The trade for Todd Frazier, Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson was met with high praise back in July, as the trio was brought to the Bronx in exchange for highly touted outfield prospect Blake Rutherford, minor leaguers Tito Polo and Ian Clarkin, and the most devastating loss of all in reliever Tyler Clippard.
In all seriousness, being rid of the Clippard issue felt like a win in itself, even before considering the talent that was being brought back. The trade felt like a win back in July. After the way all three performed in October, the trade should still be considered a win, regardless of how it ended.
Much like he did in October of 2009, Robertson was a huge bullpen asset for the Yankees during their postseason run. He came into one of the most crucial moments of the playoffs and promptly forced Francisco Lindor to bounce into an inning-ending double play to help the Yankees maintain their one-run lead. He also took on a heavier workload in the Wild Card game to bail out an ineffective Luis Severino, going almost four innings of relief while the Yankees built a lead. He has helped save the Yankees’ season on multiple occasions this October.
Sticking with the bullpen, Tommy Kahnle was been absolutely dominant when the calendar flipped to October, up until fatigue seemed to set in during game seven. After preserving Masahiro Tanaka’s shutout in Game Five of the ALCS, Kanhle was up to 10 shutout innings in the postseason, while going multiple innings in four of his six playoff appearances up to that point. With Dellin Betances struggling to find his way, Kahnle stepped in beautifully and was one of the Yankees’ unsung heroes during their magical run.
Then there’s Frazier. It may never look pretty, but he came up with some big hits for the Bombers, particularly in the ALCS. His single in Game Four started the Yankees’ improbable eighth inning rally, just one night after drilling a three-run home run in Game Three to show the New York crowd that the Yankee offense was back, at least for three games. Plenty has been made of his infectious energy in the dugout, but it’s important not to forget his contributions in the batter’s box. Sure, he’s made a few blunders at third base and doesn’t have the best glove, but he came through in some big moments, even without making contact. After all, his walk off Cody Allen in Game Five of the ALDS set up the unforgettable at-bat by Brett Gardner in the ninth.
Almost everybody was a fan of this trade back in July, and for good reason. With Robertson signed through next year, and both Frazier and Kahnle a potential candidate to return for next season, it looks even better. But nothing supports this trade more than how all three performed when the lights shined the brightest.
It may not have been the optimal ending, but Yankees fans were treated to several magical moments, with these three in the middle of a number of them. They also were brought over for one star prospect who was blocked off by a crowded outfield for the foreseeable future. It was the right move, and one of many by Brian Cashman.