As the trade deadline passes this week, let’s take a look at the deals the New York Yankees have made the past month.
Brian Cashman and the New York Yankees were incredibly active ahead of the July 31 trade deadline. Although they failed to land the marquee starting pitcher that many hoped for, they improved the ballclub in a number of ways. Here are the grades for each deal made by the front office.
Yankees Receive: Zach Britton --- Orioles Receive: Cody Carroll, Dillon Tate, and Josh Rogers
The Yankees acquire one of the best left-handed pitchers in baseball in this deal. Britton was a phenomenal closer for Baltimore, notching thirty saves or more from 2014-2016 (including 47 in 2016, which led the American League). Britton solidifies the Yankees strength in the bullpen and adds one of the best lefties in the game to it.
Britton is a gamble in two different ways. One, he was injured last December when he tore his Achilles. At the age of 30, he might not necessarily be as good as he has been in the past. However, in seven appearances with the Orioles in the month of July, Britton did not surrender a run.
Britton also has an expiring contract at the end of the season, which will make him a rental until then. With the Bombers already committing serious money to their closer Aroldis Chapman, it will be interesting to see if they are able to retain Britton in the offseason.
The Yankees dealt a pretty good batch of young players to the Orioles in return for what might be temporary help. Dillion Tate was 5-2 with a 3.58 ERA during his 15 starts in AA ball. The promising right-hander was a top prospect in the 2015 MLB Draft and was selected fourth overall. He was the big trade chip the Yankees got in return for Carlos Beltran in 2016. Josh Rogers is a talented, young left-hander who also was looking good in the minors.
If the Yankees are able to keep Britton, then the trade makes more sense. If they aren’t able to retain him, it could be looked at in the future as a dud trade.
Yankees Receive: J.A. Happ --- Blue Jays Receive: Billy McKinney and Brandon Drury
While the starting pitching market was anything but strong this trade deadline, the Yankees might have received the best bang for their buck in acquiring J.A. Happ from the Blue Jays. While Happ’s numbers don’t exactly blow off the page, he is a durable starter who has had success against Boston in his career. The Yankees didn’t feel the need to overpay to get the services of someone like a Chris Archer, who was dealt to Pittsburgh, but instead got someone they think can help for a fraction of the cost.
New York dealt two players that they don’t have much space for on their current roster. Billy McKinney looks like a promising young outfielder. He smacked 13 home runs in 56 games in Triple-A for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but only hit .226. With the Yankees outfield as crowded as it is, there wasn’t much room for McKinney to play in the Bronx.
Brandon Drury was injured for a majority of his time in pinstripes, but the team has an even younger option to fill his role. Tyler Wade, 23, appears to be a younger version of Drury. He has the ability to play all over the field and has shown flashes of his ability to make plays on defense. This deal opens up his chance to play in the majors.
Happ is also a rental by definition, who won’t have a massive price tag at the end of the season, one would think. At 35-years old, he might be able to be an affordable option for the Yankees to retain in the offseason.
While he’s no Chris Archer (just how good is Archer anyways?), Happ will give the Yankees another durable arm to carry into the postseason. He might not be the ace that New York fans are looking for, but those opportunities might present themselves this offseason. Happ is a good fit, even as a rental, until then.
Yankees Receive: Luke Voit and future considerations --- Cardinals Receive: Chasen Shreve and RHP Giovanny Gallegos
This grade has the potential to rise even higher if the Yankees are able to acquire a few more of the top-rated international free agents remaining on the market. Overlooking Luke Voit, the Yankees reportedly acquired the ninth-ranked international prospect Osiel Rodriguez using the money they got in this trade. Rodriguez is just sixteen-years-old, but already has a major league fastball and a lot of potential.
Acquiring Zach Britton made Chasen Shreve expendable in this trade. Shreve has been rough to watch this season, owner of a 4.26 ERA when he left. He was miserable to watch at times, he had a 9.72 ERA in the month of May and a 5.79 ERA in June.
While the team gets little to no immediate help, moving Shreve with the chance to get some of the top remaining international prospects in return seems like a steal. Along with Rodriguez, the Yankees might even have enough money to make a run at Victor Victor Mesa, the number one rated international prospect this year.
Yankees Receive: Lance Lynn and cash --- Twins Receive: Tyler Austin and Luis Rijo
In what was a surprise trade for the Bombers, the team once again flipped a player they had trouble finding time for in a deal for a player it can use. Once again, Lance Lynn’s numbers don’t look great on paper. If you dig a little deeper, however, you will find that he has been better than those numbers suggest.
Lynn was a good pitcher for the Cardinals just a short time ago but struggled in his first month after signing a one-year deal with the Twins. During the months of May and June however, Lynn looked like he was back in his old form. He pitched to a 3.76 ERA in May and even finished June at 2-2 with a 2.83 ERA. He struggled again early in July, but GM Brian Cashman might have seen potential in the hard-throwing right-hander in his performance in the Red Sox just last week: six innings, six hits, and just two runs surrendered in Boston.
Tyler Austin was the main trade chip in this deal. Austin showed signs that he could be a good major league player during his time in the Bronx. But once again, he was hard to find time for at the major league level. He also struggled in his last few weeks in New York, which could have helped Cashman pull the trigger on this deal. As a fan of Austin, dealing him for a rental hurts. But, it makes sense.
Lynn is a serviceable, hard-throwing right-hander that fits what the Yankees seem like they were looking for. He has valuable post-season experience: he pitched game one of both the NLDS and NLCS just a few years ago for the Cardinals. Lynn also has experience pitching out of the bullpen, which might be more likely of a role for him. With the Yankees approaching a tough stretch on the schedule with limited days off, Lynn provides the flexibility of being able to start or relieve. If he were successful here, it wouldn’t be out of the question to see if they could bring him back too.
Yankees Receive: Cash --- Mariners Receive: Adam Warren
In the only head-scratching move made by Brian Cashman and the Bombers in the last few weeks, the team moved flexible pitcher Adam Warren for cash considerations to the Mariners. There are a few things to point out about this deal.
The first would be that they are trading him to a team that they might end up having to beat in a Wild Card matchup in a few months. That concept is unsettling. The thought of Warren on the mound in a close game motivated by a trade should scare Yankees fans.
The second would be that he was a serviceable pitcher for the Yankees that provided the same flexibility that the Lynn trade did. He has a respectable 2.70 ERA and can be solid out of the bullpen (he’s had under a 3.00 ERA each of the last two years), while also able to start in a spot situation. He would have been useful down the stretch with this difficult schedule that includes limited days off.
The third would be the return. Yes, the Yankees should be excited to get more international bonus pool money. But Warren’s solid performance this season should garner more than just cash considerations, right? Although Warren is also due to get paid at the end of the season, the return for him could have netted the Bombers a little extra.