In the late innings of yesterday’s series finale, the Detroit Tigers unveiled Shane Greene and Justin Wilson in an eventual win over the New York Yankees.
On December 5, 2014, the New York Yankees shipped right-hander Shane Greene to Detroit in a three team deal that landed Didi Gregorius in the Bronx.
179 days later and the idea of judging the two trades came about once again. In a 4-1 loss, the Yanks had to face both of the arms they traded and only one factor was shed light on once again.
One trade made perfect sense and the other made absolutely none.
When the Yanks acquired Gregorius there was a ton of uneasiness, and rightfully so. New York was starting its post-Derek Jeter era and they were grasping for the idea of an everyday shortstop. With that being said, the Gregorius trade was not too popular.
24-year-old Shane Greene was coming off a promising season in which he pitched to a 3.78 ERA in 15 appearances (14 starts) and featured a hard sinker and put-away slider. So let’s just say it was not exciting to see him heading to Detroit and in turn receiving a .243 lifetime hitter with virtually no fire power.
However, everyone was proven wrong. Maybe not from day one, but in time the opposite proved to be true.
Greene has not panned out the way the Tigers would have hoped, neither last year nor this year, and Gregorius has turned into a guy the Yankees would have no problem running out there everyday for years to come.
Didi has hit a more than serviceable .265 while featuring dazzling range at shortstop in his young Bronx tenure. The 26-year-old has also been on the field virtually everyday while complementing Starlin Castro, who has helped the Yanks form a middle infield tandem of the future.
The trade was a win for Brian Cashman. So in witnessing Greene take the hill in the seventh inning of yesterday’s lifeless loss, second guessing was out of the equation.
While a level of confidence was instilled by seeing Greene, when Justin Wilson trotted in from left-center field that same self-assurance should have lessened severely.
The Yankees received Chad Green and Luis Cessa for a guy who was outstanding out of their bullpen in 74 2015 appearances. Not only did he go 5-0 with a stellar 3.10 ERA, but he seemed to hold every single game they asked him to hold. He set the table for the duo of Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller.
After proving to be a valuable arm in Triple-A, Green has been up and down in the bigs. He is proving to be one of those “quadruple-A” type of arms, or guys who can dominate the highest minor league level but fall off the table in the majors.
In Cessa’s case, he has gotten the job done when called upon yet remains a large contributor to the so-called Scranton Shuttle. The fact that he appears in low leverage situations goes to show that the Yanks do not view him as anywhere near Justin Wilson caliber.
To be straight forward, it makes little to no sense why a vital piece of a bullpen would be traded for two arms that may very well be marginal pieces at best for the rest of their careers. To make matters worse, it was a vital left-handed arm that they traded.
Sure, Brian Cashman ended up executing the formation of a super-bullpen with the acquisition of Aroldis Chapman, but where is the middle innings help? Hanging onto Wilson would have made the entirety of the bullpen dynamic rather than just the tail end.
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When Joe Girardi is forced into a situation where he enters extra innings having used his big three, would he rather have Nick Goody or Justin Wilson available?
This is in no way a shot at Goody, but it perplexes as to why the Yankees would not retain one of the top late inning guys in baseball for their middle innings, particularly considering he was under team control through 2018.
The latter trade can be considered a nonsensical loss.
Shane Greene parting helped improve the team in an area of need. Conversely, Justin Wilson parting by no means helped the team, at least as far as 2016 is concerned.
So when the Yankees went quietly into the evening yesterday, the front office had some time to ponder moves that have had implications on the club’s future.