Many will say it was a trade that should have been done weeks earlier than it was, but Andrew McCutchen has already shown his value to the Yankees in his first few weeks on the job. Since putting on the pinstripes, McCutchen holds an .879 OPS, while almost drawing as many walks (13) as he has recorded strikeouts (15). His ability to get on base in the leadoff spot and work quality at-bats has been huge for the Yanks, especially given the recent offensive struggles for Aaron Hicks.
Sure, the Yankees needed him long before he arrived, as Shane Robinson continued to be an everyday outfielder in Aaron Judge’s absence, but we have no idea what the asking price for McCutchen was earlier in the month, before the Giants likely felt pressed to get a deal done and get something for him. Cashman made the move just before the waiver deadline, and it has so far proven to be another victory for Cashman, even after the return of Judge. Especially considering the recent slump of Brett Gardner.
McCutchen gives us another chance to look back on the trade deadline as a whole, and appreciate the job Cashman has done. Sure, the Yanks aren’t in the spot they expected to be in before the season began, but Cashman can’t control injuries on the field, which have surfaced just about everywhere on the diamond this year. In response to those injuries, Cashman made a number of moves to still give the team a shot to win it all in 2018, and just about all of those moves have proven to be productive additions to the team.
Starting on the mound, J.A. Happ tossed another brilliant gem on Tuesday night against the Red Sox, allowing one run over six innings in a Yankee victory. The lefty has a 2.39 ERA in nine starts since joining the Yanks, and has even entered the narrow discussion regarding who should start the Wild Card Game. Lance Lynn hasn’t been as productive, but he has provided a steady arm in the fifth spot of the rotation to make up for an awful Sonny Gray. He’s allowed three earned runs in his last 11 innings of work, and has a 4.47 ERA as a Yankee. Again, not brilliant, but number five starters aren’t expected to be.
Zach Britton made everyone gnaw off their fingernails on Tuesday night, but he eventually secured the Yankee win and earned the save. He had a bumpy start to his pinstriped tenure, but posted a 1.29 ERA in his last 13 appearances. He continues to improve while shaking the rust off after his Achilles injury. Britton gives the Yanks another reliable bullpen arm to make up for the mysterious plummet of Tommy Kahnle, and the uncertain condition of Aroldis Chapman when he returns from injury.
Again, looking at the team’s performance since the trades were made, it’s easy to dismiss the actual trades themselves. The Yankees would likely be in a far worse spot than they are now had the deals not been done, though. Cashman has consistently proven to be one of the best general managers in baseball, and he showed why again this season.