What The Yankees Gave Up For Chacon

PinstripesPlus.com analyzes what the Yankees gave up in Ramon Ramirez and Edwardo Sierra - not only two of the hardest throwers in the Yankees' farm system, but two of hottest pitchers in their system - in the Shawn Chacon trade. Thursday was an excellent example of trading players when their value was arguably the highest it could have been.

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Both Edwardo Sierra and Ramon Ramirez are hard-throwing, right-handed pitchers. In fact, Sierra's fastball ranked atop the entire Yankees' farm system entering this 2005 season. Both pitchers could consistently bring their heaters in the mid-90's on the radar gun, so the Yankees did have to part with two pitchers with electric stuff.

The Yankees did a very good job trading two players in Sierra and Ramirez whose collective value arguably could not have been any higher.

Ramirez, a starter for both the AAA-Columbus Clippers and more recently the AA-Trenton Thunder, had been one of the most consistent starters in the Yankees' organization the last two months.

Pitching some of his best baseball in his career, Ramirez was 5-3 with a 3.32 ERA over his last 10 starts for the Thunder. He struck out 59 batters during that stretch in 62 1/3 innings, limiting opposing batters to a .223 batting average.

As good as he has been at the AA level as of late, Ramirez failed to show any promise at the highest minor league level in his career. Over the last three seasons, including his 6 starts for Columbus in 2005, Ramirez went a combined 1-7 for the Clippers with a 6.35 ERA.

Trenton reliever Edwardo Sierra was equally hot the last month of the season, posting a 1.23 ERA over his final seven appearances with the AA-Thunder and walking just 14 batters in his last 15 games. While that number would seem a bit high for the passive prospect follower, it was a world of difference from the 24 walks he issued in his first 18 appearances.

Always having bouts with control issues and spiraling walk totals (he walked 45 batters in 48 2/3 innings for the Tampa Yankees in 2004), Sierra's control was at its finest in the weeks leading up to the trade to Colorado on Thursday.

While both have had their fair share of consistency problems, both Edwardo Sierra and Ramon Ramirez have nasty stuff and tremendous upside to them.

As already noted, Ramirez is armed with an above average fastball. He complimented his blazing fastball, clocked consistently in the 92-93 MPH range and able to bring it as high as 96 MPH at times, with a developing curveball and changeup. However, it was the slow development time of his secondary pitches that perhaps made Ramirez expendable.

Many scouts believed it was the combination of his plus fastball and lack of a true out pitch among his secondary pitches that would eventually lead him the to bullpen down the road.

Edwardo Sierra arguably had much better stuff coming out of the bullpen, throwing his heater consistently in the 94-95 MPH range and topping off at 98 MPH. Unlike Ramirez, Sierra has a nasty secondary pitch, throwing a plus splitter. He also throws a decent slider to compliment a somewhat extended repertoire for a short reliever.

It wasn't Sierra's stuff that made him expendable in the Shawn Chacon trade. It was his lack of consistency throwing his pitches for strikes.

The Yankees had to part with two pitchers with high-ceiling talent in order to bring Shawn Chacon to the Bronx. But at the same time, both Sierra and Ramirez are hardly safe bets to have successful Major League careers.

The Bombers traded these two talented pitching prospects when their value was the absolute highest, and for that, they get an "A" in the Shawn Chacon trade with the Rockies.

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