Yankees Wise to Sell, Hit Home Run with Aroldis Chapman Trade

Jacob Shafer@@jacobshaferFeatured ColumnistJuly 25, 2016

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The New York Yankees are officially trade-deadline sellers. They announced as much by shipping hard-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs on Monday, per Jon Heyman of Today's Knuckleball.

It's an unfamiliar position for the big-spending Yanks, who are typically in the business of adding veteran pieces and keeping the switch flipped to "win now." 

If the Chapman deal is any indication, however, New York can sell with the best of them.

In exchange for the Cuban southpaw, who will become a free agent after the season, the Yankees will receive prospects Gleyber Torres, Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford as well as big league pitcher Adam Warren, according to to Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago. 

The Yankees inquired about injured outfielder Kyle Schwarber, according to Julie DiCaro of 670 The Score, but were rebuffed. Still, this is a superlative haul, especially when you compare it to what New York gave up to acquire Chapman from the Cincinnati Reds in December.

The Yankees flipped Chapman to the Cubs seven months after acquiring him from the Reds.
The Yankees flipped Chapman to the Cubs seven months after acquiring him from the Reds.Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Torresa 19-year-old shortstop and the Cubs' No. 2 prospect, according to Bleacher Report's Joel Reuter—is the main piece. He's hitting .275 with nine home runs and 19 stolen bases in 94 games at High-A and possesses an "advanced bat and potential for solid tools across the board," according to MLB.com's scouting report.

McKinney, the Cubs' No. 8 prospect, according to Reuter, is a 21-year-old outfielder and 2013 first-round pick who hit .300 with an .825 OPS between High-A and Double-A last season.

Warren, a 28-year-old right-hander who the Yankees shipped to Chicago over the winter in the Starlin Castro swap, did not pitch well for the Cubs, with a 5.91 ERA in 35 innings. But he posted a 3.29 ERA in 131.1 innings last season for New York and could slot into a middle-relief role upon his return to the Bronx.

Finally, there's Crawford, a speedy outfielder and 2012 11th-round pick who's swiped 22 bases in 83 games at High-A this season.

To recap: The Yankees received two of the Cubs' top 10 prospects plus an MLB-ready reliever and one more young body for a few months of Chapman.

Here's a Torres highlight reel for forward-gazing Yankees fans:

Yes, Chapman will make the Cubs an even more dangerous contender, as yours truly opined. The Yankees, however, come out looking like winners on this one.

In December, New York bought low on Chapman. A deal between the Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers had fallen apart amid domestic violence allegations that ultimately led to a 30-game suspension for Chapman. 

The Yankees swooped in and sent a four-player package to Cincinnati that included right-handers Rookie Davis and Caleb Cotham and infielders Eric Jagielo and Tony Renda, none of whom currently rank among the Reds' top 10 prospects, per MLB.com

Gauging the future of minor leaguers is always tricky, but when you stack those packages next to each other, it appears New York flipped Chapman for a far shinier return. JJ Cooper of Baseball America shares that view:

It's not as though the Yankees are suddenly hosed in the late innings, either. They still have lefty Andrew Miller, who sports a 1.45 ERA with 74 strikeouts in 43.1 innings and should slide capably back into the closer slot. Behind him, there's right-hander and three-time All-Star Dellin Betances (2.57 ERA with 85 strikeouts in 49 innings).

Miller is locked up for the next two seasons and Betances won't hit the market until 2020, so unless the Yankees opt to trade one or both, the back end of their bullpen will be formidable for the foreseeable future.

With the Chapman trade, the Yankees will slot lefty Andrew Miller back into the closer's role.
With the Chapman trade, the Yankees will slot lefty Andrew Miller back into the closer's role.Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

It's still unlikely the Yankees will kick off a full-scale fire sale. They're hanging around the fringes of the playoff picture at 50-48 entering play on Monday, and an everything-must-go sell-a-thon simply isn't the Yankee way.

"What has to be noticed here, unlike very few teams, what we've done, is we can't rebuild here," team president Randy Levine said in December, per Kevin Kernan of the New York Post. "That's not what we're about. We're trying to win every year and we're trying to get younger and transition."

Expect New York to dangle veteran right fielder Carlos Beltran, another impending free agent and established postseason performer who could yield a rich return from an offense-hungry contender. 

After that, the Yanks can sit back, content in the knowledge that they've strengthened their farm system and will have money to spend in the potentially ludicrously loaded 2018 free-agent class.

Chapman and his triple-digit heater will be a short-term boon for the Cubs. If you take the long view, however, this trade tilts toward New York.

Turns out, the Yanks are pretty good at this selling thing.

All statistics current as of July 25 and courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

Related

    MLB Widens Astros Investigation to Last 3 Seasons

    MLB logo
    MLB

    MLB Widens Astros Investigation to Last 3 Seasons

    ESPN.com
    via ESPN.com

    Andujar Showing Progress Via Instagram 📽️

    New York Yankees logo
    New York Yankees

    Andujar Showing Progress Via Instagram 📽️

    Ryan Honey
    via Elite Sports NY

    The Perfect Cole Replacement

    Zack Wheeler would be the best option for the Astros to retool their staff

    MLB logo
    MLB

    The Perfect Cole Replacement

    Zachary D. Rymer
    via Bleacher Report

    Trout Wants Help, but Will He Get It?

    The superstar's next MVP needs to be more than a consolation prize ➡️

    MLB logo
    MLB

    Trout Wants Help, but Will He Get It?

    Zachary D. Rymer
    via Bleacher Report