Whether you like it or not, the Yankees are rebuilding. Andrew Miller, Aroldis Chapman, and now Carlos Beltran are on the move, and for a splendid return. The trade for Beltran, which occurred this afternoon, is yet another move that will position the Yankees for the future. It’s a bit more high-risk, but let’s be clear with what we’re dealing with here: the Yankees traded an impending free agent they didn’t need anymore. We’re already playing with house money.
The featured player in this deal is Dillon Tate, the fourth-overall pick from last year’s draft. The quality of this trade, honestly, depends on your opinion of Tate. There are some who feel he can be a future top-of-the-rotation arm with refinement, while others feel he doesn’t even have the durability to become a reliever. If there’s anything everyone agrees on, it’s that Tate is really unpolished for a college draftee.
The most recent report on Tate comes from Baseball Prospectus last month, courtesy of David Lee. He describes a pitcher with three possibly quality pitches, but a delivery that needs refinement and some serious command issues.
Here’s how I feel about this. Tate has been pretty dreadful this season (5.12 ERA in 65 innings), and he is incredibly high-risk; but, the stuff is there. If he had performed well and all checked out, then he sure as heck isn’t included in a deal for a two-month rental. The only way he falls into this deal is by being high-risk and by having those question marks, so it’s merely a matter of the Yankees scouting department taking a risk.
This doesn’t even take into account that two other players, Erik Swanson and Nick Green, are also in the deal. Swanson is a right-hander and eighth-round pick from 2014, and Green is a right-hander and seventh-round pick from 2014. The former has massive fastball velocity and minimal secondary stuff, and the latter is pretty much a throw-in guy. There are some who even think that, at present, Swanson is the better prospect than Tate.
We are now past the deadline, and the Yankees have done a really successful job at rebuilding on the fly. They took assets that have minimal value in the short-term—Andrew Miller (more debatable), Aroldis Chapman, Carlos Beltran, and Ivan Nova—and flipped them for a swath of young talent that should pay dividends in the long-term. I’m not as much of a fan of this deal as I was of the Chapman and Miller deals (this is also because the market for relievers is off-the-charts this year), but this will suffice for a rental, and a rental that didn’t have bites until very recently.
If you told me at the beginning of the season that the Yankees were out of it at the deadline, I would have been horrified. I would have assumed that almost everything went wrong, and the team was probably going in the wrong direction. That’s not entirely accurate. If you told me, though, that the Yankees have the best farm system in baseball at the deadline, I would have assumed that the whole team was traded.
They didn’t trade the whole team. The only player of value they traded was Miller, and he’s still a reliever. These players were gone anyway, and the Yankees maximized their leverage to the umpteenth degree. Brian Cashman now has almost every rostered player he did a few days ago, and swapped impending free agents for great value. This also means that prospects will be abound come September, so say hello to Aaron Judge, folks.
Money is coming off the books, free agents will be down the road, and the Yankees have the best farm system in baseball. They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, but the Yankees farm system was built in a week. It’s the first time the Yankees are sellers at the deadline since 1989, but it could end up being one of their best trade deadlines ever.