Yankees Becoming Proactive

The beauty of every trade for fans and the media is nearly everyone wants to instantaneously analyze it and figure out who got the better end of the deal. While there are some short-term benefits for the Yankees involving trading Manny Banuelos away as well as some long-term doubts too, the bottom line is there is starting to be a shift in their overall philosophy, one that is more proactive.

On the surface trading away once prized pitching prospect Manny Banuelos to the Atlanta Braves for relievers David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve seems quite questionable given Banuelos' long-term potential. How often are would-be starters dealt for relievers? And furthermore, how often are those kinds of deals made when the receiving club already has quite a stable of quality bullpen candidates in house?

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if Banuelos does wind up fulfilling his ceiling as a front-half of the rotation big league starting pitcher someday that it could wind up biting the Yankees in the rear-end and in years passed dealing him away now after having Tommy John surgery probably wouldn't have happened for that very reason; the Yankees would have normally opted to hold on to him to see if he could realize his considerable ceiling.

But in this modern era of needing nearly everyone on their 40-man roster due to the rising number of injuries to have the chance of at least potentially contributing in a given year at the big league level, it did cloud Banuelos' immediate future with the Yankees.

Considering Banuelos had not amassed more than 100 innings in a season since 2011 after initially battling elbow problems before eventually succumbing to Tommy John surgery, throwing in the fact that he collected just 76 innings this past season, and that the industry health standard for increased workloads for starting pitchers is no more than 40 additional innings each subsequent season, Banuelos, at least in a big league starting capacity, still needs a lot more development time from an innings standpoint.

In other words, at least short-term, his only big league value for Yankees over the next year or two was that of a reliever. So in essence the Yankees dealt one reliever in Banuelos for two relievers in Carpenter and Shreve, and in that premise it was a smart move, especially considering Carpenter has 188 career big league appearances [with a solid 3.61 career ERA and more strikeouts than innings pitched] and Baneulos has yet to make his big league debut.

Banuelos was burning options too after being added to the 40-man roster back in November of 2012. Sure the long-term potential was something to drool over, a potential Johan Santana-like southpaw who could stymie batters with an array of pitches, but at some point it comes down to the question -- at what cost do you hold on to such a dream? Burning options and perhaps keeping him over the likes of others with similar sky-high ceilings, all the while hamstringing your own 40-man roster flexibility does at some point defeat the purpose of having him there in the first place.

Sure there could be a point down the road in the coming years where many armchair general managers amongst the fans and the media will vehemently proclaim they despised trading Banuelos at the time. With Banuelos' overall skillset and high makeup it very well could happen. And should it happen the Yankees will no doubt feel the sting. But as the Yankees have shown so far this offseason when they released other top prospects Slade Heathcott and Jose Campos [who has subsequently re-signed with the Yankees], the Yankees have employed a more proactive approach with their youngsters.

No longer willing to wait until the very last moment and squeeze every ounce of potential out of a would-be, could-be potential star prospect only to see them eventually having to be released because they ran out of development time, the Yankees have abandoned their short-sighted reactive approach to upper level prospects and have begun adopting a more proactive philosophy of getting something for them before it's too late.

In the past the Yankees have had to release many a quality prospect simply because they were running out of options. Whether it was Andrew Brackman, Corban Joseph, or others, what the Yankees have learned is it isn't always just about talent. It's about timing too. And being burned before with nothing to show for their efforts spending time developing players, the Yankees are opting for something else.

Whether they won Monday's trade involving Banuelos or not is something that will probably take some time to figure out. What is evident in Monday's trade, however, is that the Yankees at least have a plan in place other than hoping and waiting.

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