The 2016 Trade Deadline was weird for the New York Yankees. For a while, no one was sure if they would be buyers or sellers. Even after the Aroldis Chapman trade, they still weren’t sure. However, after getting swept by the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend, they knew they had to become sellers, and boy did they ever.
The Aroldis Chapman trade did multiple things. First, it started the insane relief market that we saw. Teams had to pay through the nose for relievers. We saw this with the Yankees deals, but also with the San Francisco Giants giving prospects Phil Bickford and Andrew Susac for Will Smith and the Rangers giving Lewis Brinson and Luis Ortiz in a deal that included Jeremy Jeffress. Secondly, it started what you could call a new era in Yankees baseball.
General Manager Brian Cashman did a wonderful job at the deadline. He was able to move his two relievers and his old outfielder/DH for a ton of young talent. The Chapman trade kicked it off for them. They traded the electric reliever for shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres, who was the best prospect in the Cubs system. Before the trade, Torres was slashing .275/.359/.433. Torres is a 19-year-old shortstop in Single-A ball, so he is still a ways away. Scouts say that he has a quick swing, and could hit 20 homers per year if he hits his ceiling. Torres can also run a little bit, stealing 19 bags so far this season. Some people were wondering why the Yankees are stockpiling shortstops with Didi Gregorious already in the majors and Jorge Mateo, also in Single-A ball.
Torres doesn’t have the best range, and could move to third, and Mateo could slide over to second if needed. The Yankees also received Billy McKinney in the deal, a 21-year-old outfielder in Double-A ball who slashed just .252/.355/.322 before the trade. Obviously, that isn’t the kind of power you’d like to see from a young outfielder. McKinney will probably be a fourth outfielder type of player, with the Yankees already having top outfield prospects in Clint Frazier, Aaron Judge, and Blake Rutherford, as well as an outfielder they will likely sign in what will be an insane 2018 offseason.
The next trade the Yankees made was a blockbuster. They sent Andrew Miller, who has a 1.58 ERA, 2.06 FIP, and a 15.2 K/9 (!!!!), and who might be the best reliever in baseball to the Cleveland Indians for a package of prospects. The main piece was 21-year-old outfielder, Clint Frazier. Frazier came into the season ranked as the 2nd best prospect in the Indians organization, and now finds himself as the 6th best outfield prospect. He’s slashed .273/.350/.461 this year, and has very good bat speed and power, some of the best in the minor leagues, scouts say. Frazier can also play a good centerfield in the majors, if he needs to. The only sad thing is, he has to cut his glorious ginger locks, but he doesn’t seem too upset about it.
The other big piece to go over was left-handed pitcher Justus Shefflied. Shefflied’s fastball ranges from mid-to-low 90s with sink, and he has a curveball that has swing-and-miss potential. The prospect has also been developing a changeup. In 95.1 innings at High-A this year, he has struck out 93 (K/9 of 8.8), and walked 40 (BB/9 of 3.8). He’s compiled a 3.59 ERA and a 1.374 WHIP in those 95.1 innings, as well. Sheffield projects to be a good, middle of the rotation Scott Kazmir type at the major league level.
Maybe the most impressive trade the Yankees made was the one with the Rangers. They dealt 39-year-old Carlos Beltran, who has shown no signs of slowing down, and is slashing .304/.344/.546 with a 135 OPS+ to Texas for pitching prospect Dillon Tate. What made this trade so great for the Yankees was the acquisition of Dillon Tate. Tate was the number-four overall pick in last year’s draft. He can touch high 90s with his fastball and has a plus slider with a developing changeup.
This year, though, his fastball velocity in down in the low 90s. In 65 innings at Low A Hickory this year, he put up a 5.12 ERA and only 55 strikeouts. Some think that his jump in innings is was caused his struggles, but with his velocity and swing and miss stuff down, the Yankees saw it as a perfect time to buy low on Tate. If he can get back on track, Tate can be a number-two starter in the Yankees rotation for years to come.
All in all, this was a very good trade deadline for the Bronx Bombers. For the first time in a long time, they’ve gotten young. With Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, and Alex Rodriguez all leaving the team within the next year or two, the Yankees finally have the chance to give their young guys a chance. They will be able to have that young core of Frazier, Bird, Judge, Torres, and all of the others, and they can be very good for a very long time. With all of these guys still young and in the minors, they may not all be ready until about 2018. That also happens to be the year where the biggest and best free agent class maybe ever will be. So by 2019, look for the Yankees to bring back their dynasty.