• Kevin Long: Lack Of Commitment & Conditioning Led To Yanks Trading Melky Cabrera

    Posted by on June 21st, 2012 · Comments (33)

    Isn’t that the same cover up that the Red Sox used when they sold Babe Ruth?

    Via Joel Sherman -

    On Tuesday, Melky Cabrera overtook Ryan Braun to gain third place in voting among outfielders for the NL All-Star team and then overtook Willie Mays to become the fastest San Francisco Giant to 100 hits in a season. He needed 291 at-bats. Mays needed 295 in 1958.

    He went into his game last night against the Angels with 101 hits and an MLB-best 302 — 10 more than anyone else — since the beginning of last season. Cabrera was hitting .369 this year with a .945 OPS, moving Long to say, “He’s a hell of a player. He has totally gotten committed to his career. He doesn’t drink. He doesn’t take anything for granted any more. His personal trainer is with him all the time. When you go all in and have talent, this is what happens — and it is evident he has the talent.”

    Long said it was clear Cabrera had talent before he was traded to Atlanta, but was “pudgy” and not as diligent about his career.

    “If Melky committed himself to the Yankees as he does now, he would still be a Yankee,” he said. “And he would say the same thing. He made himself tradeable then.”

    Comments on Kevin Long: Lack Of Commitment & Conditioning Led To Yanks Trading Melky Cabrera

    1. MJ Recanati
      June 21st, 2012 | 2:24 pm

      I guess some players simply need a wake-up call or some type of event to get them to focus on their career. Make-up is something that all scouts look for and, as we’ve seen recently with Jesus Montero and Gary Sanchez, can change as a player matures. Sanchez, by all accounts, is more focused this year than he was last year and the results are through the roof.

    2. Evan3457
      June 21st, 2012 | 2:30 pm

      No, it’s not.

      1) Ruth was still in excellent shape when he joined the Yanks. He didn’t get heavy until much later on in his career.

      2) After the Yankees traded him, Melky was so bad, the Braves non-tendered him.

      3) The non-tendering was exactly the wake-up call Melky needed. Not every player is as motivated to excel as Jeter or A-Rod.

      ============================================
      Sometimes, what the Yanks’ say can be fairly interpreted as self-serving. This is NOT one of those times, and it’s not a close or difficult call.

    3. Garcia
      June 21st, 2012 | 2:49 pm

      And here I was all this time thinking they only traded him because they wanted Javy Vazquez really bad.

    4. MJ Recanati
      June 21st, 2012 | 2:53 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Sometimes, what the Yanks’ say can be fairly interpreted as self-serving. This is NOT one of those times

      I agree. Also, I think Long is genuinely happy for Melky (as I am). It’s too bad that it took a trade to Atlanta AND being cut by the Braves to get Melky to figure it all out but, hey, better late than never. Good for him and I hope he turns it into a lifetime of security for his family when he becomes a FA this winter.

    5. MJ Recanati
      June 21st, 2012 | 2:57 pm

      Garcia wrote:

      And here I was all this time thinking they only traded him because they wanted Javy Vazquez really bad.

      They wanted a pitcher really badly. It didn’t matter who it was, as long as it was someone that could dependably pitch 200 IP and slot into the middle of the rotation.

      I think the view in the organization was that Melky wouldn’t reach his ceiling in New York and they had a replacement in Gardner that could make Cabrera expendable. The other two parts (Mike Dunn/Arodys Vizcaino) were throw-ins.

    6. June 21st, 2012 | 3:36 pm

      Arodys Vizcaino was a throw in?

    7. MJ Recanati
      June 21st, 2012 | 3:43 pm

      Steve L. wrote:

      Arodys Vizcaino was a throw in?

      A guy that hadn’t pitched above Short-Season Class A is, irrespective of his high ceiling, a complete unknown. You’ve argued hundreds of times that you don’t treat anyone lower than Double-A as a prospect because of the attrition rate in the low minors. I happen to agree with that position.

      So, despite Vizcaino’s ceiling, he was at least three years away from making his MLB debut for the Yankees and was still very much a developmental arm (and not without an injury risk, to boot).

      It’s always nice to horde exciting young players but no one should ever let an arm in rookie ball stand in the way of a trade that can help a team at the major league level, least of all the team that was the defending champions of baseball who aim to play in October every single year and can afford to trade from the lowest levels of their organization.

      Vizcaino looked nice but he was very much a throw-in.

    8. redbug
      June 21st, 2012 | 6:15 pm

      Still, I don’t thimk it was necessary for Kevin Long to throw Melky under the bus. The Yanks, including Long, maybe could’ve done more to encourage Melky. It’d be nice to have Melky on the team given how great he’s playing now.

    9. June 21st, 2012 | 7:43 pm

      Now the excuses will start. Melky is on his way to being a star and Cashman is worried. Melky was 21 years old when he became a Yankee regular. He wasn’t given the opportunity to mature in the minors the way Austin Jackson and Brett Gardner were. And it showed. He was a handful to be sure, but at his best he brought a youthful energy to the team the type of enthusiasm that I believe was a key component to the 2009 team. Two terrible Cashman trades for the same terrible player, Rivera and Johnson for Vasquez and Melky for Vasquez.

    10. 77yankees
      June 21st, 2012 | 8:56 pm

      Funny, but the things Long said about Melky sounds like what they were saying about Cano pre-2009.

      Difference is that the Yankees in their mind, had no other viable alternatives at 2B, and thus Cano got a longer rope than Melky did, or else Cano would have been dealt before 2009.

    11. Raf
      June 21st, 2012 | 10:06 pm

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      Now the excuses will start. Melky is on his way to being a star and Cashman is worried.

      Because Melky is in his 3rd organization removed from the Yankees? That makes no sense at all.

      77yankees wrote:

      Difference is that the Yankees in their mind, had no other viable alternatives at 2B, and thus Cano got a longer rope than Melky did, or else Cano would have been dealt before 2009.

      There were no shortage of attempts to trade Cano
      http://www.captainsblog.info/2011/01/05/better-to-be-lucky-or-how-the-yankees-tried-to-trade-robinson-cano-but-failed/4567/

    12. Evan3457
      June 22nd, 2012 | 1:25 am

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      Now the excuses will start. Melky is on his way to being a star and Cashman is worried. Melky was 21 years old when he became a Yankee regular. He wasn’t given the opportunity to mature in the minors the way Austin Jackson and Brett Gardner were. And it showed. He was a handful to be sure, but at his best he brought a youthful energy to the team the type of enthusiasm that I believe was a key component to the 2009 team. Two terrible Cashman trades for the same terrible player, Rivera and Johnson for Vasquez and Melky for Vasquez.

      Oh, please. No one’s making excuses, because there’s nothing to make excuses for.

      1. Melky was mediocre with the Yankees.
      2. He wasn’t showing signs of significant improvement.
      3. He was about to get expensive in arbitration, and the Yanks had a player just as valuable in Gardner, and cheaper.
      4. Neither Rivera nor Nick Johnson made it big-time with any team they’ve been on.
      5. Cashman’s judgement is backed by the Braves. Does Frank Wren need to make excuses, too? He non-tendered Melky. At least the Yanks still have Boone Logan and Dante Bichette, Jr. to show from their trade, what do the Braves have?
      6. The Royals judgement was even worse. They saw Melky have a very good season for them, but they traded him for Jonathan Sanchez, who’s been terrible/injured all year. Does Drayton Moore need to make excuses?

    13. MJ Recanati
      June 22nd, 2012 | 9:28 am

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      Two terrible Cashman trades for the same terrible player, Rivera and Johnson for Vasquez and Melky for Vasquez.

      All I can do is shake my head. Juan Rivera and Nick Johnson? Really?

      Losing them was a big deal? Not only wasn’t it a big deal at the time, it’s even less so in hindsight. Rivera has been a platoon player his entire career, worth an average of less than 1 WAR/season. Johnson’s injuries long ago nullified any impact he might ever have in the big leagues.

      Spare me that rubbish.

    14. June 23rd, 2012 | 11:46 am

      @ Raf:

      Didn’t this entire discussion start with Kevin Long, Melky said nothing about the Yankees. Couldn’t Kevin have said something like, it’s great to see Melky succeeding, and if he continued to be pressed, indicate the Yankees are happy with the outfield they have, I mean why knock Melky and his time with the Yankees. It seems a little petty to me, funny, you don’t see Larry knocking AJ who is off to a good start with the Pirates.

      As far as the other two organizations are concerned, KC always has bottom line issues and are trying to build from their organization. Besides, what have they won lately. The Braves had Melky for one year and he didn’t play well.

    15. June 23rd, 2012 | 12:26 pm

      @ Evan3457:

      How did this discussion start, did Melky criticize the Yankees? It was Kevin Long making the statements. And he’s making statements (maybe on Cashman’s orders) for what reason (I’ve already outlined what he might have said in my response to Raf).

      “He showed no signs of improvement”, he didn’t, compare 2008 and 2009. Remember (again please read what was written), he turned 25 in August of 2009, his final Yankee campaign. The maturing process takes time, not everyone is a Derek Jeter. Take a look at Bernie’s first few seasons. Gardner did’t make his first major league appearance until he was almost 25. How many season had Melky been a Yankee regular prior to his 25th birthday.

      “the Yankees had a player just as valuable in Gardner”, the problem is,he’s not as valuable. I don’t mean to knock Gardner, who works very hard,the sum of his talents far greater than the individual parts. Gardner, because of the way he plays the game is going to get banged up a lot and his game when he plays will be somewhat compromised. Gardner is all he ever will be right now. He’s never going to get 200 hits in a season, never going to drive in even 60 runs.

      The proof is in front of us every day, either you see it or you don’t.

    16. Raf
      June 23rd, 2012 | 12:40 pm
    17. Raf
      June 23rd, 2012 | 1:38 pm

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      “He showed no signs of improvement”, he didn’t, compare 2008 and 2009. Remember (again please read what was written), he turned 25 in August of 2009, his final Yankee campaign. The maturing process takes time, not everyone is a Derek Jeter.

      When both struggled in 2008, Cabrera was sent down, Cano wasn’t.

      Cabera wasn’t profiled to be anything more than a 4th OF. The Yanks made that assessment, the Braves made that assessment, the Royals made that assessment.

      That Cabrera got his act together and finally developed doesn’t take away from his assessment at the time of the 3 organizations that he passed through.

      Bernie Williams is not an accurate assessment. Remember, the Yankees moved Roberto Kelly to LF (then off the team) to accommodate Bernie. Bernie was also 23 when he became a full time starter, bumping Roberto Kelly to LF. Melky, not so much. Matsui came back, Abreu had been traded for, Damon was in CF. Gardner was called up and the rest is history.

    18. June 23rd, 2012 | 2:52 pm

      @ Raf:

      Comparing Cano and Melky is unfair, and I never did that. Cano is an infielder and clearly had more upside than Melky. I’m not usre how Cano entered the discussion. Melky had 201 hits for the Royals and drove home 87 runs, if they viewed that type of production as a fourth outfielder they were blind. The Braves had payroll concerns.

    19. June 23rd, 2012 | 3:44 pm

      @ MJ Recanati:
      The two trades were terrible. When you trade a player it is not just about what you are giving up, it’s about what you are getting back. In spite of what you think the fact of the matter is both players the Yankees gave up in the 2003 trade had value, what was coming back in return, an overrated (by the Yankees) off the rack run of the mill pitcher. Why bother making a deal for someone like that (he was the Jeff Weaver trade of 2003) . To go out after the 2009 season and make the same mistake again was unbelievable. Did you actually think the second time was going to be different? Did you see this guy in 2004, did you ever see him interviewed, did he strike you as a player who would do well in New York after what happened the first time around? When he pitched against the Yankees even if the team fell behind were you concerned (as in we’ll never get back into this game Javy’s on the mound)?

    20. Raf
      June 23rd, 2012 | 3:53 pm

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      Melky had 201 hits for the Royals and drove home 87 runs, if they viewed that type of production as a fourth outfielder they were blind. The Braves had payroll concerns.

      Melky had that production for the Royals *AFTER* he re-dedicated himself to his craft. The Royals obviously saw something in him which is why they offered him a contract after the Braves non-tendered him (and to be fair, so did the Yankees; the Royals offered guaranteed money, the Yankees didn’t). The Royals still had the rights to Cabrera when they flipped him to the Giants. Chances are they thought that was the best they were going to get, and sold high.

      As for the Braves, payroll concerns was the reason they traded Vazquez. Melky showing up out of shape and having an off year was the reason they cut him loose, not because of payroll concerns; remember they added salary in Dan Uggla and Alex Gonzalez.

    21. Raf
      June 23rd, 2012 | 4:01 pm
    22. June 23rd, 2012 | 4:30 pm

      Well in the case of the Royals there was some thinking that Sanchez had an off year and would rebound and finally come into his own. He’s a lefty and that always helps, plus he struck out over two hundred in 2010. Melky had an off year with the Braves, no question about it, the Braves couldn’t take the chance. The Yanks can afford to make mistakes the Braves can’t.

    23. Raf
      June 23rd, 2012 | 5:26 pm

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      Melky had an off year with the Braves, no question about it, the Braves couldn’t take the chance. The Yanks can afford to make mistakes the Braves can’t.

      Again, the Braves added salary; they dumped Melky, moved Martin Prado to LF and traded for Dan Uggla. They kept Nate McClouth, who made more money than Cabrera. They added salary while Cabrera was there, picking up Rick Ankiel.

      Cabrera has a good year, he doesn’t get non-tendered by the Braves. If the Braves saw that he would cash in on his potential, the Braves could’ve worked something out with him. Heck they could’ve traded him to a team that saw his potential.

      http://www.talkingchop.com/2010/10/21/1760076/braves-2010-season-in-review-melky-cabrera

    24. June 23rd, 2012 | 6:34 pm

      The point concerning the Braves, the team wasn’t in a position to gamble that they might not be able to deal him and ultimately might be stuck with an unproductive player for another year.

      I go back to the original point of my post, the Yankees in the person of Kevin Long decided to make public comments. I outlined in my comments to Evan what Long could have said. He could have wished him the best, and expressed happiness for his success, that’s not what he did, was it? Cashman is a first class snake (take a look at his private life) who has been feeling the heat all season for his disastrous trade with Seattle. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to find out he asked Long to comment on Melky. Let me tell you if George were still alive and well, Cashman would be dusting off his resume.-

    25. Evan3457
      June 23rd, 2012 | 9:53 pm

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      The point concerning the Braves, the team wasn’t in a position to gamble that they might not be able to deal him and ultimately might be stuck with an unproductive player for another year.
      I go back to the original point of my post, the Yankees in the person of Kevin Long decided to make public comments. I outlined in my comments to Evan what Long could have said. He could have wished him the best, and expressed happiness for his success, that’s not what he did, was it? Cashman is a first class snake (take a look at his private life) who has been feeling the heat all season for his disastrous trade with Seattle. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to find out he asked Long to comment on Melky. Let me tell you if George were still alive and well, Cashman would be dusting off his resume.-

      There is NO evidence Cashman told Long to say anything. None. You are choosing to make that an issue because of your prior judgments that Cashman is a lousy GM, and because of his extramarital activity, a bag of slime.

      If George had been in control, he’d have traded Melky for a lefty reliever after Melky’s awful 2008 season.

    26. Raf
      June 24th, 2012 | 1:33 am

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      The point concerning the Braves, the team wasn’t in a position to gamble that they might not be able to deal him and ultimately might be stuck with an unproductive player for another year.

      So then they release him in spring training. Or they deal him to another team. It’s not that complicated. The Yankees and Royals were interested in Melky, it’s not like there wasn’t a market for him.

      Cashman is a first class snake (take a look at his private life) who has been feeling the heat all season for his disastrous trade with Seattle.

      Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight…

      First class snake who’s team is currently in first place in the AL East. Why is he feeling the heat again?

    27. Raf
      June 24th, 2012 | 1:41 am

      *whose…

    28. Evan3457
      June 24th, 2012 | 4:18 am

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      @ Evan3457:

      “He showed no signs of improvement”, he didn’t, compare 2008 and 2009. Remember (again please read what was written), he turned 25 in August of 2009, his final Yankee campaign.

      Melky’s 2009 was better than his 2008, but that’s because his 2008 was a disastrous backward step. Melky’s batting line in 2009 was barely better than 2007, and he was a better defender in 2007, so that his WAR in 2009 was still lower than 2007.

      The maturing process takes time, not everyone is a Derek Jeter. Take a look at Bernie’s first few seasons.

      Bernie’s age 23 and 24 seasons were measurably better than Melky’s.

      Gardner did’t make his first major league appearance until he was almost 25. How many season had Melky been a Yankee regular prior to his 25th birthday. “the Yankees had a player just as valuable in Gardner”, the problem is,he’s not as valuable.

      Actually, Gardner’s not as valuable if Melky hits a BABIP-driven .360; he’s actually more valuable than Melky if Melky isn’t really a .360 hitter, and not by a little. Gardner combined WAR 2010-2011: 10.7; Melky combined WAR 2010-2011: 3.6

      And for just 2011 alone: Gardner 4.1 bWAR, Melky 3.7 bWAR; Gardner 5.1 fWAR; Melky 4.2 fWAR. Both WAR systems show Gardner to have been more valuable in 2011.

      Gardner is all he ever will be right now. He’s never going to get 200 hits in a season, never going to drive in even 60 runs.
      The proof is in front of us every day, either you see it or you don’t.

      That’s right; either you see Gardner’s true value, especially defensively, or you don’t.

    29. June 24th, 2012 | 1:35 pm

      @ Raf:

      Again, the Yankees started up with this, not Melky, why. You don’t see anyone commenting on A.J. do you.

    30. Raf
      June 24th, 2012 | 2:19 pm

      @ Joseph Maloney:
      The Yankees started with this? They called Sherman to put the word out?

      What possible rationale does the Yankee organization have to be defensive about a player that was dealt 3 years ago and has passed through 2 other organizations, one of which non-tendered him? One who has had conditioning issues in the past?

      You like Melky, that’s cool. But let’s not try to rewrite history. The Yankees moved him because of his dedication. The Braves let him go because of his dedication. The Royals figured they got lucky and moved him as soon as they could.

      If you don’t believe me, feel free to reference Braves and Royals and Giants blogs when Melky was cut and traded.

      As for AJ, it could be that no one cares enough about AJ for him to come up as a topic. AJ also hasn’t had conditioning issues (just the issue of staying healthy). Burnett has also put 10 seasons into the league before he came to NY, and while he was with NY there was the persistent meme of “Halladay taught him to pitch.”

    31. Evan3457
      July 8th, 2012 | 6:56 am

      THIS ends this particular fooferaw:
      http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/ex-yankee-melky-cabrera-a-body-good-turned-career-san-francisco-giants-article-1.1109739

      Note especially paragraphs #8-10, #19-21, and #25-29.

      {Insert snide aspersion about A-Rod’s “Training methods” and “nutritional supplements” here.}

    32. redbug
      July 8th, 2012 | 10:03 am

      What’s the point of Long’s allegations?

    33. Evan3457
      July 8th, 2012 | 12:07 pm

      redbug wrote:

      What’s the point of Long’s allegations?

      They’re not allegations, they’re explanations for why Melky improved so much.

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