joyful, and safe holiday season. I am certainly looking forward to a great 2015. I expect the unexpected, so I can be pleasantly surprised and seldom disappointed, and I hope to continue this into 2015. Perhaps my surprise will be a great Yankee season. Sounds like a plan to me.

Happy Holidays!

Go Yankees!

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