The rumors are over. The deal is done. The Yankees have sold on a major player for the first time in over two decades. Aroldis Chapman is no longer a Yankee and is headed to Chicago in a four-for-one deal with the Cubs, who appear more determined than ever to finally break their 108-year World Series drought. Theo Epstein and company acquired their ace reliever for the playoff run, but at quite the price tag—much to Brian Cashman’s delight.
Jon Heyman reported the trade as Chapman for Gleyber Torres, Adam Warren, Billy McKinney, and Rashad Crawford. Torres was the leading name floating around on Sunday night, and for good reason. He was ranked by numerous prospect evaluators as the top name in the Cubs’ system, a 19-year-old shortstop who is already hitting better than league average in High-A Myrtle Beach. Despite having Didi Gregorius, Jorge Mateo, and other infield prospects in the organization, it’s sound strategy to scoop up as much pure talent as possible; worry about positioning later. Torres is a superb player to have in the system, whether he reports to Trenton or Tampa.
It’s fascinating that Warren is returning to the organization after an unsuccessful sojourn with the Cubs in half a season. The homegrown pitcher was dealt to the Cubs in the off-season trade for Starlin Castro alongside the instantly-DFA’d Brendan Ryan, and now he will return to New York. Warren is admittedly a bit of a project right now since he was recently demoted, but given the Yankees’ middle relief struggles, it would not be a shock at all to see him traveling to Houston to join the bullpen (perhaps he could start later on, too). Warren was a valuable asset as a swingman just last year and perhaps the familiarity of the Yankees’ coaches will help him recapture that form.
Adding McKinney to the trade was a pleasant surprise. MLB.com had the lefty outfielder ranked fifth in the Cubs’ organization, so that makes another plus for the farm system. McKinney was a first round pick by the A’s in 2013 and traded with Addison Russell in the Jeff Samardzija deal a year later. Double-A has not been the easiest for him this year, as he is hitting .252/.355/.322 with a 101 wRC+ in 88 games, but he was a top 100 prospect prior to the season, is recovering from a hairline fracture, and he is only 21. To get him as a throw-in is certainly a plus.
Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago later reported the fourth player in the deal, which is lefty-swinging Rashad Crawford. The 22-year-old was an 11th round pick in 2012 and had worked his up alongside Torres to Myrtle Beach. He is not considered a top prospect, but he is hitting .255/.327/.386 with a 99 wRC+ in 83 games there, mostly as a center fielder. That is not a bad pickup at all. J.J. Cooper of Baseball America agreed:
Crawford is a perfect 4th player in the deal, lottery ticket CF with tools--+ defender, + speed. Question is the bat https://t.co/zotUMs5LRz— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) July 25, 2016
Here’s another fun little update. This is the full transaction tree of the Yankees’ Aroldis Chapman trade saga, courtesy of David Kaleida, who did similar work on an excellent Grantland post last year.
So Chapman is gone, Andrew Miller returns to the closer’s role (provided that he is not traded too), Warren is back in the bullpen, and some nice prospects have given the farm system a surge. We will have more on this trade soon, but what do you think of it right now?