The 2021 MLB Trade Deadline has come and gone, and it was as exciting as ever. Many big-time players have found new homes and were casted into the middle of playoff races — well, not every big name (sorry, Trevor Story). The Yankees entered deadline day having scored just 415 runs through 101 games, which was the second-lowest total in the American League. The offense needed a boost, especially left-handed bats, and Brian Cashman acquired just that.
On Thursday afternoon, the Yankee officially announced that they traded for outfielder Joey Gallo from the Texas Rangers. The team wasn’t done there, though. Later that same night, New York swung a trade for first baseman Anthony Rizzo from the Chicago Cubs. In the matter of hours, Cashman was able to obtain two impact lefty power bats and get them in the pinstripes.
Obviously Gallo and Rizzo were the big fish that the Bombers reeled in, but they also made some smaller moves. They traded for relief pitcher Clay Holmes from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Hoy Park and Diego Castillo, dealt Justin Wilson and Luis Cessa to the Cincinnati Reds for a PTBNL, and acquired Andrew Heaney from the Angels right before the deadline. Let’s take a closer look at each trade.
Yankees acquire Joey Gallo from the Rangers
The biggest move the Yankees made was bringing life-long Yankees fan Joey Gallo to the Bronx. His 3.4 fWAR is the 10th-highest in the American League and it’s paired with an excellent 140 wRC+. Gallo is known for his power and ability to get on base, as he leads all major leaguers in walks. He’s not going to hit for average, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing being that the game of baseball has shifted away from that approach. Gallo doesn’t just bring a much needed bat to the lineup, he’s also a superb defender in the outfield. He leads all MLB outfielders in defensive runs saved with 14 and is in the 95th percentile for outs above average. To top it off, Gallo is under team control for the rest of this season and the next, which provides the Yankees with a great player for cheap in 2022 as well. The Rangers are also paying for Gallo’s contract for the rest of this season. Along with Gallo, lefty reliever Joely Rodriguez will join the Yankees bullpen.
The Yanks shippeda bundle of prospects to Texas. Right-handed pitcher Glenn Otto and infielders Ezequiel Duran, Trevor Hauver and Josh Smith headline the deal for the Rangers. Four minor leaguers is a lot, but it was worth it for a player of Gallo’s caliber. As Josh Diemert noted, Ezequiel Duran and Josh Smith are top-10 prospects by Baseball America’s standards, but while they’re good, they’re expendable for a guy like Gallo.
Yankees acquire Anthony Rizzo from the Cubs
The second big move the Yankees made was grabbing Rizzo from Chicago in exchange for minor league right-handed pitcher Alexander Vizcaíno and outfielder Kevin Alcántara. There were no prior rumors of the Yankees’ interest in the first basemen until the trade was announced, so it came as a surprise to many. Rizzo, like Gallo, not only brings a lefty power bat to the short porch in the Bronx, but he also has an elite glove at first. He has seven outs above average and since 2017, Rizzo leads all MLB first basemen in DRS, OAA, and “scoops.” That will especially help Gleyber Torres being that he has nine errors this year, seven of which were throwing errors.
Rizzo welcomed himself in a booming fashion to Yankees fans as he mashed a massive home run in his debut on Friday night.
Alexander Vizcaino and Kevin Alcantara are now Cubs. Alcantara, who just turned 19-years-old, is 6-foot-6 and 188 pounds with some raw abilities. Vizcaino is 24 and only has 31.1 career innings above Low-A. The Cubs will look to speed up his development over the next few seasons.
Yankees acquire Andrew Heaney from the Angels
Minutes before the 4 p.m. deadline hit on Friday, the Yankees and Angels reached a deal that sent lefty starter Andrew Heaney across the country to New York. Heaney hasn’t had a very good season, but does have a high fastball and curveball spin rate and gets batters to chase often. However, he gets hit hard a lot and owns a 5.27 ERA over 18 starts this year. He has a three pitch arsenal, throwing a fastball, curveball, and changeup. His curveball has been effective this year with opponents hitting just .179 against it this year. It will be interesting to see if Matt Blake can help Heaney improve.
Yankees acquire Clay Holmes from the Pirates
Holmes is a relief pitcher that could eat innings for the Yanks. He pitches to contact, hence his MLB-leading 72.4 groundball rate (min. 40 IP). He mainly throws a sinker, but also has a slider and curveball in his arsenal. He is wild at times and can lose the strike zone as his walk rate is in the 11th percentile. On the flip side, he’s towards the league leaders in barrel percentage, expected slugging, and expected wOBACON. He throws a hard fastball that the Yankees can work with. He most likely won’t be pitching in high-leverage situations, but he can be a nice piece to potentially fill the void that was left by Luis Cessa.