This week, we have seen the New York Yankees desperately attempting to clear 40-man roster space to allow them to protect some of the players who are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. With less than an hour to go before the deadline, the Yankees announced one final trade with the Miami Marlins. They sent first baseman Garrett Cooper and left-handed pitcher Caleb Smith to Miami in exchange for right-handed pitcher Michael King and $250,000 of 2017-2018 international bonus money.
Cooper quietly had a very productive rookie year in the Bronx following a trade from the Brewers in exchange for left-handed reliever Tyler Webb. Over 45 plate appearances, Cooper hit .326/.333/.488 while posting decent results in the field. Cooper will maintain his rookie eligibility going into 2018.
Smith had been selected by the Chicago Cubs from the Yankees in the 2016 Rule 5 Draft, however was returned in April. Upon his return to Yankees’ system, Smith posted a very solid 2.41 ERA over 100.2 innings pitched, mainly as a starter, which earned Smith his first legitimate call-up from the minors, during which he scuffled. Over 18.2 innings in New York, he posted a 7.71 ERA, as he uncharacteristically struggled with control. Smith will compete for a spot on the Marlins’ pitching staff this spring. With his versatility, he could wind up in the bullpen or the rotation.
King is a control oriented starting pitcher who was drafted in the 12th round in the 2016 amateur draft out of Boston College. After primarily working in relief during 2016, he was moved to the rotation upon his promotion to Class-A Greensboro. All told, he posted a very strong 3.14 ERA with a 106/26 K/BB ratio. King has been rather susceptible to the long ball over his career, due to his underwhelming stuff, which could cause him difficulty as he ascends through the Yankees’ system. He most likely serves as either a No. 4 starter or a middle reliever in the future.
The acquisition of Cooper could possibly suggest that the Marlins are more willing to trade incumbent first baseman Justin Bour in the near future, whether it be during the offseason, or over the summer. Otherwise, this is a pretty straightforward deal that allowed the Yankees to add two additional players to their 40-man roster.