With podcast season switched to offseason mode, I ran into a curious enough trade proposal on Twitter to roll with a podcast on it. As it assesses the parent club now, as compared to only the future, it seemed compelling enough to turn it into a written piece as well. Justin Argiro had the idea of Luis Cessa, a Yankees reliever, for Davidjohn Herz, a Cubs 2019 8th-round choice from Terry Sanford High School in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Many of you are familiar with Cessa, one of the many relievers the Yankees used in their processions of relievers in their series against Tampa Bay. A 28-year-old righthanded reliever from Cordoba, Mexico, Cessa had a 3.32 ERA and 1.246 WHIP in 16 appearances in the regular season for the 2020 Yankees. Without any serious research.on him, he would likely have been the guy the Cubs turned to in the seventh inning of either (or both) playoff games against the Marlins. It seems apparent he would probably make the bullpen better for 2021 through 2023, as he isn't a free agent until 2024. Though he is arbitration-eligible this off-season, what's not to like from a Cubs perspective?
First, though, a look from the Yankees perspective. Recently, they've been the type of team to face a 40-man roster crunch. When considering which players to retain and make available for the December Rule 5 Draft, they have tended to send away "current value" pieces for players with longer shelf lives. While Cessa hits free agency in 2024, Herz isn't Rule 5 eligible until 2023. The Yankees have enough depth to shift their contention period to a longer duration, trading pieces that are useful but not essential for the upcoming seasons. It has largely kept them in contention, though (like the Dodgers) it's been awhile since they celebrated with the "piece of metal."
Herz represents a hope at either a lefty starting pitcher, or leverage reliever. In his 10⅓ innings of work in Mesa in 2019, he gave up 10 hits, eight walks, and fanned eight. He was 2.6 years younger than the average hitter he faced. As usual, it depends on his progression. Any trade could well alter the trajectory for either player, so direct correlations are tenuous at best. Nonetheless, this gives people a chance to assess the positives and negatives of a theoretical transaction, and work the muscles that fake trades activate.
The Yankees figure to make a few trades along these lines, after losing in the Division Series round, knowing they have up-and-coming prospects to close out the more uncertain part of their 40-man roster. Trades based on now are usually palatable at the time, even if they misfire later. (A few people though the Chris Archer trade by the Pirates made sense. Until it obviously didn't.) The Cubs don't figure to have 40 players protected.
Adding Cessa makes the Cubs probably half-a-percentage point more World Series compelling in 2021. As for 2022, whether you think that season is even played might sway your opinion on the trade. I've mentioned a few times that I'm on Team 2023 and Beyond. Which doesn't mean I want the 2012 and 2013 years to return. I assess transactions on 2023 and beyond as much as 2021 and an uncertain 2022.
Cessa would help the Cubs immediately, but parcelling away the future prospect by prospect seems counter-productive when the Rays recently eliminated the Gothams. Long-term pieces, if properly developed, can be greatly valued long-term. Or wishes upon a star.
I'm not allowing for a third option in the poll. As I run into fake trades, I'll podcast on them. The non-laughable ones (like Salvador Perez for Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras, plus) will get only mocked in audio. I want you to have the option to "yes or no" trade options that seem reasonable. If you want to modify the terms, that's what the comments are for.
Cessa for Herz?
This poll is closed