Once the Manny Machado sweepstakes concluded, weeks before the actual 2018 MLB trade deadline, it seemed as though trade season might taper off a bit. Sure, there were a couple of interesting names available, but the overall market felt tepid, with a lack of controllable options on the table.
Instead, this trade season was frenzied, with consistent action nearly almost every day. The Yankees were in thick of it at almost all points. Brian Cashman apparently gave up sleep for the past week, and the Yankees emerged having completed several deals of varied magnitude. Let’s look back on the trade season that was:
Yankees acquire Zach Britton from the Orioles
The Yankees started off their shopping by bringing in an elite reliever. The team had spent most of July caught up in the rumors surrounding Machado, as well as linked to various starters. Their first deal, though, was for a former closer.
Given the Yankees already had an elite bullpen, Britton’s acquisition may have appeared curious. Still, this was a similar tact to the one the Yankees took last season, when they bolstered their deep bullpen even further by adding Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson. Again, Cashman saw limited starting pitching options, and decided to double down on a strength.
The Orioles received pitchers Dillon Tate, Josh Rogers, and Cody Carroll in return. All are prospects of some regard, and the package overall looks solid for Baltimore. Both teams got what they came for with this deal.
Yankees acquire J.A. Happ from the Blue Jays
Just days after the Britton trade, the Yankees struck again for another veteran rental, this time in the form of Happ. With teams like the Mets unwilling to trade their controllable starting pitchers, the Yankees were left to pursue the best upcoming free agent starter available.
The consensus is that Happ didn’t come cheap. The Yankees sent Brandon Drury, who won’t become a free agent until 2022, and outfield prospect Billy McKinney to the Blue Jays. That does appear to be a lot to pay for a few months of a mid-rotation starter, but the Yankees were a bit over a barrel. If Cashman’s options were to slightly overpay in the form of Drury, or go forward with Luis Cessa in the rotation, I think he made the right choice.
Yankees trade Chasen Shreve and Giovanny Gallegos to the Cardinals
After a couple of pretty major moves, the Yankees happened upon a more minor trade with St. Louis. With the addition of Britton, the Yankees had little room for Shreve, so they shipped him and Gallegos to the Cardinals in exchange for first baseman Luke Voit and $1 million in international bonus money.
Shreve, who has a career 115 ERA+, and Gallegos, with a 2.19 ERA at Triple-A, both probably deserve to be low-leverage arms on a major-league roster somewhere, but there just wasn’t room on the Yankees. This deal both continued to clear 40-man roster space for the Yankees, and gave them more money to throw around on the international market, which has already come in handy with the signing of Osiel Rodriguez.
Yankees trade Caleb Frare to the White Sox
This was another minor deal, one that was parallel to the Shreve/Gallegos trade. Frare wasn’t on the Yankees’ 40-man roster, but would have needed to be placed on it this winter in order to be protected in the Rule 5 Draft. As a 24-year-old lefty reliever with a 0.77 ERA across 46.2 innings at Double-A and Triple-A this year, there was a chance Frare would not have survived the Rule 5.
In exchange, Chicago sent back for $1.5 million in international bonus money. Notice a trend? There’s more where that came from.
Yankees trade Adam Warren to the Mariners
Monday night was a bit of a wild night, with the Yankees making some seemingly strange moves. It started with Warren being shipped off to a fellow AL playoff contender. Warren has been very solid since coming back to New York, posting a 181 ERA+ in 87.1 innings since the start of 2017, but he was sent to Seattle in exchange for $1.25 million in international bonus money.
Warren’s departure looked strange at first, but as the night wore on and the Yankees continued to maneuver, Cashman’s strategy started to come more into focus.
Yankees trade Tyler Austin for Lance Lynn
After trading away Warren, Cashman acquired his replacement from the Twins in the form of Lynn. Lynn has had a bad year in Minnesota, posting a 5.10 ERA in 20 starts this year after signing a one-year deal as a free agent. At first glance, this piece of business looks odd. Dig deeper, though, and there’s reason for optimism regarding Lynn.
Lynn has played much better as the season has progressed, perhaps due to the fact that he signed deep into spring training and needed time to shake off rust. Most likely, Cashman sees Lynn as just as effective as Warren but with more ability to fill in in the rotation. Both are impending free agents, and Cashman brought in even more international money in the exchange, and only had to sacrifice Austin. Austin probably deserves a role as a bench bat, but he would have been out of minor league options next year, and his place on the team would have been unclear.
After that whirlwind of activity, the Yankees were actually quiet on deadline day itself. They were linked to the likes of Andrew McCutchen and Cameron Maybin for outfield help but opted to stand pat, having already done plenty of work well in advance of the deadline. While the ending was anticlimactic, the Yankees still gave us plenty to think about this trade season. How do you feel about their trade deadline overall? Let us know in the comments.