• Did Jason Giambi Cost The Yankees Matt Cain?

    Posted by on April 16th, 2010 · Comments (15)

    In the famed “Moneyball” draft of 2002, the Oakland A’s selected Joe Blanton with the 24th overall pick (in the first round). They got this pick from the Yankees as compensation for New York signing free agent Jason Giambi. With the next pick in the draft, the San Francisco Giants selected Matt Cain – who had been pitching at a High School in Germantown, Tennessee.

    What happened next? Simply put: Matt Cain has gone on to become one of the best young starting pitchers baseball has seen in recent years.

    Clearly, the A’s screwed the pooch here taking Blanton over Cain. But, did the Yankees also screw this up – signing Giambi and losing the pick that could have grabbed Cain? Well, the Yankees did need a first baseman after 2001…or so they thought. And, at the time, Giambi was an offensive force.

    However, the Yankees also had Nick Johnson – also a first baseman – ready to play in the big leagues in 2002. So, did they really need Giambi that badly? Didn’t they know what they had in Johnson? It’s an interesting question to consider…looking back at it all now.

    Comments on Did Jason Giambi Cost The Yankees Matt Cain?

    1. 77yankees
      April 16th, 2010 | 9:19 am

      And if the Reds didn’t have Barry Larkin as their SS, maybe they don’t take Chad Mottola with the fifth pick in the 1992 draft, and instead take……

    2. YankCrank
      April 16th, 2010 | 9:47 am

      Drafting CJ Henry cost us a chance at Jacoby Ellsbury, Matt Garza and Clay Buccholz in ’05. We can nitpick every draft and see where many teams missed out on plus talent.

    3. #15
      April 16th, 2010 | 10:11 am

      The left-handed swinging Giambi hitting/slugging/OBP-machine from Oakland was worth getting. The one that arrived, and moreover, the one that unfolded over the years in NY, was not. His body broke down because of his heroic steroid consumption in the Oakland years. His agility and defense also declined very rapidly as he turned into a lumbering oaf. What a huge difference Tex has made at first base.

    4. butchie22
      April 16th, 2010 | 10:44 am

      SL, to be brutally honest, the Yankee organization was less inclined to care about draft picks back then. Remember that at the time, the Yankee offense was quite meager against the Diamondbacks in the 2001 World Series leading to a loss AND the fact that Saint MO blew that game as well. Giambi was seen as a solution to bolster the offense. I don’t think that the draft pick was foremost in the mind of Cash Man and company at the time.George Th Criminal stenbrenner was becoming more involved in the baseball operation decisions at the time as I remember. Cash Man and Co are now more mindful of building from within BUT even in the 2009 off season they signed the top three free agents losing draft picks as well in an effort to become a far more competitive team NOT through the draft BUT rather through acquiring players.

      As good as Matt Cain is, how effective would he be pitching in a hitter’s Park like The Unsacred Ground of New Yankee Stadium? A good pitcher is a good pitcher but AT & T/SBC/Bell Phone West/Barroid Park helps him doesn’t it? And being in the NL as well. I mean JV was a world beater in the NL and look at him now that he’s in the more dominant’s hitter’s league.Adding insult to injury we saw what he did in teh second half of 2004 which was disappointing after his great start that season. And look at Doc Halladay as well. He was dominant in the positively frightful(for a pitcher) AL East for quite some time and look at him now. He went from being dominant to becoming an Immortal!;)

    5. butchie22
      April 16th, 2010 | 10:48 am

      YankCrank wrote:

      Drafting CJ Henry cost us a chance at Jacoby Ellsbury, Matt Garza and Clay Buccholz in ‘05. We can nitpick every draft and see where many teams missed out on plus talent.

      True dat! Keep in mind that the Yanks are not a small market team that absolutely lives and dies with the draft either. It’s an added plus to build from within without a shadow of a doubt BUT this team has deep pockets and can procure players that other teams developed and drafted with great ease! Cash Man and Draft Genius Oppenheimer have improved things in terms of the draft to their great credit BUT the Yanks can’t draft every potentially great player can they?

    6. YankCrank
      April 16th, 2010 | 10:57 am

      butchie22 wrote:

      the Yanks can’t draft every potentially great player can they?

      We rarely see eye-to-eye butch, but you’re spot on with this one.

    7. Corey Italiano
      April 16th, 2010 | 11:27 am

      Barroid Park
      =========
      LOL

    8. MJ Recanati
      April 16th, 2010 | 12:17 pm

      I assume this post is just another way of saying that Cashman sucks?

    9. April 16th, 2010 | 1:09 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      I assume this post is just another way of saying that Cashman sucks?

      Actually, it’s a pro Nick Johnson post to offset your many rants on how he sucks worse than Joba. ;-)

    10. MJ Recanati
      April 16th, 2010 | 1:23 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      Didn’t seem that way to me but, sure, if you say so.

      **********

      Had the Yanks kept Nick Johnson around as their everday 1B, I shudder to think of what you would have written on this site about Cashman’s lack of preparedness with respect to the first base position. After all, Nick Johnson only played in 54% of the 972 possible games from 2004-2009 after being traded from New York.

    11. long time listener
      April 16th, 2010 | 2:58 pm

      Even if they’d drafted Cain, they probably would’ve made a reliever out of him.

    12. Corey Italiano
      April 16th, 2010 | 3:08 pm

      long time listener wrote:

      Even if they’d drafted Cain, they probably would’ve made a reliever out of him.

      Good 1

    13. Joseph M
      April 16th, 2010 | 11:55 pm

      You know the old saying, hindsight is 20/20. Who among us was against the Giambi signing? As it turned out, the best thing about having Giambi all those years was the great feeling of relief you felt when he finally left.

    14. Evan3457
      April 17th, 2010 | 4:28 am

      Joseph M wrote:

      You know the old saying, hindsight is 20/20. Who among us was against the Giambi signing? As it turned out, the best thing about having Giambi all those years was the great feeling of relief you felt when he finally left.

      Bingo.

      Did the signing make sense at the time? Absolutely.

      Only way it can fairly be judged.

    15. Raf
      April 17th, 2010 | 8:40 am

      And who knows, maybe Cain would’ve washed out with the Yanks. It’s kinda difficult to determine how things would’ve worked out. As happened a few years before with Brosuis and Lowell, the Yanks had an option ready within, but for whatever reason decided to go with the proven veteran. Not the first time it has happened (with the Yanks or any other org), probably won’t be the last.

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