The Yankees general manager has certainly been the victim of many complaints from fans (including my quite vocal self) for past signings, including Alex Rodriguez’s atrocious 10-year contract worth $275 million.
However, this season Brian Cashman has impressed even me for his moves at the end of this year’s trade deadline. Cashman made several moves that built a top three farm system for the Yankees. Also, and maybe more importantly, he didn’t give away anyone under contract after the 2017 season, except for reliever Andrew Miller.
The Yankees, currently sitting at 4.5 games out of the American League Wild Card race, really did not have the offensive potential to make a realistic run at the playoffs. With only one player batting over .300 –– Carlos Beltran, whom they since traded –– and A-Rod batting .135 in July, it wasn’t looking good for the Bronx Bombers.
The trades started on July 31 when the Yankees traded away star closer Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs in exchange for former Yankee RHP Adam Warren, as well as prospects SS Gleyber Torres, RF Billy McKinney, and OF Rashad Crawford.
As the deadline approached, the trades really heated up. The Yankees dealt the all-star Miller, and in return received CF Clint Frazier, RHP Ben Heller, RHP J.P. Feyereisen and LHP Justus Sheffield. Cashman also traded RHP Ivan Nova to the Pirates with the receiving players to be named later. The final trade of the non-waiver deadline was Beltran, another all-star, to the Rangers for RHPs Dillon Tate, Nick Green, and Erik Swanson.
With the recently announced retirement of Mark Teixiera, and the release of Rodriguez, it seems the Yankees I knew and loved while growing up are all gone. The only players still on roster from the 2009 World Series team will be C.C. Sabathia and Brett Gardner after Teixeira and Rodriguez leave. Even so, the Yankees’ future looks bright with huge prospect pickups in Frazier, Sheffield and Torres.
When talking about Frazier, it is impossible not to mention his incredible 80 grade bat speed. Frazier could easily be a great CF, but is capable of playing either corner OF spot as well. With an overall scouting grade of 55, scouts give Frazier the ceiling of an All-Star. Some have gone so far to say he is the poor man’s Mike Trout.
Last year, the prospect finished the season leading the Carolina League (Class A) in hits and doubles and ranking second in home runs and runs scored. Additionally, he had the third most RBIs (72) and the third highest OPS (.842). Look for Frazier to be donning the pinstripes in the Bronx soon.
Sheffield is another solid pickup from the Miller trade. The left-handed pitcher has an overall scout grade of 50 and is projected to be a league-average starter. Sheffield’s main pitch is his fastball currently sitting at low-to-mid 90s velocity that continues to increase. Adding a slider to his repertoire this season, Sheffield shows he is coachable and is willing to adapt and learn. The advanced Class A starter has struggled some with finding the strike zone. He’s walked 40 batters over 90 innings. Still, he is just 20-years-old with plenty of time to grow.
According to ESPN’s Keith Law, Gleyber Torres is the 15th best prospect in the minor leagues right now. With an overall grade of 45 and a batting average of .270, the SS looks to compete for a Yankees infield spot with fellow high A prospect Jorge Mateo. The Yankees may try to convert Torres to 3B and Mateo to 2B, hoping someday to boast an infield of Mateo, current SS Didi Gregorius and Torres come 2019.
With the addition of adding veteran pitcher Adam Warren and last year’s 4th overall pick pitcher Dillon Tate, as well as the possibility of a resigning of Aroldis Chapman at the end of the season, the Yankees could quickly regain a form of “No Runs DMC” with reliever Dellin Betances. The Yankees clearly have their sights set on the future, and with Bryce Harper and Manny Machado hitting the free agent market in 2018, look for Cashman to make a hard push for them in hopes of creating another dynasty.