New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has made possibly one of the brightest trades since earning the job in 1998.
No, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman did not bring in an ace that could carry his team to a pennant. Nor did he acquire a game-changing bat, but what he did do was pull off a swap that defines a career.
According to Jon Heyman, New York has made a deal with the Chicago Cubs that sends Aroldis Chapman to the Windy City in exchange for top – and baseball’s 28 best – shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres, the Cubs’ fifth-best prospect Billy McKinney, Adam Warren, and a fourth player.
With a blind look, this trade could surely be spun into a poor move for the Bombers. After all, they’re just 4.5 games out of a Wild Card spot and just bargained their flame-throwing closer to the Cubs for a young stud along with a shaky bullpen option.
However, look deeper into it. Start with how Cashman brought Chapman to the Bronx from Cincinnati back in December.
Sure, a 30-game domestic violence suspension landed him on the clearance rack but what they gave up – third baseman Eric Jagielo, second baseman Tony Renda, and right-handed pitchers Rookie Davis and Caleb Cotham – aren’t necessarily “top” prospects.
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In fact, only Davis and Jagielo rank inside the Reds Top-30 prospects and they have been left out of the top 10, according to MLB Pipeline.
Fast forward to before this trade was made. Gone are the value-degrading controversies and in are the teams that will desperately unload a top prospect or two in order to get Chapman on their team. Cashman was virtually guaranteed to cash in on the prospects he had let go to bring him in the first place.
If you can’t tell by now, he did by bringing in two top-five prospects and only surrendered four prospects that will apparently amount to nothing more than his returns will.
Here’s another way to look at this.
Hypothetically, what the Yankees’ general manager just did was trade four mid-to-low level prospects and Aroldis Chapman for Starlin Castro and two top-tier prospects from a farm system that has supplied the baseball world with a surplus of talent.
Of course, that was not the trade that was just made but when you think about it, New York just cashed in big time on Chapman.
The best part is, “No-Runs DMC” may reunite following the 2016 campaign. Jack Curry of the YES Network asked the dynamic closer if he’d consider returning when he becomes a free-agent and he responded with: “Oh yeah.”
Also, for those who think the Yankees can still make a run at the playoffs, the super ‘pen did not take that much of a hit.
Yes, they lost a guy who owns a 3-0 record that is supplemented by a 2.01 earned run average, 12.6 strikeouts per nine innings, a career-low 2.3 walks per nine innings, and 20 saves in just one more opportunity but you still have a dynamic duo in Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller.
Those two fared well in leading the Yankees to 87 wins in 2015 and their 45% strikeout percentage will still exist with the exit of Chapman. For those who forgot just how good these two were together, take a look:
That, the fact that they did gain Warren, two top prospects, and a fourth player for just Chapman, and you have yourself an absolute steal.
Furthermore, to those who think the Yankees don’t need another top shortstop prospect, you’re missing the point in its entirety.
Maybe one day Torres could move to third – in fact, Pipeline lists that as a possibility – and maybe it could lead to a trade involving Mateo. However, the accumulation of young talent is all that matters for the organization right now.
How do you do that? You try to wheel in young athletes with the highest of ceilings because they are the core individuals who can drive a team to future pennants and championships.
Take the team the Yankees just traded with for example. In 2014 the Cubs had an above average starting shortstop in Castro but an encouraging shortstop prospect, Javier Baez, in the minors.
They knew, however, they were not a postseason team so they traded Jeff Samardzija to the Oakland A’s for stud shortstop prospect in Addison Russell. Now, Russell has replaced both Castro and Baez as their starting shortstop and at just 22-years-old was an all-star for the team with the best record in baseball.
It starts with young talent. Sure, the Yankees are a little late to the development party, but tip your cap to Cashman – who wanted to do this years ago – for getting the job done.
Now, the future is bright as ever for the New York Yankees and they did not ship away an arm and a leg to do so. Bravo, Mr. Cashman.