The trade deadline is just over a week away, but the New York Yankees didn’t wait until then to shock the baseball world.
The Yankees traded Tyler Clippard and minor league prospects Blake Rutherford, Tito Polo, and Ian Clarkin to the White Sox to land Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle. It was a huge deal for the Yankees that will bolster their lineup and bullpen, and hopefully, allow them to end a slump that might cost them a playoff spot. Here are the stats that show how these new players will impact the team:
Todd Frazier: .207 AVG, 16 HR, 44 RBI
Tommy Kahnle: 2.50 ERA, 7 holds, 60 K
David Robertson: 2.70 ERA, 13 SV, 47 K
While Frazier’s production is not on par with his previous seasons, Kahnle and Robertson’s stats are what stand out. They are two of the top relievers in baseball and will add to what is already one of the best pens in the league. The Yankees now have the combination of Chad Green, Adam Warren, Robertson, Kahnle, Dellin Betances, and Aroldis Chapman in their bullpen, and that will shorten games for opponents. Starters only have to go five or six innings before they can turn it over to the loaded bullpen and let them take care of the rest. It’s a stark departure from some of the struggles relievers have recently seen, and it has the potential to be even better than when they had Betances, Andrew Miller, and Chapman last year. Don’t be surprised if this bullpen keeps opponents up at night.
An added bonus is that the Yankees probably won’t miss any of the players that they gave up. Clippard gave up multiple leads last month, and it’s safe to say that not many fans are sad to see him go. Blake Rutherford, on the other hand, is a different story. MLB.com ranks him 30th among all prospects, and that alone could cause fans to balk at giving him up. However, he would have had a tough time finding a role in the logjam that is the Yankees’ outfield. Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, and Clint Frazier all have legitimate claims to starting in the outfield in the future, and Rutherford simply wouldn’t fit. Thus it makes sense to trade him, as he doesn’t factor into the team’s future plans.
Another interesting thing about this trade is that it heralds not one, but two homecomings. Frazier grew up in New Jersey and was a part of the Toms River team that won the 1998 Little League World Series. He even took the field at Yankee Stadium with Derek Jeter, one of his childhood heroes.
Robertson has a more personal relationship with the Yankees though, as he returns to the Bronx after a two-year absence. He started as a set-up man to Mariano Rivera, before becoming the Yankees’ closer after Mo retired. He was a part of the 2009 championship team, and with the young core that the Yankees are building, he could be part of another.
With all this considered, it’s pretty safe to say that the Yankees won the trade. With a new power bat and two new bullpen arms, they are ready to break out of their slump and make a big push at the postseason and beyond. Sure they still have issues, but this trade sent a message to the league that they will not go down that easily.