Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has gained a bit of reputation for wheeling and dealing throughout his long tenure. His “Ninja Cash” nickname appeared especially appropriate when a handful of his under-the-radar acquisitions — notably Luke Voit and Gio Urshela — blossomed into productive big leaguers after donning the pinstripes.
Cashman was particularly active in the trade market this season, with over three dozen players exchanging teams. We’ve written plenty about the performances of the players acquired by the Yankees this season, so today I thought we’d take a look at how the players going in the other direction fared.
January 24th: Yankees trade Miguel Yajure, Roansy Contreras, Canaan Smith-Njigba, and Maikol Escotto to the Pirates for Jameson Taillon
The Yankees opted for a patchwork approach to assembling the starting pitching rotation behind Gerrit Cole, and Jameson Taillon was one such piece. His performance after missing almost two years was an encouraging foundation to build upon in his final year of team control next season.
With this trade, the Pirates stocked their farm system with a quartet of promising players. Miguel Yajure and Roansy Contreras were the two headliners of the deal. Yajure made 11 starts between Single- and Triple-A with a 3.40 ERA, 45 strikeouts, and 14 walks across 47.2 innings, though did struggle in his brief major league call-up, pitching to a 8.40 ERA in four appearances (three starts) totaling 15 innings.
Contreras on the other hand had a breakout campaign. He made 13 starts between Double- and Triple-A, with a 2.64 ERA, 82 strikeouts, and 13 walks across 58 innings. He made his major league debut September 29th, striking out four in three scoreless innings.
With their strong minor league performances, Contreras and Yajure boosted their stocks, with FanGraphs ranking them third and fifth respectively in the Bucs’ system and 49th and 69th overall. Similarly, FanGraphs has Maikol Escotto and Canaan Smith-Njigba ranked 15th and 19th respectively in the Pirates’ organization.
January 25th: Yankees trade Adam Ottavino and Frank German to the Red Sox for cash considerations
If you needed any confirmation that the overriding goal of the season was to remain below the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) threshold, look no further than the trade sending Adam Ottavino to the Red Sox. The Yankees even had to attach pitching prospect Frank German to get the Red Sox to pay for the majority of Ottavino’s $9 million salary.
After a strong start to the season, Ottavino faltered in the second half, bringing his season numbers to 7-3 with 4.21 ERA, 3.96 FIP, and 71 strikeouts in 69 outings across 62 innings. Manager Alex Cora has seemingly tried to avoid using him in the playoffs, as he’s appeared just once in five games. Frank German appeared in 24 outings (18 starts) in Double-A, going 3-9 with a 5.12 ERA, 4.80 FIP, and 72 strikeouts in 84.1 innings, and is currently the 28th-ranked prospect in the Boston system.
April 6th: Yankees trade Josh Stowers and Antonio Cabello to the Rangers for Rougned Odor
Keeping with the money-saving objective, the Yankees acquired Rougned Odor from the Rangers and didn’t have to pay any of his salary. Outfielder Josh Stowers played 89 games in Double-A, slashing .220/.311/.466 with 20 home runs, 57 RBIs, and 21 stolen bases. Outfielder Antonio Cabello hit .156/.218/.262 in Low-A, and is the Rangers’ 56th-ranked prospect.
April 11th: Yankees trade Thairo Estrada to the Giants for cash considerations
Thairo Estrada looked like he could be a productive utilityman for the Yankees, but they ended up trading him to San Francisco. In 52 games for the Giants, he batted .273/.333/.479 with seven home runs, 22 RBIs, and a 119 wRC+. On most other teams, that would’ve been good enough to at least be a bench piece, but on the 107-win Giants, he was optioned by season’s end.
April 27th: Yankees trade Mike Tauchman to the Giants for Wandy Peralta
Mike Tauchman also seemed like a valuable depth piece for the Yankees to bring off the bench, but the Yankees flipped him for Wandy Peralta. As Estevão noted the other day, he struggled mightily with the Giants, slashing .181/.284/.283 with four home runs, 15 RBIs, and a 63 wRC+ in 75 games before being designated for assignment on July 29th.
June 17th: Yankees trade Mike Ford to the Rays for Aldenis Sanchez
Mike Ford actually found some success after being traded to the Rays, batting .243/.346/.529 with 11 home runs, 31 RBIs, and a 131 wRC+ in 40 games at Triple-A, but he was ultimately designated for assignment on August 21st. He was claimed off waivers by the Nationals and batted a further .202/.284/.337 with three home runs, 12 RBIs, and a 66 wRC+ in 29 games at Triple-A.
July 26th: Yankees trade Hoy Park and Diego Castillo to the Pirates for Clay Holmes
Clay Holmes was one of the masterful additions to the Yankees bullpen, instantly becoming one of the most trusted high-leverage arms. Infielder Hoy Park played 44 games for the Pirates, hitting .197/.299/.339 with three home runs, 14 RBIs, and a 75 wRC+, and is currently their 36th-ranked prospect. Infielder Diego Castillo played in 28 games in Double-A and 18 games in Triple-A, where he managed a 146 wRC+. He is currently the Pirates’ 22nd-ranked prospect.
July 28th: Yankees trade Luis Cessa and Justin Wilson to the Reds for cash considerations and Jason Parker
In another salary dump, the Yankees sent Luis Cessa and Justin Wilson to the Reds. Cessa was in the midst of a career-year for the Yankees, and had to be included for the Reds to eat the struggling Justin Wilson’s salary. Cessa made 24 relief appearances for Cincinnati, pitching to a 2.05 ERA, 3.13 FIP, with 23 strikeouts in 26.1 innings. Wilson managed a nice bounce-back campaign after floundering in the Yankees ‘pen, appearing in 21 games for the Reds, with a 2.81 ERA, 3.54 FIP, and 14 strikeouts in 16 innings.
July 29th: Yankees trade Glenn Otto, Trevor Hauver, Josh H. Smith, and Ezequiel Duran to the Rangers for Joey Gallo and Joely Rodríguez
The Yankees’ first trade deadline business saw them acquire Joey Gallo and Joely Rodríguez from the Rangers for a foursome of well-regarded prospects. Glenn Otto was the centerpiece of this deal, and though his 9.26 ERA in six starts wouldn’t suggest so, his 3.17 FIP is indicative of his ability to pitch at the major league level. He is currently the Rangers’ 34th-ranked prospect and projects to be a solid rotation member in the near-future.
As for the other three prospects traded, Ezequiel Duran, Josh H. Smith, and Trevor Hauver were all tearing it up in the minors before being sent to the Rangers. The trio all cooled off a bit after making the move and getting promoted. Second baseman Duran slashed .229/.287/.408 at High-A and is the Rangers’ third-ranked prospect and 111th overall in baseball. Shortstop Smith finished the season with a 139 wRC+ at Double-A and is their eighth-ranked prospect. Infielder Hauver batted .246/.357/.426 with six home runs, 21 RBIs, and a 114 wRC+ at High-A and is their 28th-ranked prospect.
July 29th: Yankees trade Kevin Alcantara and Alexander Vizcaíno to the Cubs for Anthony Rizzo
Later that day, the Yankees were involved in another blockbuster that brought Anthony Rizzo to the Bronx. As with the earlier trade, they had to overpay with prospects to get the Cubs to cover Rizzo’s remaining salary. Outfielder Kevin Alcantara proved why he was such a highly-regarded prospect with the Yankees despite his young age. He hit .337/.415/.609 with a 159 wRC+ in Rookie ball, and is currently the Cubs’ second-ranked prospect and 109th overall. Alexander Vizcaíno flashed wipeout stuff but struggled with command at High-A, pitching to a 5.27 ERA and 4.14 FIP, with 19 strikeouts and nine walks in 13.2 innings, and is their 12th-ranked prospect.
July 30th: Yankees trade Janson Junk and Elvis Peguero to the Angels for Andrew Heaney
The Yankees’ final piece of business came minutes before the trade deadline window slammed shut. They acquired Andrew Heaney for a pair of pitching prospects. Janson Junk was the real get for the Angels, and he looks like a decent long-term option for their rotation, pitching to a 3.86 ERA and 6.29 FIP in four starts across 16.1 innings. Elvis Peguero could use a little more seasoning, as he gave up seven runs in 2.1 innings across three major league relief appearances.