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The fallout from the Yankees’ Carlos Beltran trade

What does the Carlos Beltran trade mean for the Yankees?

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees continued their foray into the wilderness of selling today, sending Carlos Beltran to the Texas Rangers. Right-handed pitcher Dillon Tate, the number four overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, headlines the package coming back to New York. The Yankees also picked up pitching prospects Erik Swanson and Nick Green in return for Beltran. The Yankees will cover half of Beltran’s salary for the rest of the season, which totals about $5 million.

The on-field ramifications for New York are wide-ranging. In Beltran, the Yankees lose by far their best hitter. Beltran’s slash line of .304/.344/.546 was good for a 134 wRC+, easily the best on the team. However, with New York in sell-mode, and with their playoff odds dwindling fast, the loss of Beltran’s skills down the stretch doesn’t sting.

Instead, the Yankees probably will be able to use the rest of the season to see what they have. Aaron Hicks, he of the disastrous season, should have the chance to prove that he isn’t a lost cause. Should they refrain from releasing Alex Rodriguez, A-Rod might get a few more at-bats at DH to continue his tepid chase for 700 home runs.

Perhaps most excitingly, the trade helps clear the way for a potential late season call-up of some of the Yankees’ top prospects. Aaron Judge is recovering from a knee injury, but was hitting .328/.463/.630 over his past 33 games at Triple-A prior to injury, and should be major-league ready soon. Newly acquired outfielder Clint Frazier isn’t likely to receive a call-up, given his paltry experience at the Triple-A level, but such a call-up wouldn’t be impossible should he impress.

For now, the Yankees have called up Ben Gamel from Triple-A to take Beltran’s roster spot. Gamel might not be anything more than a fourth outfielder, but he did just post a .361 OBP at Triple-A, albeit with limited power. He was ranked as the Yankees’ #24 prospect by MLB Pipepline.

However, the major-league, on-field consequences seem to pale in comparison to the fallout elsewhere. First, this deal, plus the trade of Ivan Nova, wraps up the first time general manager Brian Cashman has been allowed to sell at the trade deadline. Many observers have pined for the opportunity to watch Cashman operate as a seller, and he did not disappoint. At this point, it looks like Cashman extracted huge value from the Yankees’ main trade chips of Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, and Beltran.

Cashman’s first attempt at selling may have set the Yankees up with the best farm system in baseball. Prior to the season, the Yankees’ farm looked solid, with some depth as well as a couple elite prospects like Judge and Jorge Mateo. Having added, a bounty of top prospects that includes Tate, Frazier, Gleyber Torres, and Justus Sheffield has vaulted the Yankees’ farm into the upper-echelon, along with teams like the Dodgers and Braves.

It is a little sad to see Beltran move on, as he was a consummate professional and a strong hitter for the Yankees. However, with the team so unlikely to make the playoffs, it is great to see Beltran have another chance to play on the biggest stage, this time with Texas. The Rangers have a six-game lead in the AL West, and should allow Beltran to showcase his skills again in the postseason, where he has posted an incredible .332/.441/.674 line. Maybe Beltran, one of baseball’s greatest ever playoff performers, will finally get his first World Series championship, something he wasn’t getting with New York.

For the Yankees, Cashman at last convinced Hal Steinbrenner to sell, and the results have been wonderful. This trade, plus the trades of the Yankees’ elite relievers, will make the rest of the season a little more difficult to bear. But the future is, unquestionably, eminently brighter now.