Back in November, Yankees' GM Brian Cashman kicked off the Yankees' offseason trades by sending Francisco Cervelli to the Pirates for Justin Wilson. Cashman spent months working to improve the team and fill the roster spots left by the departures of Derek Jeter, David Robertson, and Hiroki Kuroda, among others. When all was said and done, the Yankees made four significant trades during the offseason, along with some lesser deals. Now that the season is almost over, it's safe to say that the majority of the trades that the Yankees made have been a success so far.
Francisco Cervelli for Justin Wilson
After years of experiencing injury after injury, the Yankees finally decided to give up on backup catcher Francisco Cervelli. With Brian McCann signed through 2018 with an option year, there was no point in keeping Cervelli around. Surprisingly, he's managed to stay healthy this season as the Pirates starting catcher, and has put together a great season, batting .300/.378/.404. This one may be the trade that worked out the best for both teams, among all of the offseason trades, as Justin Wilson has been equally good for the Yankees. The lefty reliever quickly gained Joe Girardi's trust and at this point is the third best reliever in the Yankees' bullpen, behind Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances. Wilson's second half has been even better than his first half, as his K/9 has risen from 8.73 to 11.57, and his BB/9 has decreased from 3.82 to 1.93. Through 56.1 innings of work, Wilson has an ERA of 3.04, 2.52 FIP and has only given up two home runs. Perhaps the best part about Wilson is that he won't even hit free agency until 2019.
Shane Greene for Didi Gregorius in the three-way trade
When the Yankees' rotation was decimated by injuries last season, Shane Greene surprised everyone with how well he performed. It looked like Greene would be part of the Yankees' rotation in 2015, too, but they ended up shipping him to the Tigers in a three-team trade that brought Didi Gregorius to the Yankees from the Diamondbacks. The Yankees needed pitchers, but they had a huge hole to fill at shortstop and the free agent market was underwhelming. Right off the bat, naysayers considered the Tigers the winners of this trade as Greene pitched really well in his first three starts (only allowed one run through 23 IP), while Gregorius struggled at the plate early in the season. Gregorius had a terrible April, batting .206/.261/.238, but steadily improved month after month as the season went on. He's been fantastic in the second half, hitting a solid .301/.342/.425. Meanwhile, Greene's performance fell off a cliff and he was eventually demoted from the rotation to the bullpen before he suffered an unfortunate hand injury and was forced to have season-ending surgery in August.
Manny Banuelos for David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve
After losing David Robertson to free agency, and trading away David Phelps and Shawn Kelley, the Yankees decided to trade Manny Banuelos to add some arms to the bullpen. David Carpenter had two good seasons with the Braves, but struggled immensely during his short time with the Yankees. Through 18.2 IP, he had a 4.82 ERA and 5.34 FIP before being traded to the Nationals in June. Carpenter only got six innings of work in Washington before being placed on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, and recently moved to the 60-day DL. The Braves also got unlucky with Banuelos, who pitched to a 2.49 ERA before going on the disabled list with a bone spur in his elbow. He rejoined the team in early September, but gave up nine earned runs total in back-to-back starts and hasn't pitched in the majors since. There's no question that Shreve has been the best part of this trade so far, at least based on his performance in the first half of the season when he had a 2.02 ERA and opponents were only batting .177 against him. Notably, Shreve didn't give up a single run (!) through 10.2 innings of work in the month of June. He has fallen off a cliff in the second half of the season, though. He is getting more strikeouts (11.05 K/9), but his BB/9 has climbed from 3.28 to 7.77, he has a 1.82 WHIP and 3.68 ERA over the last 22 innings. Regardless of how he pitches moving forward, we'll always have his brilliant first half to remember.
David Phelps and Martin Prado for Domingo German, Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Jones
For a few months, it looked like Martin Prado would be the Yankees starting second baseman until they packaged him in a deal to the Marlins. There have been times throughout the season when Prado could have been useful as a utilityman, but he hasn't had his best season, batting .287/.335/.396 with 9 home runs. The Yankees picked up Garrett Jones in the trade to fill the role of backup right fielder and first baseman, but he hit just .215/.257/.361 in limited playing time and the Yankees eventually released him, brought him back, then released him for good in August. As for the pitchers, Phelps put together a decent season in the Marlins' rotation with 6.19 K/9, 2.65 BB/9, 0.88 HR/9 and a 4.50 ERA. His season was cut short due to a stress fracture in the radius bone of his right forearm. Similarly to Gregorius, Eovaldi struggled early in the season, but improved as the season went on. In the second half, he lowered his ERA from 4.50 to 3.67 and raised his K/9 from 6.52 to 7.99. Unfortunately, he went on the disabled list in early September with right elbow inflammation and has yet to be cleared to play catch. The other pitcher in the trade, Domingo German, had to have Tommy John surgery before the season even started.
The Yankees also made other trades during the offseason that haven't had as large of an impact. They traded Shawn Kelley to the Padres for Johnny Barbato, and Kelley has actually had a decent season, pitching to a 2.66 ERA with 11.03 K/9. Barbato worked his way up in the Yankees' system from Double-A to Triple-A and had a 0.36 ERA through 25 innings in Scranton. Gonzalez German was a Yankee for a very short time as the Yankees purchased him from the Mets, but the Rangers purchased him from the Yankees before the season started. The Yankees also purchased Chris Martin from the Rockies and he pitched to a 5.63 ERA in 16 innings before he was placed on the disabled list. He had a three-game stint with the team in May where he gave up five runs in three combined outings before he was demoted until the rosters expanded in September. The team also acquired Gregorio Petit before the season started, and aside from the month of April, he spent most of the season down in Triple-A.
All things considered, the Yankees' offseason trades have worked out really well this season. In each of the big trades, the Yankees seem to have gained more than they've lost. Hopefully Cashman can work that magic again during the upcoming offseason.