New York Yankees: Young Hurlers Make The Questionable Justin Wilson Deal Seem Brilliant 1
Brad Penner, USATSI

This past offseason, the New York Yankees dealt Justin Wilson to the Detroit Tigers in a controversial deal that seems clever as ever at this moment.

Never did a bullpen issue seem plausible for New York Yankees entering this season. Even after adding Aroldis Chapman to turn the dynamic duo of Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller into the “three-headed monster,” the middle relief took a damaging hit that came off as surprising.

Justin Wilson, who managed a perfect 5-0 record with a superb 3.10 earned run average and 66 strikeouts in 74 games for New York last season, was traded last December to the Detroit Tigers for Luis Cessa and Chad Green.

Just like that, with the help of dealing Adam Warren to the Chicago Cubs, the middle relief would become a predicament for a team with the nastiest back-end in the history of the sport.

It was quite natural to call this deal a dud simply because of that aspect and given the fact that general manager Brian Cashman only received two prospects not considered to be of “top quality.”

On the other hand, to say that Cessa and Green have been nothing but striking would be quite an unnatural statement.

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After a time of brief inconsistency, Green held Josh Donaldson and the juggernaut Toronto Blue Jays’ scoreless for six innings last Monday and surrendered just one run over six innings of work against an offense that is highlighted by Mike Trout.

Entering last Monday, the righty had given up eight home runs in as many appearances along with a 4.94 earned run average. Now, after those two stellar outings, Green’s ERA now sits at 3.66 as he has rightfully earned a spot in the Yankees’ rotation for the rest of 2016.

His partner in crime, Luis Cessa, was called up for his fourth stint in major league baseball — first as a starter — after New York’s rotation lost Nathan Eovaldi to his second Tommy John surgery.

My goodness, was Cessa dominant …

In his first major league start against the Angels, the righty managed to toss six innings of three-hit, shutout baseball.

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Yes, the two young hurlers have unquestionably impressed in this short sample size but neither one or the other has been unusually encouraging in the majors to the point where they are trusted enough to carry the rotation.

However, picture the horror show that would be the Yankees’ rotation right now if it weren’t for the two acquired in a questionable trade at last year’s winter meetings.

Masahiro Tanaka has been the “Hiro” they need but CC Sabathia has cooled to an incredible extent after an early resurgence. Michael Pineda is a head scratcher, Luis Severino is proving to be a typical Quadruple-A starter, and “Not-So-Nasty Nate” will be on the disabled list until 2018.

New York is a manageable four games out of the second Wild Card spot and trustworthy starting pitching — even if it’s from two first-year players — is exactly what the team needs to avoid missing the postseason for the third time in four years.

Also note that the youth movement, which has now found its way into the rotation, is about evaluating rising talent in order to assess what the organization has for 2017 and beyond.

We all see Aaron Judge, Tyler Austin, and Gary Sanchez getting comprehensive repetitions to see if the Yankees can trust in them for the future. With that said, it’s only wise to do the equivalent with starting pitching.

And if they can pitch well over a bigger sample size, there is no reason to believe this duo cannot solidify the rotation like Judge, Austin, and Sanchez has solidified the lineup.

Additionally, Cashman will be satisfied with not extending any lamentable offers to the mediocre free agent pitchers that will be available this upcoming offseason.

It is way too immature to indicate the Yankees as the “winners” of this deal but when you look at how Cessa and Green are currently serving as the glue of the rotation, and how Wilson is experiencing his fair share of troubles, it is never too early to say that the team would not feel confident in their playoff chances without the return from the Justin Wilson deal.

NEXT: Yankees Prospect Profile — Justus Sheffield

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