In the offseason, the Yankees traded 24-year-old left-handed starting prospect Manny Banuelos for relievers David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve. After the former top prospect underwent Tommy John surgery, it was clear that the organization had lost faith in him and decided to ship him off to the Atlanta Braves for some controllable bullpen pieces. For Banuelos the Yankees were able to get a combined nine years of team control between Carpenter and Shreve, and given their 2014 performances, many believed the trade was a steal for the Yankees. Unfortunately, things haven't worked out as planned.
David Carpenter, after generating 1.8 WAR, a 142 ERA+, and a 2.63 ERA between 2013 and 2014, has been absolutely terrible in 2015. So far the right-hander has pitched to a 4.91 ERA and 5.33 FIP in 18.1 innings and has been worth -0.2 WAR. At this point, the Yankees must be considering releasing him even despite the two more years he has of arbitration, which the Yankees have shown to value in the past. Whether they release him now or somehow keep him for the rest of the season, it looks like the Yankees won't be re-signing him in the offseason and will instead let him become a free agent.
The other piece from the trade has actually turned into a valuable piece for the bullpen. In years past the Yankees were good at finding incredible value from their relievers–Chris Martin, Shawn Kelley, the multitude of internal options–without spending any money, and while Carpenter has been a bust, Chasen Shreve has been exactly what they were hoping for. The 24-year-old debuted in 2014 and so far this season he has maintained a 2.49 ERA and 3.14 FIP and has proven to be one of the more valuable relievers out of the bullpen, which isn't very hard. Given his youth, he has another two more years before he's even arbitration eligible, so it's looking like he's going to be a Yankee for the foreseeable future.
As good as Shreve has been, that's about how bad Carpenter is and they essentially cancel each other out. To make matters worse, trading David Phelps, Shane Greene, and ManBan in the same offseason has decimated New York's pitching depth, leaving them with a rotation that includes Adam Warren and Chris Capuano, with only Bryan Mitchell and possibly Luis Severino waiting in the wings. The Yankees thought Banuelos had peaked after undergoing Tommy John surgery, but the lefty has surprised everyone with a 2.39 ERA and 3.58 FIP with a 7.86 K/9 and 3.93 BB/9 in 52.2 innings at Triple-A. Now it feels like the Yankees gave up on him too soon and didn't get enough in return.
In the end, you could ask which did the Yankees need more, relief depth or starting depth? The answer is fairly easy to come to as the Yankees have the likes of Nick Rumbelow, Tyler Webb, and Jacob Lindgren to turn to in the minors, while aggressively promoting Luis Severino may be their only hope of producing any kind of meaningful starting depth. Chasen Shreve may be the real deal and could end up as an important piece for the already-strong back of the bullpen, but the inclusion of Carpenter and loss of another potential starter may make this trade a wash in terms of overall value before we even reach the All-Star Break.
If Banuelos ever makes it to the majors and excels, the trade would become a huge loss for the Yankees. Luckily, we still have plenty of time to wait and see what happens and the Yankees have Shreve in the bullpen to at least serve as a consolation prize after years of hoping on Manny Banuelos. It's just strange to see Brian Cashman's revamped bullpen not working out as well as we all would have hoped.