Grading New York Yankees' Trade Deadline Performance
New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman had a very busy month of July.
The 2014 non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone. The Yankees weren't the talk of the deadline—the Boston Red Sox were, however—but Cashman made some very good moves to bolster his roster and prepare his squad for the stretch run.
Cashman made two trades on Thursday and five others during the month of July. High profile or not, most of the moves he made have paid dividends already.
We won't be able to dish out final grades for these moves until the season ends. That said, we'll give grades to how things have shaken out so far.
Those players who were acquired earlier in the month have been given grades based on their performances in pinstripes so far. Those who were acquired on Thursday have been graded based on the packages it took to get them.
Let's get started.
LHP David Huff for Cash
The Yanks actually made this deal on June 11. They sent cash to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for left-hander David Huff.
Huff has been a very pleasant surprise for manager Joe Girardi. Over 23.1 innings, the 29-year-old owns a 1.93 ERA (5.19 FIP), 1.500 WHIP, 15 walks and 18 strikeouts.
There are also alarming numbers to point out. His high WHIP and poor strikeout-to-walk ratio suggest that he won't continue this success for much longer. Those three marks, along with other factors, culminate in a 5.19 FIP. His ERA likely won't stay below 2.00 moving forward.
Regardless, acquiring Huff was a good move by Cashman.
To acquire a reliever who has been successful despite walking the tightrope for only cash considerations is always a good move. Managers run through relievers frequently in today's game, especially with pitch counts being as prominent as they are. Even if Huff only gives the Yankees another 15 innings before he's sent down or released, this move was a good one.
RHP Brandon McCarthy and Cash for LHP Vidal Nuno
Brandon McCarthy isn't known for having a ton of success over his nine-year career, but the 31-year-old has found a groove with the Yankees.
The 6'7" right-hander owns a 3-0 record, 2.55 ERA (3.05 FIP) and 1.297 WHIP over 24.2 innings pitched (four starts). He assumed the rotation spot of Vidal Nuno, who pitched poorly all season (2-7, 4.97 ERA). Now with the Arizona Diamondbacks as a result of the deal, Nuno is in an environment with much less pressure.
Enough can't be said about Cashman's ability to pull off this trade. He basically swapped No. 5 starters with a team in no rush to compete. The only thing is that McCarthy hasn't pitched like a No. 5—he has pitched like a No. 3.
Many criticized the deal initially. Some cited McCarthy's poor ERA in Arizona (5.01) or his one-sided record (3-10). Cashman looked beyond those marks for a pitcher who gets ground balls and has been the victim of some bad defense.
And look at the end result.
This is the only grade that gets a perfect score.
LHP Jeff Francis and Cash for PTBNL
There are certainly misses for all of Cashman's home runs.
Jeff Francis was a miss, but thankfully, the Bombers didn't give up much at all to get him.
The soft-tossing lefty has already been designated for assignment. He picked up a win in 1.2 innings of work for the club, but his 5.40 ERA and 9.73 FIP were scary numbers. While the sample size was extraordinarily small, the results still weren't good enough to foresee sustained success in a pennant race.
Cashman did no wrong by giving the veteran lefty a shot in the bullpen—especially only for a player to be named later. That said, the results were still quite bad.
3B Chase Headley and Cash for IF Yangervis Solarte and RHP Rafael De Paula
The Yankees had been linked to Chase Headley ever since his remarkable 2012 campaign with the San Diego Padres. They finally got their man, albeit one who hasn't come close to those gaudy numbers since.
Headley was hitting just .229/.296/.355 with seven homers and 32 RBI with the Friars before coming over to the Yankees. Cashman didn't really give up much. He swapped his own third baseman (Yangervis Solarte) and a former top arm (Rafael De Paula) for a guy with much more upside.
The rental player has not disappointed. In 33 at-bats (a small sample size, I know), Headley owns a line of .303/.361/.455 with one homer and four RBI.
More importantly, however, Headley is a stud at the hot corner. Winner of the Gold Glove at third base in the National League in 2012, Headley has made all the plays at third in his nine-game tenure with the Yanks.
The Yankees acquired Headley with the intention of making him a rental player who provides a spark to this team in the second half of the season. That's exactly what has happened so far.
LHP Chris Capuano for Cash
Chris Capuano was acquired for cash from the Colorado Rockies. Weeks before being signed by the Rockies, Capuano was a member of the Boston Red Sox.
The 35-year-old has made just one start in pinstripes thus far. Despite walking four batters, the lefty lasted six innings against the Toronto Blue Jays. He allowed just five hits and two earns, a start strong enough to earn him another start when his turn comes back around in the rotation.
Girardi has been fiddling with his rotation for months. His young starters from the minors have done well, but it's hard to know what to expect from them on a nightly basis. In the thick of a playoff run, it's always best to turn to established veterans.
Capuano hasn't been consistently good since 2012, but he brings a veteran presence (and left arm) to a rotation that was in desperate need of a boost.
Nobody is expecting him to set the world on fire, but as long as he keeps an ERA around 4.00, the Yanks will be fine.
IF Stephen Drew for IF Kelly Johnson and Cash
The Yankees kicked off their work on deadline day by making a trade with the Red Sox—the rivals' first trade since way back in 1997. The team acquired Stephen Drew from Boston, reports ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes.
Drew has been a big disappointment this season, slashing .176/.255/.328. Then again, so had Brian Roberts (.237/.300/.360). The acquisition of Drew led the Yankees to DFA Roberts, reports Bryan Hoch of MLB.com.
To acquire Drew, all Cashman had to do was ship out Kelly Johnson. Johnson has also disappointed, slashing just .219/.304/.373.
So how on Earth did the Yankees win this trade involving middling infielders?
Well, they got the guy with the best defensive upside. Roberts has been horrible on defense. Johnson is not a good defender either. Drew is a Gold Glove-caliber shortstop, so his transition to second base shouldn't be very difficult.
He likely won't keep hitting so poorly. Expect a line of .250/.310/.335 from him the rest of the way.
UTIL Martin Prado for C/1B Peter O'Brien
In a deal that wasn't announced until the clock was about ready to strike 4 p.m. ET, the Yankees brought in veteran super-utility man Martin Prado, reports Jack Curry of the YES Network. Prado, 30, is signed through the 2016 season, making this much more than a rental.
Considering it's more than a rental, Cashman knocked this trade out of the park. He gave up only Peter O'Brien, a young prospect that has 33 homers in the minors this year. This is his breakout season, however, so Cashman sold high on the prospect.
Prado can play almost anywhere. He has experience at shortstop, first base, second base, third base and left field. He has played one career game in right field, and that's where the Yankees expect him to play for the remainder of this season.
Of course, the utility man will see time at all the aforementioned positions. Given his versatility, Girardi won't have to worry about giving guys a day off. Now with a capable secondary option, the Yankees are much better off.
Overall, it's hard not to like what Cashman has done with this ballclub.
Ravaged by pitching injuries, he acquired multiple arms capable of stepping in. The team has also struggled offensively, so he made moves to aid in that area as well.
None of the moves were for superstar talents, but the impact of these players has already been felt. It will be interesting to see how the Yankees fare over the rest of the summer and possibly into October.
Overall Grade: B+
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