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Yankees trade Carlos Beltran: The fire sale is complete

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The Yankees traded Carlos Beltran and continued the farm system overhaul. Here are some initial thoughts.

San Francisco Giants v New York Yankees
Bye, Carlos.
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The trade machine keeps on rolling. With a little over an hour to go before the non-waiver trading deadline, the Yankees agreed to trade Carlos Beltran to the Texas Rangers in exchange for pitching prospects Dillon Tate, Erik Swanson, and Nick Green. This is the third major trade that the Yankees have made in the last week. Tanya reported the story here, but let’s hash out some initial reactions.

Do the Yankees have an elite farm system?

Remember when there was supposedly little interest in Beltran? That was fun. In about 24 hours, Beltran turned into Tate, last year’s fourth overall pick in the draft. I know that Tate is having a down year and he might be pitching through injuries, but this is the kind of talent that the Yankees never get their hands on. They haven’t seen a top five draft pick since 1991. They’ve now added two in as many days.

After the Andrew Miller trade, I wondered if the Yankees had a top five farm system. I think that the Tate addition seals the deal. Jim Callis made the case for it being the best system in all of baseball yesterday. That was before the Beltran trade. Now the Yankees have added even more talent. They have it all. There are top prospects at all of the levels. Impact players are knocking down the door in Triple-A, young talent is infused into the lower levels, and the 2014 international spending spree signees have made it stateside. I don’t know if that makes for the best system in all of baseball, but you could reasonably make that case.

It took me a moment to make sense of that last paragraph. I just wrote that the Yankees have an elite farm system. What a time to be alive. I wanted the 2016 Yankees to be awesome. I thought that they could have taken a rather unspectacular American League East. When it became clear that the Yankees were not contending, however, I’m glad that Brian Cashman went to work. Having a dynamic farm system is a nice consolation to an otherwise miserable season.

What comes next?

Speaking of miserable seasons, oh boy, this offense is going to be dreadful. The Yankees traded away their best hitter. The lineup is now anchored by Didi Gregorius and Chase Headley. Not a knock on those two, they’re having great seasons, but it’s going to be painful watching this team try to string together runs. The offense is critically anemic.

Joel Sherman is reporting that Ben Gamel will join the squad. He figures to split time in right field along with Aaron Hicks. Perhaps the Yankees will call up Aaron Judge when he returns from his knee injury. Maybe Brian McCann slides into the DH spot and Gary Sanchez gets to catch. Or Alex Rodriguez reclaims his DH role and begins to play everyday. There are a lot of question marks for the remainder of the 2016 Yankees.

I’m conflicted over Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. I understand that both are sunk costs and that the youth movement would benefit from their release. I would hate to see both of their Yankees tenure end so unceremoniously. They were both integral pieces for the 2009 World Series championship team. I also thought they were both easy to root for.

I’m betwixt and between on whether or not I want the Yankees to release them. They’re regarded as A+ clubhouse guys and the young players could benefit from being around them. Having A-Rod and Teixeira mitigates the loss of Beltran’s veteran presence. There are no easy answers to this roster dilemma. We’ll have to wait and see how it unfolds.

I’m going to miss Beltran

In the span of approximately 31 hours, the Yankees traded away two of my favorite players. I’m a huge fan of Beltran. I wanted him to play in pinstripes as much as he did. I remember vividly the night he agreed to terms with the Yankees. I was crushed after losing out on Robinson Cano; Beltran coming to New York made that night less miserable. For that I’ll be forever grateful.

Oh, and let’s not forget that he was a total stud for the Yankees. He had a rough 2014, but from May 1st, 2015 on, he was as good as anyone could expect. When thinking about Beltran’s signature moments, two came to mind. First, there was the walk-off against the Orioles and Zach Britton on June 20th, 2014. It was the first walk-off win of the season, and Beltran’s first big Yankee home run.

And the other is the pinch-hit, three-run home run against the Blue Jays last August 14th. I consider that the biggest hit of the 2015 season. It was a mammoth shot in one of the most important games of the year. Take a look:

Goodness. That was incredible. I think that’s what I’m going to miss most about Beltran. He was as cool as can be under pressure. There really was no one else I’d rather have at the plate in a big spot than Beltran.

It has been a wild week in the Yankees universe. The front office has conducted a fire sale for the first time since 1989. The world has turned upside-down, but more importantly, there appears to be a plan. I’m going to miss a lot of these guys that were traded, but I’m happy to know that the team has direction. The future looks brighter than it did last week.

Good luck in Texas, Carlos. I’m sorry that you couldn’t get that ring in New York.