For my part, I’m not really interested in taking sides on the question, because it really doesn’t seem worth arguing over. Having Ian Kennedy would certainly be very nice these days, but on the other hand, I very much enjoy having Curtis Granderson on the team. Considering that Granderson has without question been the Yankees’ best player this year, I don’t see much of a point in giving the trade much thought at all in retrospect. Even if you were very bullish on Kennedy at the time, at this point the worst case scenario for the trade is that it was a value for value swap that brought the Yankees a power hitting centerfielder with a team friendly contract in the prime of his career. Considering that, is it really any surprise that at least one of the pieces Brian Cashman had to give away is having success now? That’s just the way these swaps work, you have to give something to get something. Trading Wilson Bettimit for Nick Swisher is the exception, not the rule.
Now the knew wrinkle is that the Yankees “picked wrong” in trading Kennedy instead of Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes. That’s an interesting proposition, as it allows for a way in which the Yankees could have Kennedy and Granderson, but I think it really relies on a heavy dose of forgetting the lay of the land after the 2009 season. Remember that Kennedy was sort of the odd man out in the bunch, the guy who hadn’t really had any major league success to that point and seemed to be falling behind the other two members of the Big Three. Hughes had been a revelation for the team in the bullpen, and would of course go on to have an excellent 2010, before tiring as the season wore on, something not at all uncommon for young pitchers. Joba is a different matter, I suppose, but I still contend the only “problem” with Joba is that the front office foolishly decided to give up on him after his more or less league average performance in 2009.
To be fair, I think even in retrospect I probably would have preferred to trade Joba rather Kennedy, at least knowing the Yankees wouldn’t be giving him a chance to start. But who’s to say Arizona would want him? Joba had more service time than Kennedy and was set to go to arbitration after 2010, making him more expensive than Kennedy and giving him less time of team control left. He also suffered an arm injury in 2008 that had seemed to sap some of his electric stuff in 2009. So I think it’s a pretty dubious assumption that Arizona would have even been willing to accept Joba in Kennedy’s place at that point, and a huge reach to imagine anyone thinking it would have been better to trade Hughes than Kennedy in the winter of 2009-10.
Anyway, I guess my point is to just stop worrying about this. The trade worked out for everyone involved, the Yankees have been able to piece together a pretty good rotation anyway, and Curtis Granderson may well win the American League MVP award. Pining for Ian Kennedy will only drive you crazy for no good reason.