MLB Trade Rumors: 5 Reasons Kyle Drabek Trade Makes Sense for NY Yankees

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistDecember 7, 2011

MLB Trade Rumors: 5 Reasons Kyle Drabek Trade Makes Sense for NY Yankees

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    Three days after Thanksgiving, while most of us were still contemplating exactly how much food we ate and how we fit it all in there, Brian Cashman was back at work.

    Or, at least on the phone—he very well could have been contemplating the same thing we were from his living room couch.

    Cashman and his staff spoke with front office and scouting personnel from the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies in regards to pitching prospect Kyle Drabek.

    Drabek, who has struggled since being acquired by the Blue Jays in the Roy Halladay trade, is a worthwhile investment should the Yankees be able to acquire him.

    After the jump, five reasons why that's the case.

Potential

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    Entering the 2010 season, Baseball America had Drabek as the 25th best prospect in baseball.

    Entering the 2011 season, Baseball America had Drabek as the 29th best prospect in baseball.

    He was one of the focal points for the Blue Jays in the trade that sent Roy Halladay to the Philadelphia Phillies.

    The point here, obviously, is that Drabek, who celebrates his 24th birthday tomorrow, is still a promising prospect with a chance to be an impact starter in the majors.

Pedigree

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    Doug Drabek, Kyle's father, was once a Yankees pitching prospect who spent the 1986 season in the Bronx before being traded away to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the heyday of George Steinbrenner dealing off as many prospects as possible.

    Doug would go on to have a successful career in the National League and was the ace of the excellent Pittsburgh Pirates teams of the late '80s and early '90s, winning the 1990 NL Cy Young Award.

    While being the son of a former major league player doesn't automatically equate success in the big leagues, it does mean that he has the genetic makeup to be a starting pitcher in the majors.

Past Performance

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    From 2006 through 2009, Drabek found himself in the Phillies' minor league system. Combined, he would go 19-10 with a 3.70 ERA and 1.26 WHIP, striking out 220 batters in 267.2 innings pitched.

    2009 would be the first time that he really got the chance to show his stuff, splitting time between Single-A and Double-A: 12-3, 3.19 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 150 strikeouts in 158 innings pitched.

    With the Blue Jays, he had an excellent 2010 campaign in Double-A New Hampshire, going 14-9 with a 2.94 ERA and 1.20 WHIP, striking out 132 batters over 162 innings pitched.

    He would make his major league debut in September of 2010, going 0-3 with a 4.76 ERA and 1.35 WHIP over 17 innings pitched. However, each of his three starts would qualify as a quality start.

    Even the beginning of 2011 was somewhat promising, as he made the team out of spring training and pitched fairly well in his first five starts: 2-0 with a 3.30 ERA, though his 1.56 WHIP was a sign something wasn't right.

    And then the wheels fell off.

    By the time Drabek was demoted to Triple-A Syracuse in the middle of June, he was 4-5 with a 5.70 ERA.

    Triple-A was no better for him, as he would go 3-4 with a 7.44 ERA and 2.03 WHIP over 75 innings pitched.

    Upon his return to the Blue Jays as a September call-up, Drabek would get shelled again, allowing seven earned runs in six innings of work.

    His struggles in 2011 aside, Kyle Drabek has been a solid performer at every level.

Pressure

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    Roy Halladay is one of the iconic players in the history of the Toronto Blue Jays and arguably the best pitcher in baseball over the past five seasons.

    Kyle Drabek was a big part of the trade that saw Halladay make his exit from Toronto.

    There is pressure—apparent or not—on Drabek to produce. The fact that he plays the same position as Halladay does not help things either.

    Big things are expected from Drabek.

    Conversely, nobody would think twice about Kyle Drabek in New York.

    If he turned things around, it would be a nice story.

    If he continued to pitch poorly, he would be an afterthought.

    New York is far less pressure-packed than Toronto for the talented youngster and a change of scenery, coupled with a new coaching staff taking a look at his mechanics, could be the cure to what ails him.

Price

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    When asked about the pitching he has in the minors, Toronto Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos named five young pitchers in their system who were on the cusp of making an impact in the majors in 2012.

    Notably absent was Kyle Drabek.

    Reportedly, he would be open to moving Drabek in a deal that would bring him a starting pitcher who can give the Jays 200 innings a season.

    If that is their asking price for Drabek, then the Yankees do not really match up with them, unless Toronto is interested in re-acquiring A.J. Burnett, who played for the Blue Jays from 2006 through 2008.

    But should their asking price come down, the Yankees will be ready to make a deal for the talented youngster.