Did Mid-Season Trades Cost The New York Yankees A Playoff Spot? 1
Apr 25, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Andrew Miller (48) is congratulated by catcher Austin Romine (27) after getting a save in the game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. New York won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have been hailed winners at the trade deadline with their gutsy moves but did they lose a shot at a 2016 title?

It had to be done, right? At least, that is what fans keep telling themselves when they saw the New York Yankees trade away three of their biggest assets for a group of up-and-coming prospects.

Now that Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller are competing against one another for a World Series title, New York can only sit and wonder what would happen if they kept these two pitchers.

Both of them played tremendous roles on their team in getting them to this position. Miller was even named the ALCS MVP for the Cleveland Indians, an honor only three other relief pitchers have earned.

In return for these two, the Yankees gained eight budding prospects, helping them build up their farm system once again. But with prospects comes the fact that they could excel or flame out in the major leagues.

Oct 20, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman (54) delivers a pitch in the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game five of the 2016 NLCS playoff baseball series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USATSI

Taking a chance on building the future is always a risk. There have been highly-touted prospects who have fallen apart on the big stage (Joba Chamberlain, anyone?) and chances are that not all of these prospects will pan out for the Yankees in the future.

Seeing Miller and Chapman on the biggest stage in baseball makes fans question these prospects that have made their way to the organization. Sure, that can possibly help the future, but Chapman and Miller were a sure thing. They had proven their success and experience in the majors.

With the trade of Chapman, they lost a flamethrower who consistently throws 103 miles an hour. With the trade of Miller, they lost a smart, dominant presence on the mound. All for a group of unproven prospects that might make a difference in the future.

If the Yankees hadn’t gone for the youth movement, would they have finished in a different position? We’ll never know for sure, but chances are, probably not.

With Chapman and Miller in the back end of the bullpen in 2016, the Yankees were just barely at .500. From the beginning of August until October? The Yankees boasted a 31-26 record. While a smaller sample size, they still looked like a better team without their two dominant relievers.

Oct 17, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Andrew Miller (right) celebrates with catcher Roberto Perez (left) after game three of the 2016 ALCS playoff baseball series against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Turchiaro-USATSI

And the Yankees relief pitchers were never the problem. The major issue that held the Yankees back from making a run at another title was a stagnant offense. That’s something the Bombers are hoping to improve with their current youth movement.

The Yankees could have kept Miller and Chapman for reassurance in their bullpen. They could have stuck by them, but it wouldn’t have brought them any closer to the playoffs.

These trades by New York gave the Chicago Cubs and the Indians something they had an immediate need for. The Yankees, in return, got something for the future. That’s how trades work. They can help teams win now or help teams build for the future.

So enough of the “you’re welcome” comments towards Cleveland and Chicago. This trade did what it was supposed to do and gave Yankees fans something to patiently wait for.

Trust me, the Yankees aren’t in the World Series now, but with the focus on youth, they will be soon. And it’s going to be worth the wait.

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