The Yankees 2017 and 2018 trade deadlines had some very similar moves made. This leads to the question, are they relying too hard on the same philosophy?
The New York Yankees are always connected to top free agents and top trade candidates. And with good reason, Yankee General Manager Brian Cashman has done a phenomenal job stacking the Yankees Farm System. The Yankees farm system is loaded with premium quality talent and a wealth of it. And that gives the Yankees the ability to outbid and acquire anyone they choose.
However, their deals over the past two seasons draw some serious comparisons.
Todd Frazier = Giancarlo Stanton
Ok, so Giancarlo Stanton has acquired this past offseason, so I’m stretching the timeline a tad bit on this one but follow me here. In 2017, the Yankees acquired third baseman Todd Frazier from the Chicago White Sox in what was a surprise move.
In the offseason prior to the 2018 season, the Yankees acquired Giancarlo in a surprise move. Both Frazier and Stanton came to the Yankees with players already occupying the position they played. For Frazier, Chase Headley was playing third. And for Stanton, Aaron Judge manned right field.
Obviously, there are differences Headley was moved to first and became a platoon player. But Stanton has been the man moving around the field and spending most of his time at DH. With Judge being sidelined after a HBP, Stanton will start in right a lot more often.
David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle = Zach Britton
When David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle were brought over in the same deal as Frazier they helped to solidify an already strong Yankees bullpen.
This season Britton does the same thing. The Yankees already had the best bullpen in baseball. And this move only makes them even better. Being able to shorten games in the playoffs has been the key over the last few seasons. And the addition of Zach Britton gives the Yankees the chance to take what was a potential six inning postseason start and make it four.
Jaime Garcia = Lance Lynn
Jaime was a stop gap and an insurance policy when he was acquired from the Minnesota Twins last season. Garcia provided the Yankees depth if needed. But more importantly, he provided Yankees GM Brian Cashman leverage when Cash called other clubs about other starters.
And in an almost identical move to Garcia, the acquisition of Lance Lynn is meant to serve the same purpose. Lynn will give the Yankees a potential fifth starter or long man out of the bullpen with Sonny Gray struggling. But ultimately, he is here so that Brian Cashman can continue checking the market for potential deals and not overpay on the waiver trade deadline.
Sonny Gray = J.A. Happ
So that leaves us with the 2017 deadline deal that brought back Sonny Gray to the New York Yankees. This season’s iteration of that deal was the acquisition of J.A. Happ. Much like Gray in 2017, Happ’s acquisition came at a count to the organization. And while I do think that the price the Yankees paid for J.A. Happ was a little high.
It was by no means an overpay. Both Brandon Drury and Billy McKinney are very good players. But they both would have faced a potential offseason trade due to the growing need to protect younger players on the forty man roster.
I believe that Drury could have been leveraged for a higher caliber pitcher. However, with this trade, Brian Cashman traded away two players without a position on the 25 man roster. And also did not trade any prospects for a player that just a week earlier was said to cost a couple top prospects.
Not Done Yet
Although the non-wavier trading deadline has come and gone there is still potential to add to this team via trade. With the waiver trading deadline not until August 31, players can still be traded for. Albeit they must pass through waivers in order to be traded. But let’s not forget that one year ago the Houston Astros would trade for Justin Verlander during this time period and won the World Series as a result of his acquisition.
The Yankees possess the resources to make a deal happen without going over the luxury tax threshold.