Rapid Reaction: Seven reasons why the Yankees/White Sox trade is a great deal for the New York Yankees

Last night, the New York Yankees pulled off a seven-player blockbuster where they officially dealt prospects Blake Rutherford, Ian Clarkin and Tito Polo as well as reliever Tyler Clippard to the Chicago White Sox for relievers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle as well as Todd Frazier. Yankees' general manager Brian Cashman noted that the Yankees would be buyers at the deadline, and he is sticking to his guns in what looks like another great deal for the New York Yankees. In honor of the seven-player deal, here are seven reasons why this is a great deal for the Yankees.
Photo Credit: Getty Images via New York Post
1. In making this deal with White Sox GM Rick Hahn, the Yankees have effectively kept Todd Frazier and David Robertson away from the first place Red Sox.
Right off the bat, you have to mention the fact that both the Yankees and the Red Sox were in on the players in this deal. At the top of the division, Boston has an even bigger hole at third base and no proven setupman. So, Cashman felt compelled to sweep in and steal Frazier and Robertson away from Beantown, while also scooping up Kahnle. And oh man, that feels really good.

And this is not the first time Cashman has won a bidding war with the Red Sox. Cashman most notably flexed his Evil Empire muscles over Beantown when he signed Alex Rodriguez at the last minute before the 2004 season. He also swept in an scooped up Mark Teixeira, who it seemed was minutes away from signing with Boston prior to the 2009 season. And most recently, the Yankees and Red Sox were in a bidding war for Yoan Moncada in 2015 (who went to Boston), who ironically is now the prize of the White Sox farm system. It just feels like the early 2000's where the Yankees and Red Sox are batting on and off the field to put themselves in a position to win the AL East, and it's going to be fun.

The Red Sox currently sit 3.5 games ahead of the Yankees in the AL East and 2.5 games ahead of the Rays in what is going to be a competitive division. The last thing Cashman wanted to do was sit back and watch the club’s bitter rival run away with the division while the Yankees continued to struggle. For that reason, Cashman not only upgraded the Yankees, but he also prevented Red Sox GM Dave Dombrowski from upgrading his club.
Photo via The Boston Globe

For this reason, this deal immediately propels the Yankees to the favorites in the AL East. Sure, the Red Sox have more star power in Chris Sale, David Price, Mookie Betts, and others, but they still have a lineup that lacks power, lacks any offensive production at third base, and lacks a true setup man in the eighth inning. The Yankees now have production at first and third base in Frazier, and they solidified their bullpen as superior to Boston’s.
2. The Yankees acquired three bonafide big league talents at the expense of one Major Leaguer, and three low-level and prospects without much of a track record in the minors.
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. Proven MLB talent is always more valuable than unproven prospects when the team is insistent on competing. The Yankees are insistent on competing in 2017, so they had no problem dealing prospects that may be a few years away from the big leagues.

For Rutherford, the 20-year-old outfielder is in Low-A Charleston, and he has an MLB ETA of 2019 at the very earliest. Even with that ETA, it would be unlikely that he would be ready to make an impact in the show until 2020. The Yankees are going for it in 2017 as well as 2018 and 2019.

As for Clarkin, the young lefty has seen his prospect status derailed by injuries. Despite this, he’s had a good showing in High-A this year in 14 starts with a 2.62 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and .254 BAA. Already 22, he projects as nothing more than a back-end starter at best, and he’s still at least a year away from being called up to the majors.

And with Polo, there’s no guarantee that he will even become a major league player. Sure, the 22-year-old has respectable numbers between High-A and Double-A, but he may not ever become anything more than a fourth outfielder who plays good defense and has good speed off the bench. In a crowded outfield, it was clear that Polo had no future with the team, so the Yankees will not be missing much here.

With Clippard, he needed a change of scenery, which will be discussed later in this piece.

As for the players the Yankees acquired, Cashman should be commended for going out and getting former All-Stars Robertson and Frazier as well as rising stud Tommy Kahnle at the price that he did. This trio will come prepared to make an immediate impact on the Yankees, and potentially in the few years to come.
3. The Yankees solved their bullpen conundrum with one trade reuniting with two former Yankees.
Both Kahnle and Robertson are having great seasons in the windy city, and they both came up through the Yankees’ system. Unfortunately, the Yankees lost Kahnle prior to the 2014 season when he was selected by the Rockies in the Rule 5 Draft, and they chose to let Robertson walk after the 2014 season to sign Andrew Miller. However, they’ve continued impressing in Chicago showing why they became two of the most coveted arms on the trade market.
Photo Credit: Jason Miller | Getty Images

For Robertson, it is his best season since joining the White Sox in 2015 as he has posted a 2.70 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, .176 BAA, and 47 strikeouts in 33.1 innings. He's also converted 13 of 14 save opportunities and is averaging 12.69 K/9 and 2.97 BB/9.

As for Kahnle, he’s becoming one of the filthiest relievers in baseball with his 2.50 ERA and 0.97 WHIP to go along with 60 strikeouts in 36 innings. He’s also held opposing batters to a .214 average off him and he has good control as he's only walking 1.75 batters per nine innings while posting an incredible K/9 of 15.00. His repertoire of a high-90’s to triple digits fastball and devestating changeup and wipeout slider will fit in nicely with the Yankees.
Photo Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki | USA TODAY Sports

Clearly, Robertson and Kahnle are both incredibly reliable arms who come with some team control. For Robertson, he is under contract through next year where he is owed $13 million, and Kahnle is controlled through 2020. The Yankees would like to get under a $197 million payroll to avoid luxury tax penalties, but for now, their focus is getting to the postseason, and adding two big arms and a solid hitter should help them accomplish that.

Now, Robertson and Kahnle will join a Yankee bullpen that includes Dellin Betances, Aroldis Chapman, Adam Warren, Chad Green, Chasen Shreve and others. When Betances and Chapman regain their form and find their command, that is going to be a very scary bullpen with a lot of hard throwers. 

And that quartet of of Kahnle, Robertson, Betances and Chapman is essentially the equivalent of the three-headed monster of Betances, Chapman, and Andrew Miller last year.
4. There is no reason to worry about Todd Frazier; he is an upgrade for the Yankees at either first or third base.
Let’s be honest, Frazier was destined to be a New York Yankee. From his days in Toms River New Jersey, to leading his team to the Little League World Series, to standing beside Derek Jeter on the field during the National Anthem when he was a kid, Frazier was born to wear pinstripes. Now, he gets his chance, and he is effectively auditioning for a new contract in New York.
Photo Credit: My9

The Yankees love Matt Holliday for his on and off the field contribution. But Frazier is also known for being a positive guy in the clubhouse. With Holliday’s inability to play the field, Frazier can play his way to a new short-term contract with the Bronx Bombers if he steps up in the second half this year.

Sure, his .207/.328/.432 line leaves a lot to be desired, but he has 16 homers, 15 doubles and 44 RBIs, which is about two-times better than Chase Headley and Chris Carter combined. Moreover, he has been victimized by bad luck this year with a .214 BABIP, and he is not a big strikeout guy for someone with good pop as he's only struck out in 21.1% of his at-bats.

All of these are encouraging for a guy who will play both of the corner infield positions.
5. The Yankees traded an outfield prospect in Blake Rutherford who may become overshadowed in a Yankee system that is loaded with outfielders.
Let’s face it, Blake Rutherford is a very promising prospect and there’s no disputing that. As the Yankees’ 2016 first round pick, Rutherford has played well in the minor league system. His lack of power is concerning with only two home runs in 71 games this year, but he has produced a respectable .281/.342/.391 slash line with 20 doubles and nine stolen bases.
Photo Credit: Martin Griff | Pinstriped Prospects

With that in mind, the Yankees also have another reality to face – their system, specifically in the outfield, is loaded for years to come. Currently, the Yankees have prospects Clint Frazier, Dustin Fowler (before his injury), and Tyler Austin who have produced greatly this season either in Triple-A or the Major Leagues, and look like they could compete for jobs down the road. Tyler Wade has also shown an ability to play left and center field as a super-utility type player.

The Yankees also have prospects Estevan Florial – who may be the fastest rising prospect in the Yankees’ system – and Jorge Mateo who may transition to center field due to his blazing speed.

Additionally, the Yankees also have the sure-fire Rookie of the Year and possible MVP Aaron Judge in the system, and they also have Aaron Hicks who has flashed his potential this year who are under team control for a significant amount of time. Granted, the team is stuck with Jacoby Ellsbury through the 2020 season unless they find a way to cut ties before their 2021 club option.

And this does not even include the plethora of free agent outfielders over the next two offseasons including J.D. Martinez, Andrew McCutchen, Bryce Harper, Charlie Blackmon, and others who the Yankees may be tied to during these next two winters.
Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez | USA TODAY Sports

The point is, Rutherford had become a commodity in the Yankees’ system rather than an untouchable, can’t miss prospect. Rutherford could go on to have a very successful career as a .280 hitter and 20-20 guy with the White Sox, but the Yankees can live with that if they manage to build a team that competes for World Series titles every year.

Some may argue that they should have dealt Rutherford for a controllable starter, like a Sonny Gray. While that is fair, you can’t blame Cashman for placing him in this deal as the headliner. The beauty of last year’s deadline is that the Yankees still have valuable assets to make a move for a starter if they feel there is a need there.
6. The Yankees parted ways with a struggling Tyler Clippard.
There’s not much to say here. The right-handed reliever seemed that he was in dire need of a change of scenery. Clippard enjoyed a very strong month of April and May, but he posted an ERA of 11.17 in June and things didn’t get much better in July where his ERA was 7.71. 
Photo Credit: Bill Kostroun

While Clippard seemed disappointed to find out he was on the move, he did accept the fact that the deal made sense. Clippard has a history of being a solid bullpen piece, and he will look to regain that form in Chicago.
7. Brian Cashman is sticking to his word and he is going for it, and there is no indication that he is stopping here.
Just before the All-Star break, Cashman told Michael Kay of YES Network that the Yankees would be careful buyers. With that, he seemed reluctant to part ways with top prospects unless he was blown away. And in this case, I’m sure he was blown away for the reasons listed above.
Photo Credit: John Munson

The Yankees still have a need to acquire a starting pitcher to assist the rotation in light of the Michael Pineda injury. If the club decides to heavily pursue the Sonny Gray sweepstakes, he has Jorge Mateo and other prospects at his disposal (without needing to deal Torres or Frazier). If they elect to target a cheaper option like a Dan Straily of the Marlins or Trevor Cahill of the Padres, they certainly have the depth in their system to make that happen.

The biggest conclusion you should draw from this article is that Brian Cashman has a plan, and he knows what he is doing. He’s made some really good trades, especially over the past few seasons, and this was yet another example of his brilliance. Like it or not, Cashman is cementing himself as the best general manager in baseball, and deals like this only strengthen that argument.

Article by: Chad Raines


  1. Does a deep pen help with an innings limit for Montgomery and/or Sevrino?

    1. Actually, yes. The more bullpen arms, the less stress on the starting pitching. With that said, I still think the Yankees need to go out and get a starter before the trade deadline.

    2. I equate the acquisition of Todd Frazier to the deal that brought Scott Brosius to the Yankees. This is a smart acquisition if the Yankees can entice Frazier to re-sign during the offseason because he can be a quality accent piece to any potential pennant contenders the Yanks have as the minor leaguers continue to mature and accent the current roster.

    3. He's gotta start hitting the ball but yes, he is playing for a contract. I think the Yankees ultimately resign either Matt Holliday or Todd Frazier, but not both.


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