By trading away their most valuable assets, the Yankees have officially given up on the season.
Until the trade deadline the situation wasn’t quite as hopeless as many thought it would be. In fact, trailing by seven games at this part of the season, gives a team still a chance to reach the play offs, even though it is through the second wild card spot. But after being swept by the lowly Rays, it eventually became clear that the chance to reach the playoffs wasn’t a realistic one for the Yankees. The pitching did not live up to the expectations as did most of the hitting.
The Yankees started to be sellers with the Aroldis Chapman trade. The acquisition of Chapman during the 2015-2016 off season, was a questionable one at least as the Yankees already had two top relievers. What else than a public relation stunt could have been the reason for the acquisition of the defected Cuban? Especially the fact that Chapman was in the final year of his contract, made this trade to the Cubs a viable one.
But when the Yankees traded Andrew Miller away, it became obvious that they had thrown the towel. Miller was one of the corner stones of the Yankees’ bullpen with an ERA of 1.39 and a 6-1 record. The tall left hander served well in his role as a closer as he kept his opponents to a batting average of only .176. With trading Miller away to the Cleveland Indians, Dellin Betances remains as the only player that is suitable to fill the closer role.
If trading away Miller wasn’t enough, the Yankees sent their best hitter to the Texas Rangers. In exchange for for Minor League pitchers Dillon Tate, Nick Green and Erik Swanson, they sent Carlos Beltran to Arlington. With this trade the Yankees added more high profile prospects which made their farm system arguably the best in baseball right now.
With the Andrew Miller trade, the Yankees acquired even more talented minor league relievers in Ben Heller and J.P. Feyereisen. Next to these two farmhands, the Yankees got Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield, also two top prospects of the Indians.
From the Cubs, the Yankees received Adam Warren, top prospect Gleyber Torres (275 (98-for-356) with 62 runs, 24 doubles, 3 triples, 9 HR, 47 RBI and 19 SB in 94 games with Myrtle Beach), Billy McKinney (.252 (75-for-298) with 37 runs, 12 doubles, 3 triples, 1 HR and 31 RBI in 88 games with Double-A Tennessee in 2016) and Rashad Crawford (.255 (84-for-329) with 59 run, 18 doubles, 8 triples, 3 HR, 30 RBI and 22 SB in 83 games with Single-A Myrtle Beach this season, appearing primarily in center field) in return for Aroldis Chapman. In Adam Warren the Yankees have a very versatile pitcher that can be a part of the bullpen and can have some spot starts when needed. The Yankees sent Chapman away as he refused to talk about a contract extension before the end of the season. In this way the Yankees were best served as they got a few valuable chips in return.
To complete their 25-man roster, the Yankees traded for Tyler Clippard, who came from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Even though his numbers with the Diamondbacks were so so, Clippard is still good enough for a role as back end or middle reliever in the Yankees’ bullpen.
So with many of their assets dealt away, can we say that the Yankees made some good decisions? Yes. Even though the situation, trailing by seven games around this time of the season, wasn’t as hopeless, the team was actually going nowhere. With trading away two players in the final year of their contract,the Yankees did the best they could do. Brian Casman can finally practice what he has been preaching over the past few years: rejuvenation.