Don't look now, they're at it again.
On December 8, 2009, the Yankees, Tigers and Diamondbacks agreed to a three-team swap that sent Curtis Granderson to the Yankees, Max Scherzer to the Tigers and Ian Kennedy to the Diamondbacks. Almost five years to the day, the three teams agreed to another trade.
The Bronx Bombers are sending Shane Greene to the Tigers. Greene was very good for the Yankees down the stretch, coming up with little fanfare to help stabilize a rotation reeling from injuries. Do the Tigers view Greene as a potential Max Scherzer consolation prize? The market for the top starting pitchers is still taking shape. With David Price and Justin Verlander to headline the Tiger's rotation in 2015, they would still be favorites to win the AL Central, but they need to start putting contingency plans in place.
Didi Gregorius is still young (24 in 2014) but this will be his third team in only four big league seasons. He had a 1.0 WAR season in 2013, and he was replacement-level over 80 games in 2014, though Baseball-Reference measurements like him more than FanGraphs. Of course, he's a replacement-level player who can play shortstop, which is something the Yankees have been obviously lacking. I'd say they've traded from a position of strength (unexciting, but solid backend starters) to fill a position of need.
With David Phelps, Adam Warren, Chase Whitley, Bryan Mitchell, and perhaps Manny Banuelos all on hand for 2015, Greene was obviously expendable. Detroit will send lefty Robbie Ray and two other players to Arizona to complete the deal.
This is a very good move for the Yankees. In the best case scenario, Gregorius gives them a competent major league shortstop to trot out for 150 games next season who is under team control for the next several years. For a team trying to get younger, cheaper, and more defensively capable, Gregorius is a great pick-up.
The thing that excites me most is the chance to see how his left-handed swing plays in Yankee Stadium. Sure, he only hit .226/.290/.363 last season, but look at that name and ask yourself the only question that matters for a Yankee fan: What is John Sterling going to say when Didi Gregorius hits a home run?
In the worst case scenario, the Yankees just traded a 4th or 5th starter for a backup shortstop. Yes, they've already got one well-paid backup shortstop in Brendan Ryan, but Gregorius has also played second base and third base at the big league level. I can envision scenarios with Ryan at short, Gregorius at second and Prado at third. For sinkerballers like Brandon McCarthy, that's a pretty fine infield.
I remember the value Luis Sojo and Enrique Wilson gave the Yankees throughout their last great run. Neither were stars, but they were solid workmen, they were gritty, and they played wherever they were needed. I suspect the Yankees landed a guy like that. A team needs a few players like that around if it's going to make it through the long season. The important thing is that the team didn't give up any of it's biggest chips, so if a better offer comes along, Cashman can pounce on that, too.