For the second time this week, the New York Yankees have traded with a division rival, this time grabbing J.A. Happ from the Toronto Blue Jays for Brandon Drury and Billy McKinney. Certainly, the Yankees were asked to give up more in order for Toronto to part with Happ, being that both teams reside in the American League East division.
The trade could not have come at a better time, as the Yankees will face off against the division-leading Boston Red Sox 10 times over the season’s final 61 games. Happ is a notorious Red Sox enemy, possessing a 7-4 record to couple with a 2.98 ERA against the team in his career. This is good news for the Yankees, who will likely slot Happ to pitch in those three series.
As for what was relinquished, the Toronto Blue Jays received two players who should see significant playing time in the major leagues both this season and in the future.
Drury, who was acquired for Taylor Wiedner and Nick Solak from Arizona this winter, was plagued by an early season vision issue, and the emergence of rookie Miguel Andujar, ultimately spending most of the season in AAA Scranton. To date, Drury owns a .267 career average, with 32 home runs in 1,013 at-bats across parts of four seasons. Besides a respectable bat, Drury brings versatility to any club, with the ability to play multiple infield and outfield positions. With his free agency scheduled for 2022, Drury could become a mainstay in the Blue Jays’s lineup for many years.The @Yankees traded for Toronto Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ on Thursday, but don't appear to be finished just yet.Click To Tweet
McKinney, acquired in the 2016 Aroldis Chapman deal, was stuck in Scranton behind a talented outfield. Once a coveted prospect, his status has cooled recently, both due to age and injuries. Still, McKinney can provide similar versatility as Drury, with the ability to play both corner outfield spots and first base. Not expected to anything more than an average player, McKinney’s best tool is his newfound power, slugging 13 home runs in just 211 AAA at-bats in 2018. Still, the recent surge has not been enough to grade the tool as anything more than average, which is where the rest of his tools also find themselves. McKinney appears ready to hold his own as a fourth outfielder in the big leagues, and with time may see some significant playing time as Toronto heads toward a rebuild.
Late Thursday night, it was announced that the Chicago Cubs have reached an agreement with the Texas Rangers to acquire left-hander Cole Hamels, a perceived target of general manager Brian Cashman. Despite appearing to miss out on a target, it is hard to believe that Cashman, the genius behind a legendary 2016 trade deadline, is done wheeling and dealing.
The Yankees’s seemingly endless farm system gives Cashman numerous negotiating tools, and may be able to land another starting pitcher without having to part with top prospects Justus Sheffield or Estevan Florial. Madison Bumgarner is one interesting target, as the San Francisco Giants ponder whether to commit to a full rebuild or not. Bumgarner would likely require an impressive haul, but his postseason stardom is well worth almost any cost. Should the Giants decide to hold on to Bumgarner, it is still not clear who Cashman would target.
Two years after pulling off one of the most impressive trade deadlines ever, does Cashman have another trick up his sleeve? All that hangs in the balance is the Yankees’s World Series hopes.