You ain’t got to lie, Jerry, you ain’t got to lie

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I interviewed two general managers at the Winter Meetings: Ned Colletti and Ruben Amaro.  It was kinda neat. They’re important people and talking to them made me feel sort of important. It was for TV, and I’m sort of liking this TV stuff.  And of course talking to guys like that — and the assistants who assist them — is a good way to learn neat things that will eventually benefit you guys.  Of course you interview those guys if they are good enough to give you a bit of their time to do it.

But I gotta tell ya: dudes like that aren’t exactly forthcoming.  I knew that would be the case before the interviews and, as the interviews were happening, I was amazed at just how smoothly and cheerfully each of them were able to tell me absolutely nothing.  Especially Amaro. I know he’s a Ninja and everything, but I had no idea that he had mastered the Jedi mind trick too.  I haven’t looked at the tape for a while, but I’m pretty sure he told me that those were not the droids I was looking for. And I nodded happily.

But while the interviews weren’t the most illuminating things ever, Colletti and Amaro were just doing their jobs. Let’s face facts: there is zero upside to them telling me something of real substance. The offseason is about the art of negotiation and the art of negotiation depends on negotiators having superior information to their adversaries. Sure, Amaro could tell me and the TV audience that he wanted nothing more in the world than to sign Dontrelle Willis, but if he had it would have made that negotiation somewhat tougher for him. Why bother?

But I will say this: at least Amaro and Colletti were honest in the information they did provide.  Even if they weren’t forthcoming, there was nothing they said that could be construed as misleading.  As Ben Lindbergh chronicles over at Baseball Prospectus today, the same can’t be said of many general managers:

Inspired by the first item on the list below, I asked the BP staff for other instances in which a GM was less than forthcoming about his plans. Here are a few examples that show why it’s best to exercise some caution before buying into everything your friendly neighborhood baseball executive says …

What follows are seven pretty hilarious instances of general managers — leading off with Jerry “we’re not gonna spend money on guys like Albert Pujols” Dipoto — saying one thing and then doing something completely different.

It’s a great read, and a great reminder to put almost zero stock in anything a guy running a baseball team says.

Yankees acquire James Paxton from Mariners

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The Yankees announced that the club has acquired starter James Paxton from the Mariners in exchange for three prospects: pitcher Justus Sheffield, outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams, and pitcher Erik Swanson.

Paxton, 30, has been among the game’s better starters over the past few years. In 2018, he went 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA and a 208/42 K/BB ratio in 160 1/3 innings. The lefty has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining after earning $4.9 million this past season.

Sheffield, 22, is the headliner in the Mariners’ return. He made his major league debut in September for the Yankees, pitching 2 2/3 innings across three appearances. Two of those appearances were scoreless; in the third, he gave up a three-run home run to J.D. Martinez, certainly not an uncommon result among pitchers. MLB Pipeline rates Sheffield as the Yankees’ No. 1 prospect and No. 31 overall in baseball.

Thompson-Williams, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the fifth round of the 2016 draft. This past season, between Single-A Charleston and High-A Tampa, he hit .299/.363/.546 with 22 home runs, 74 RBI, 63 runs scored, and 20 stolen bases in 415 plate appearances. He was not among the Yankees’ top-30 prospects, per MLB Pipeline.

Swanson, 25, was selected by the Yankees in the eighth round of the 2014 draft. He spent most of his 2018 campaign between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Overall, he posted a 2.66 ERA with a 139/29 K/BB ratio in 121 2/3 innings. MLB Pipeline rated him No. 22 in the Yankees’ system.

This trade comes as no surprise as the Yankees clearly wanted to upgrade the starting rotation and the Mariners seemed motivated to trade Paxton this offseason. To the Mariners’ credit, they got a solid return for Paxton, as Sheffield likely becomes the organization’s No. 1 prospect. The only worries about this trade for the Yankees is how Paxton will fare in the more hitter-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium compared to the spacious Safeco Field, and Paxton’s durability. Paxton has made more than 20 starts in a season just twice in his career — the last two years (24 and 28). The Yankees are likely not done adding, however. Expect even more new faces before the start of spring training.