As the trade deadline looms, the Yankees' not-quite-a-fire-sale continued, as the team sent RF/DH to the Texas Rangers in exchange for pitching prospect Dillon Tate, the #4 overall pick from the 2015 draft.
The news was first reported by Ken Rosenthal and has been confirmed from multiple other sources, although Joel Sherman cautions that Hal Steinbrenner has not officially signed off on the deal just yet.
Stay tuned for more updates as 4:00 approaches.
EDIT: Jeff Passan has reported that Dillon Tate is not the only Rangers' prospect on the move in this deal.
With the Yankees' decision finally to embrace #TeamSell with the trade of Andrew Miller today (make no mistake, the acquisition of Tyler Clippard was simply a gesture by Cashman to give the illusion of contention), it's time to start envisioning how this Yankees team will begin to look as the rebuild/reload progresses. Now that the Yankees have 6-7 top prospects depending on whose Top 100 list you read, for the first time in many years the Yankees actually have one of the deepest farm systems in baseball. While some of these players, such as Jorge Mateo and Gleyber Torres, are years away from making an impact on the big league club, numerous prospects both young and old are knocking on the door of the big leagues, eagerly awaiting a call to the Bronx.
Now, with the white flag prepared to be raised over the 2016 and an eye towards 2017 and beyond, it's time to get to know some of these future Yankees. (NOTE: these rankings are based on players who I expect to play for the Yankees at some point in 2017 and who have not exhausted prospect status; ergo, Greg Bird and Luis Severino are ineligible for this list, while Jorge Mateo and Gleyber Torres are left off, as they are not expected to make their debut until 2018)
10. Jacob Lindgren, RP (A)
The Yankees' top pick in 2014, the hard-throwing lefty reliever known as the "Strikeout Factory" struggled in his first go-round with the Yankees, before undergoing season-ending surgery. He has since returned to Single-A Tampa this season, as the team does not want him to rush back from injury, but make no mistake - with his running fastball and filthy slider, Lindgren is expected to be a major piece of the Yankees' bullpen sooner rather than later.
9. Tyler Austin, 1B (AAA Scranton)
Once upon a time, Tyler Austin was a top prospect in the Yankees' organization, a plus-bat with plenty of power potential limited only by his seeming inability to play the field. A series of injuries and general ineffectiveness cast that future into doubt, but in 2016, Austin's bat has reemerged with a vengeance. Although considered more a career minor leaguer than a prospect anymore, he has made a strong case for promotion to the Bronx, posting a 321/.422/.667 line with 13 HR at Scranton. Greg Bird may be the future at 1B, but Austin appears to be a capable backup, with the potential ultimately to be a starter for somebody someday. At the very least, the Yanks would be wise to cut bait with Teixeira and let Austin play some first, regardless of whether they want to try competing or not.
8. Miguel Andujar, 3B (AA Trenton)
A member of the Yankees 2011-2012 international free agent class, Andujar has become one of the organization's highest-touted 3B prospects. Although his limited power has disappeared at Trenton this summer, he is still just 21 years old, a full 3.5 years younger than the majority of his teammates, and has shown a remarkable ability to make adjustments at each level. While it is difficult to project stardom, Andujar would be a serviceable fill-in if Chase Headley were to get hurt within the next two seasons.
7. Blake Rutherford, OF (Rookie-Ball Pulaski)
The Yankees have a history of taking their time with their prospects, but Blake Rutherford might be the exception. The 2016 18th overall pick has been swiftly promoted to Pulaski High-Rookie Ball after a brief stop in the Gulf Coast League, and he has simply torn the cover off the ball, batting .448 in 16 games. To top it off, he's still just 19, and thus has plenty of room to grow. While I don't expect him to be the next Mike Trout, I am going to make the bold prediction that he will fly through the system and don pinstripes much sooner than his 2020 ETA.
6. Tyler Wade, SS/2B (AA Trenton)
Tyler Wade is not exactly a flashy prospect, but one could easily make the case that he is the most likely to make the Major Leagues on this list. First (and most importantly, IMO), he displays the maturity to recognize that he is not much of a power hitter, focusing instead on putting the ball in play. Second, although he racked up 35 errors last season, he has flashed with the leather, and profiles as a solid defender up the middle. While unlikely to be a starter in most lineups, he could serve as a valuable infield depth.
5. Chance Adams, RP/SP (AA Trenton)
A fifth round pick from the 2015 draft, Adams could follow a similar path to the Majors as former Yankee Chase Whitley. Although drafting him as a reliever, the Yankees have worked Adams as a starter, believing that his hard-throwing fastball (sits at 94-96 and topping out at 98) combined with a sharp slider and changeup should allow him to work effectively out of the rotation; they appear to be right, as he has flown through the system, posting an ERA under 3.00 every step of the way. As his stuff does play up well out of the 'pen, expect him to be used in a role similar to Adam Warren and Bryan Mitchell, pitching both in the rotation and out of the 'pen as needed.
4. James Kaprellian, SP (Disabled List)
At the start of the season, many felt that James Kaprellian, the 16th overall pick from the 2015 draft, would eventually receive the call to the Bronx at some point in 2016 before elbow injuries derailed these hopes. If Kaprellian rebounds well next spring, expect him to continue flying through the system, and he could make his debut as early as next August.
3. Gary Sanchez, C (AAA Scranton)
At the onset of spring training, many expected Gary Sanchez to be the favorite to win the backup catcher's job that ultimately went to Austin Romine. The former Yankees' #1 prospect, however, has not let that stand in his way, raking at a .287/.338/.477 line at Scranton. Even though the Yankees have Brian McCann still under contract for the next two years, expect Sanchez to have many ABs, perhaps with the two splitting time at C and DH.
2. Aaron Judge, RF (AAA Scranton)
At the age of 24, Aaron Judge is finally harnessing the raw power that made him a 1st round pick in the 2013 draft, belting 16 HR to date this season at Scranton. Since he had already demonstrated an approach at the plate advanced well beyond his years, it is easy to see why some scouts compare his ceiling to that of Giancarlo Stanton. Even if he falls short of that mark, he ought to serve as a pillar of the Yankees for years, and should expect a call-up at some point later this season. He is MLB-ready.
1. Clint Frazier, OF (AAA Scranton)
Recently promoted to AAA before being traded to the Yankees in exchange for Andrew Miller, the 5th-overall pick from the 2013 draft projects to be a star for the Yankees. One quote that is going around describes him as a future "All-Star, five-tool player." If that is not an exciting endorsement from a prospect, then nothing is.
Well, there you have it - my top 10 list of Yankees prospects who could make significant impacts on the team by the end of next season. Keep an eye out for more prospect news, as the trade deadline approaches and Brian Cashman continues to make moves.
We are living at the dawn of a new era in New York sports - Ben McAdoo has the reigns in the Meadowlands, the Knicks are (well, might be) making smart basketball decisions, and the Yankees are actually debating being sellers at the trade deadline. And actually, when we say debate, we mean that two factions in the front office, which we will call #TeamBuy (led by Hal Steinbrenner and Randy Levine) and #TeamSell (led by Brian Cashman), are fighting to control the destiny of the New York Yankees' 2016 season...a fight that has left the Yankees fanbase divided. As the deadline approaches in just under 48 hours, let's take a look at the pros and cons of each side in this civil war.
Pros of #TeamSell
1. There are 6 teams within 5.5 GBs of each other in the Wild Card standings. The Yankees are fifth of those six teams, which include the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles, two teams that have been in first place of the AL East for significant stretches of time. While all the teams involved have their flaws, the Yankees have not had a dominant stretch like these other teams...after all, the Yankees were three games over .500 for just the first time this week!
2. The Yankees' run differential is a paltry -28, which gives them a Pythagorean record of 48-54. Once again, Girardi has this team overachieving at 52-50. Overachieving the run differential is a nice but meaningless accomplishment, and while Girardi's Yankees have made a habit of it, it guarantees nothing; in fact, last season's wild card team underachieved by one game. They may be overachieving, but that overachieving still puts them at barely a .500 team.
3. Selling now does not mean the team is surrendering 2017. Greg Bird should return from injury and provide an immediate upgrade over the aging Mark Teixeira. Gary Sanchez is MLB-ready, and should easily slde into the lineup either at catcher or as the DH. Aaron Judge could make his MLB debut as early as later this season and should provide a jolt for the lineup. Additionally, the acquisition of Gleyber Torres and other prospects from the Cubs provides the Yankees additional assets to trade in the winter in the event they wanted to acquire a starting pitcher (as the free agent market this winter is notoriously weak). Numerous elite relievers (including our old friend Aroldis Chapman) are the premier names in this year's market, which would ease the parting blow if the Yankees do in fact trade Andrew Miller and would allow Chad Green and Luis Severino to compete for a spot in the starting rotation next spring. There are plenty of avenues for this team to contend in 2017.
Cons of #TeamSell
1. The Yankees don't have the assets to do a full-blown firesale. Only teams in need of a DH want Carlos Beltran. CC Sabathia and Brian McCann have no-trade clauses. Brett Gardner has been struggling. Beyond Andrew Miller, the Yankees don't exactly have the assets to make a major deal. Anything the team will likely be able to do would not impact the team much in either the short- or long-term, such as trading Refsnyder or Hicks. Barring something unforeseen, such as a first-place team's 3B getting injured and suddenly start champing on the bit for Chase Headley, the guys on the roster now will probably stick around for the remainder of the season.
2. Despite its flaws, the team is only 4.5 games out of the second wild card; even if you don't want to sell the farm for this team, you can make the case that the team should respect the standings and at least let it play out, because crazier things have happened in the world of baseball.
Pros of #TeamBuy
1. Although the concept of buying usually is thought of as the acquisition of an older, overpaid vet or a guy about to go to free agency, there is no rule that says you cannot get a player under team control for multiple years. Technically, the acquisition of Chris Sale would be considered the team "buying," but the Yankees would actually be gaining one of the league's best pitchers on a very cost-friendly deal through 2019. Not a bad pitcher to build a rotation around.
2. The team is only 4.5 games out of the wild card at 52-50, but have been 44-33 since starting off 8-17 in April. That is a .571 clip; for comparison, the division-leading Blue Jays have a .567 win percentage. Since Beltran and Headley overcame slow starts, this team has not been all that bad; a decent winning streak would put them in a strong position come September.
3. The Yankees play the overwhelming majority of the rest of their games against the Orioles, Red Sox, and Blue Jays, giving them a great opportunity to make up a lot of ground.
Cons of #TeamBuy
1. The Yankees play most of the rest of the season against the AL East....and they're 14-21 against the AL East.
2. In order to acquire anybody under team control for multiple years (since Cashman is unlikely to go after a rental), the Yankees would need to trade a lot of prospects, which would gut their farm system. Chances are, any major acquisition, such as the acquisition of Chris Sale, would likely also happen in tandem with the sale of Andrew Miller for prospects, possibly even in a three-way deal. So in a way, the team might not even truly be buyers, but both buyers and sellers.