The Yankees' offseason seemingly got off to a slower start than last year's, but Brian Cashman finally put a trade together last night. Several weeks ago, rumors had circulated about the possibility of sending Starlin Castro to the Yankees, and Brett Gardner to the Cubs, but nothing came of that. Castro will be a Yankee after all though, after the Yankees agreed to send over Adam Warren along with Brendan Ryan as the player to be named later. Warren has been a reliable pitcher for the Yankees over the past few years, as he's been asked to work in a long relief role, and to bounce in and out of the rotation. He's always said that he prefers to be in the rotation, so maybe he can find that opportunity in Chicago. As for Ryan, it's no real loss. He was a decent defensive backup, but he spent half of the past two seasons on the disabled list for fluke injuries. We'll always have that time he gave himself a celebratory fist bump, though. Here's how Twitter reacted to the trade:
Yankees said they were more likely to make trades than sign FAs. They've made deals for Castro and Hicks. Last year, it was Eovaldi and Didi— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) December 9, 2015
Castro will make $7M in 2016. Warren will earn about $1.5M thru arbitration. So Yankees snagged a 2B while only adding $5.5M for next season— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) December 9, 2015
It was just a few days ago that Cashman said that the Yankees were more likely to make a trade or do nothing at all then they were to sign a free agent, and they seem to be sticking with that plan. Especially since they passed on the idea of signing Ben Zobrist.
Cashman said Yankees "thought about" Zobrist, but his age/contract length worked against stated goals to get younger and not spend on FA.— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) December 9, 2015
The Cubs traded Castro specifically so that they could sign Zobrist. The Mets were also trying to sign Zobrist and they got the short end of the stick.
No two ways about it. #Yankees helped undermine #Mets efforts to get Zobrist. Not sole reason, but definitely assisted.— David Lennon (@DPLennon) December 9, 2015
Sorry 'bout it, Mets.
Castro has rep as durable good guy. Will bring batting average in best of time, but not plate patience. #Yankees #Cubs— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 9, 2015
Sounds similar to last year's trade for Didi Gregorius. Like Gregorius, Castro is young (just 25), so the Yankees presumably think they can work on his discipline at the plate. He's been up and down throughout his career, but he had a much better second half in 2015 after he moved from shortstop to second base.
So what does this trade mean for the Rob Refsnyder/Dustin Ackley platoon that could have been?
Refsnyder and ackley are back to being bench players for yanks. Castro will be the 2B— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 9, 2015
Yankees tried to acquire Starlin Castro back in July, weren't able to. Cashman said today's trade likely means Rob Refsnyder to AAA.— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) December 9, 2015
For whatever reason, the Yankees just don't want to give Refsnyder a shot. It sounds like Cashman attempted to trade for Castro back at the trade deadline, while they Yankees were actively playing Stephen Drew every single day. Refsnyder was called up and made his debut just before the All-Star game, then played in a handful of games before being sent back down to Triple-A. That means the Yankees failed to trade for Castro, then decided that the best option was to continue to play Drew instead of Refsnyder, and Drew was terrible. Drew was the starter until the roster expanded in September, which coincided with Drew's concussion. Ackley and Refsnyder did a fine job during the last few weeks of the season, but a platoon situation would not have been ideal. Now Ackley can take on a utility role since Ryan is gone too. Refsnyder will presumably start the season in Scranton unless Cashman can package him into another deal.
@pinstripealley Would have liked it for Nova more, but it's OK.— Long Time Listener (@ltl27) December 9, 2015
Maybe Cashman can sneak Nova in as the player to be named later in another deal!
#Yankees plan right now is to get SP for Gardner and/or Miller, or keep and have them try to help NYY win in 2016— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 9, 2015
A package of Brett Gardner and Andrew Miller should be able to net a solid starting pitcher. Now we just have to wait and see what Ninja Cashman will do next.