Needless Lamb Deal Further Thins Farm System

Little did any of the baseball world know that when the Yankees acquired Mike Lamb to help fill the hole at third base, less than two weeks later they would be obtaining yet another Texas Ranger infielder and this time it wouldn't be a stopgap but perhaps the best player in the game, Alex Rodriguez. Its hard to believe that since his acquisition less than two weeks ago, Mike Lamb has gone from possible starter to an expendable spare part.

However, now that A-Rod has landed I the Bronx, it seems to be yet another needless deal that shipped out another excellent prospect.

Over the years, the New York Yankee organization has frequently shown that they consider their minor league system much more expendable than many other teams do when making deals. Constantly, they toss away prospects for only marginal major leaguers or one year "rentals". The average Yankee fan doesn't usually know the insides and outs of the minor league system and when they see a major league name coming to their team in exchange for a seemingly no named minor leaguer, the farm hand seems to get lost in the process. This could be said of the deal that sent upper tier pitching prospect Jose Garcia to the Rangers in exchange for Texas third baseman Mike Lamb. It is becoming more and more obvious as A-Rod is now officially a Yankee that there is no place for Lamb on this ball club.

It is slightly possible that Mike Lamb could play second base but has only played 2 innings in his entire career at the position. The New York Yankees would obviously not want to hand over a starting job to a player that is so highly inexperienced. So with that being said, the question arises; where does he fit into the Yankees plans for 2004? New York seems to be all but set in their bench situation with Miguel Cairo, Enrique Wilson, Tony Clark and Ruben Sierra filling out a solid veteran crew. Many people are beginning to wonder if he even has a future with the club at all. A proposition that is well within the realm of possibility is that he may not even make the team in the upcoming year. Anyone that is familiar with the Yankee farm system could tell you that giving away solid prospects is the last thing that their already weak minor league system needs.

Some may ask who this seemingly nameless minor leaguer is that was dealt to the Rangers for Mike Lamb. His name is Jose Garcia and he is a player that may have a bright future ahead of him and now it would be with Texas and not the New York Yankees. He is only 22 years old an he has electric stuff when he is on his game. Garcia is a rare case as he has excellent control for a young pitcher. This hard throwing Venezuelan could easily become a #2 or 3 starter in the next few years with Texas.

So why would the Yankees give up a pitching prospect of Garcia's caliber so easily for a no more than marginal player? Well, the Yankees seem to have very little regard for their minor league system by simply tossing it away in reactionary deals. Deals of this same type have been the downfall of the farm system for the Yankees and this one is no different.

However, there are very few Yankee fans or any typical baseball fan for that matter who seem to know or care about minor league players for that matter. Mike Lamb was the prize name of this deal despite his much less than star status, but it seemed that Jose Garcia was merely thrown away in a deal that seems to be null at this point with the acquisition of Alex Rodriguez to play third base.

With the state that the Yankee minor leagues is in right now, it seems nearly insane that they would be so willing to give away one of their best young pitchers in Jose Garcia. However, George Steinbrenner has given the Yankees a reputation of making deals like this throughout his tenure as owner of the team. At the time of the trade, it was for obvious reasons not considered a major trade by any means and there were few questions about what kind of player the Yankees gave up in return. Unbeknownst to most fans, this happens in many deals and many times similar players are dealt.

Over and over again, players are dealt of different talent levels are cast out of the organization in pursuit of instant satisfaction and the "win now." But there is one thing that is very different about his trade and that is that Mike Lamb doesn't seem to have any place on this ball club at this point. The only chance would be if there were to be an injury to any of the Yankee starters. In the scheme of things, the best perspective of this scenario is that the Yankees have given away a top prospect for a player that may never play a game in pinstripes. If these deals are to continue, the Yankee farm system could continue its rapid deterioration and especially if the deals are for players that will not hold a serious role for the Yankees in the long run.

Too many questions stand after the deal for Mike Lamb. Will he make the team in 2004? If so what would be his role on the club? Most importantly, what will Jose Garcia turn out to be? All the answers remain to be seen but the organization must know that the abuse to the farm system must be stopped, and fast.

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