It wasn’t the blockbuster trade of the day that the Cubs getting Jose Quintana was, but the Yankees have made their first move of trade season. Left-handed reliever Tyler Webb was sent to the Milwaukee Brewers for Triple-A first baseman Garrett Cooper.
A first baseman as insurance in case Greg Bird isn’t able to make it back this season was high on Cashman’s to-do list before the deadline. While names like Lucas Duda and Yonder Alonso were known commodities that might be available on expiring contracts, Cashman may have found his in the form of a guy OPS’ing 1.080 in Triple-A.
At almost 27 years old, Cooper is not likely to be in the Yankees’ plans for the future. He’s having a good season at Triple-A this year, batting .366/.428/.652 in 75 games. Those numbers, however, are highly inflated. Cooper plays in the notoriously hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League with his home ballpark aided by altitude in Colorado Springs. He has batted .442/.503/.829 in his home park this season. Yeah.
Cooper’s numbers are likely to come back down to Earth once he’s out of thin air. Seeing as he only cost the Yankees’ an okay lefty reliever makes it worth the chance, though. It demonstrates Cashman’s continued faith in Bird as the first baseman of the Yankees’ future that he isn’t willing to give up much of anything as a replacement.
The good news on Bird is that he was able to take batting practice this week with the Staten Island Yankees, and may be able to start a rehab assignment soon. Considering exploratory surgery was on the table not too long ago, hopefully this ends up being an encouraging sign.
Cashman could still get a bigger name first baseman before the July 31st deadline if the news on Bird worsens. This certainly doesn’t rule out that possibility. The Yankees traded a piece they really didn’t need for something that could potentially be an upgrade over what they have. Hard to argue with that.