MLB: Brian Cashman Knew What He Was Doing When He Traded Ian Kennedy

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MLB: Brian Cashman Knew What He Was Doing When He Traded Ian Kennedy
PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 28: Starting pitcher Ian Kennedy #31 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the San Diego Padres during the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on August 28, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Don't you dare criticize New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman for trading Ian Kennedy.

Kennedy won his 17th game yesterday, allowing the offensively-challenged San Diego a single run, six hits and no walks in seven innings. He struck out seven.

Kennedy leads the league in wins, winning percentage (.810) and games started (28). He has a 3.03 ERA, a 131 ERA+ and a 1.121 WHIP.

Does anyone think that he might be able to replace A.J. Burnett in Joe Girardi's starting rotation?

On Dec. 8, 2009, Brian Cashman sent Kennedy to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Yankees also sent outfielder Austin Jackson and left-handed pitcher Phil Coke to the Detroit Tigers. In return, the Yankees received Curtis Granderson from the Tigers.

So please, those of you who think Cashman should never have traded Kennedy: keep quiet.

The Yankees, Diamondbacks and, to a much lesser degree, the Tigers, pulled off a baseball rarity. They made a trade in which no one was fleeced.

Kennedy has helped the Diamondbacks contend, while Granderson is a legitimate MVP candidate who is having a great offensive season.

After a decent 2010, Austin Jackson is struggling this year (.242/.311/.356), but he is young and has great potential. The Tigers should win the Central Division.

Tigers general manager Dave Dombroski was forced to trade Granderson.

"It was a business decision," Dombrowski said. "We were in a position where we just need to, based upon our (financial) situation right now, make some adjustments."

Tigers manger Jim Leyland Jim Leyland  rated Granderson highly.

"I think, in my opinion, Curtis Granderson is one of the things that's all good about baseball in today's baseball world. He is one heck of a player. He has a great face. He's very bright. He's very articulate. He's everything that's good about baseball," Leyland said. "He's the total package."

When comparing Granderson and Kennedy, the universal question arises: Who is more valuable, a top everyday player or a star pitcher?

If the Yankees had Kennedy instead of Granderson, they would be a different team. They would certainly still be a playoff team and a strong contender to get to and win the World Series.

Imagine if Kennedy, who suffered numerous injuries while the property (what, can a ball player be property?) of the Yankees, were one of the Yankees starters.

Unlike Javier Vazquez and his ilk, Kennedy didn't do poorly because he couldn't pitch in New York.

I know. I know. Would Freddy Garcia and/or Bartolo Colon be Yankees if they had kept Kennedy?

Another fascinating question is, would the Yankees have kept Melky Cabrera if they hadn't acquired Granderson?

The answer is that Cabrera was gone, no matter what.

The Atlanta Braves, a team that at one point this season had almost its entire outfield on the disabled list, had released Cabrera last October. Melky is happy in the quiet Kansas City environment. He would not be having such a good season in New York.

This brings us back to how great the Granderson-Kennedy trade was for both teams.

The Yankees have a center fielder for at least two more seasons under his current contract. The Diamondbacks have an ace hurler that they can "control" for a few more years.

Brian Cashman made a wonderful trade, as did his counterpart with Arizona, Josh Byrnes. That doesn't happen often.

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