A-Jax cleaning house in American League
If Yankees general manager Brian Cashman had it to do over again, I reckon he’d think a little harder about trading top outfield prospect Austin Jackson, reliever Phil Coke and starter Ian Kennedy for center fielder Curtis Granderson as part of that three-way deal with the Tigers and Diamondbacks in December.
How about Melky Cabrera for Javier Vazquez?
OK, that trade is stuck in the spin cycle and is unlikely to help either the Yankees or Braves any time soon. But the success of Jackson and Phil Coke in Detroit could come back to bite the Yankees and their teflon GM, who seems to be getting a pass for a shaky off-season that included swapping out World Series MVP Hideki Matsui (.236, 4 HR, 13 RBIs) for Nick Johnson (.188, 2 HR, 8 RBIs) via free agency.
Jackson, who helped lead the Thunder to their second straight Eastern League championship is 2008, is second in the American League in batting (.369), first in hits (45), tied for first in triples (3) and is third in runs scored (23) — all while hitting leadoff for Detroit.
Coke, meanwhile, is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA.
Kennedy, back after missing almost all of last season with an aneurysm, is a respectable 2-1 with an ERA of 3.65 for Arizona.
As for Granderson, he’s on the disabled list, but was hitting just .225 with a .311 on-base percentage before being shelved.
Vazquez (1-3, 9.78 ERA) has been skipped in the rotation after just five starts, and all signs point to the right-hander being unable to stomach pitching in New York … again.
Vazquez showed the same propensity with the Yanks in 2004, and was one of the reasons Boston was able to overcome a 3-0 series deficit in the ALCS.
The nice thing about unloading Cabrera, who I never believed was an everyday player (and said as much back in 2005 when he played for Trenton manager Bill Masse) is the positive effect it has had on second baseman Robinson Cano.
Cabrera and Cano were far too chummy and not exactly the most focussed of individuals when together.
So, give Cashman a few style points for that one, even if it was an unintended benefit that Cano has blossomed into a legitimate MVP candidate, while Cabrera (.191, .287 on-base%) is languishing in Atlanta.
Although it’s still early and he has another championship to use as collateral, Cashman’s 2009 off-season was laden with Mulligans and trading Jackson is looking like a bad slice into the trees.