Brian Cashman, with the blessing of the Steinbrenners, has wisely sold out on 2016. Two-thirds of the “No Runs DMC” bullpen has been dealt away (Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman), as well as leading slugger Carlos Beltran, while the Yankees toil in fourth place in the AL East. But unlike the Reds, Brewers, and other sellers at this year’s deadline, the immediate future remains bright for the Bombers.
Chapman and Beltran, both of whom will be free agents this winter, could potentially return to New York in the offseason. Chapman even hinted at a possible reunion in a farewell Instagram post, saying “#newyorkyankees bye for now.”
Whether or not Chapman and Beltran return, the Yankees’ “rebuild” promises to be far from conventional, as evidenced by the deal for relief pitcher Tyler Clippard that the Yankees made on deadline day with Arizona. Clippard commands a gaudy $5.6 million salary next year but the Bombers were willing to take it on; not a customary move for a rebuilding team.
And with Mark Teixeira’s contract coming off the books and a $5 million buyout option on the final year of CC Sabathia’s deal, the Yankees will have plenty of money freed up to pursue some of the top free agents on the market this offseason. Power bats like Edwin Encarnacion, Mark Trumbo and Pedro Alvarez will all be able to test the waters and may view New York as an enticing destination, while Andrew Cashner and Doug Fister could be brought in to fortify the starting rotation.
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Even if the Yankees don’t make a big splash in the free agent pool, the prospects they brought in from the flurry of deals made in recent days will strengthen their roster both in the immediate future and for years to come.
Outfielder Clint Frazier, acquired from Cleveland in the Miller trade, was the fifth overall pick in the 2013 draft and has been described by scouts as a “30-plus home run guy.” Frazier has made the move from Double-A to Triple-A this year, and could be part of big league club sooner rather than later. The Yankees also got pitcher Justus Sheffield, tabbed as the 69th-best prospect in the game by Baseball America, in that deal.
Gleyber Torres, a 19-year-old shortstop from Venezuela, was brought in from Chicago for Chapman and he is regarded as a top-30 prospect across the league. Despite his youth, Torres has hit well in all forms of A-ball (.283 average).
Greg Bird, the Yankees would-be first baseman this season that suffered a shoulder injury, will also be in the mix in 2017. Bird impressed by hitting .261 and smacking 11 longballs in 157 at-bats in 2015.
The Yankees may have been sellers at this year’s deadline, but there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the team in the near future.