Aroldis Chapman spent a little over a half a season with the Yankees before being pawned off to the Chicago Cubs for prospects. Nope, that’s no typo. The Yankees traded away arguably their best player for unproven, yet highly-touted players, a move that the Yankees have not been known to make. It’s actually the other way around, typically.
We are used to the Bronx Bombers spending ludicrous amounts of money in the offseason on free agents and trading away prospects during the season for big name players who can make an impact “immediately.” It seems that the deep-pocketed Yankees are adjusting to the new baseball climate where building from within is more cost-effective. A few months ago, I made the suggestion that the Yankees should follow in the footsteps of small market teams like the Royals and trade some of their assets to acquire young talent to grow within their farm system.
I’m not saying that Brian Cashman read that piece, but with this move the Yankees seem to be taking a step towards adapting tactics from smaller market teams. With that being said, it is less than a week since the trade and for all we know the prospects the Yankees acquired from the Cubs may be moved before the trade deadline Sunday or in the offseason and never wear the pinstripes in the majors.
Putting aside the fact the Yankees traded a major part of their bullpen, it was a move they could afford to make. The ‘pen was already crowded with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances earning All-Star nods, and Chapman was only signed for one year. The Yankees had the insurance that they wouldn’t decimate their only real strength. The Cubs also could afford to make the move as they have one of the strongest farm system in the majors and were looking for late-inning relief.
As a Mets fan though, I cannot help but wonder if the Yankees dealt Chapman to the Cubs to stick it the Mets, who beat the Cubs in last year’s NLCS. It remains a strong possibility that the Mets and Cubs could meet in the postseason again this year and what better way for Yankee fans to stick it to Mets fans if Chapman is the reason the Mets get booted from the playoffs?
Speaking of the Mets, they could also make a move before the trade deadline on Sunday. Minus acquiring Yoenis Cespedes at last year’s trade deadline, the Mets have been relatively quiet this time of year in seasons’ past. But with the Mets’ starting pitching putting them in the position to make a deep playoff run, if the Mets make a move it would have to be for a reliever. Lefty Antonio Bastardo has been abysmal this season and it’s possible the Mets could make a move to acquire left hander Will Smith from the Milwaukee Brewers. With an outfield saturated with leadership, and youth, and an infield with multiple players who can play multiple positions, it’s unlikely the Mets make a move for any position players.
With the Yankees all but out of playoff contention and the Mets sitting in a wild card spot, this year’s trade deadline might allow New York baseball fans to get some sleep.