Where are they now? Reviewing NYY’s trades of 2018-19

With less than a month to go until the trade deadline, it’s worth looking back at what the Yankees have given up in recent trades. Through that lens, we can get a better idea of what it might take to get upgrades this season, or how the Yankees have done in trades.

So here are the players given up in the last 12 months with an eye on how the Yankees have dealt with their absence.

(MLB Gifs)

Sonny Gray

2019 line: 3.94 ERA/3.62 FIP in 82 1/3 innings with 91 K/32 BB for Cincinnati

Gray has well outpaced his performance from 2018 with the Yankees, but that was to be expected. Something was broken with Gray in New York, whether it be his relationship with the coaching staff or his ability to handle the weight of playing in New York. In almost all cases, the “He can’t handle New York” storyline is BS, yet it seemed to ring true here.

As for the return for the Yankees, they got the No. 38 pick, which turned into LHP T.J. Sikkema, as well as prospect Josh Stowers. Stowers has had solid results in Charleston. This is going to be unlike any Yankee trades in the next month.

Justus Sheffield, Erik Swanson and Dom Thompson-Williams

Sheffield was the headliner in the trade to get James Paxton, and the southpaw hasn’t paid off initially for Seattle. His control issues have reared their ugly head (6.7 per 9 innings in Triple-A) to the point where he was demoted to Double-A. He’s still just 23. However, he’s been moved down prospect lists and the shine is off his prospect status.

Interestingly, Swanson has seen much more time in the Majors than Sheffield. The right-hander has an 8.04 ERA in Seatte over seven appearances (six starts) with more modest numbers in Tacoma.

Thompson-Williams, 24, is batting .245/.321/.435 with Double-A Arkansas and has been hot of late. Overall, Seattle probably could have done better for Paxton.

Abiatal Avelino and Juan De Paula

Avelino and De Paula were dealt on Aug. 31 last year for Andrew McCutchen. The Yankees aren’t likely to pursue offensive help this deadline, nor is the August waiver deadline an option anymore. Still, for a fine veteran player on an expiring deal, Avelino and De Paula made sense as players the Yankees could give up, particularly with Avelino needed to be added to the 40-man roster.

The infielder Avelino has a 78 wRC+ in Triple-A with the Giants while playing shortstop primarily. Though he debuted in the Majors after the trade, he’s yet to stand out enough to get time this year. De Paula is much further away from the Majors and was traded again for Kevin Pillar. With Toronto’s High-A team, the 21-year-old is struggling with control and has a 7.76 ERA over 29 innings.

Cody Carroll, Dillon Tate and Josh Rogers

The Zack (née Zach) Britton trade has worked extremely poorly for the Orioles thus far. Carroll allowed six home runs over 17 MLB innings last summer and has missed all of 2019 with injury. Rogers produced 26 innings of MLB work with an ERA over 8 before succumbing to an elbow injury that likely requires Tommy John surgery.

Meanwhile, Tate, the centerpiece of the deal, has been converted to relief, a step likely forecasted for the young arm. He has a solid 3.81 ERA with a strikeout an inning in Double-A. Like his former Yankee counterparts, he also missed over a month with injury.

Folks, always trade your mid-level pitching prospects. It’s funny that the Orioles got Rogers instead of Nestor Cortes Jr., who they had previously taken in the Rule 5 draft, when both were pitchability lefties who were potential Quad-A guys. Guess Cortes’ brief stint in Baltimomre may have turned them off, but that’s the Yankees’ gain.

Chasen Shreve and Gio Gallegos

Lol. The Yankees gave up two relievers to get an All-Star snubbed first baseman (Luke Voit) and bonus money to sign Osiel Rodriguez, one of the top international prospects. Meanwhile, the Cardinals had to trade to get a new first baseman in the winter and have since DFA’d Shreve, who didn’t produce in the Majors. He’s currently with their Triple-A squad in Memphis.

However, Gallegos has been one of St. Louis’ top relievers, albeit in mostly low leverage work. He has a 2.63 ERA with a 54:7 K/BB ratio in 37 2/3 innings for the Cards. Fun fact: He got the game-winning hit for the Cards’ Triple-A team in the Pacific Coast League championship series last year. Even though the Yankees wouldn’t give up Voit, Gallegos would fit in the New York bullpen right now.

Billy McKinney and Brandon Drury

In the immediate aftermath of the Happ trade, the return haunted the Yankees as their outfield depth eroded with Aaron Judge’s injury. Still, J.A. Happ gave the Yankees a strong performance down the stretch in 2018 before his poor ALDS Game 1 start.

Drury and McKinney have been worth -0.9 WAR according to Fangraphs this season. They’ve been given the opportunity to play the corners more than they would have in New York, though either could have seen playing time in April/May with the Yankees’ multitude of injuries. Seeing how the Yankees’ depth filled in, it’s tough to say New York missed either of them.

Caleb Frare

The Yankees dealt Frare for international bonus money. He’s pitched 9 2/3 entirely ineffective innings for the White Sox since coming over last year and he’s regressed at Triple-A, hit hard by balks and the juiced baseball causing a significant rise in home runs.

New York churns out relief prospects, making Frare (and Shreve and Gallegos) expendable. He wasn’t making the 40-man roster for New York.

Tyler Austin and Luis Rijo

Austin and Rijo were dealt to Minnesota for Lance Lynn, the spare parts for a rental pitcher. Austin was made expendable by the acquisition of Voit as well as Neil Walker’s presence. The first baseman experienced a power surge in Minnesota with nine home runs in 35 games but was cut two games in 2019. He’s latched on with the Giants and is hitting .196/.295/.430 through 55 games.

The 20-year-old Rijo has put up fine numbers in High-A for Minnesota, but he’s Rule 5 eligible after this season. With the Yankees’ pitching depth, it’s hard to see where the room would have been for him.

Adam Warren

Warren was a casualty of the Yankees’ pursuit of international bonus money. The team could have used him at times down the stretch last season, yet he was unlikely to be re-signed after the season. Like Gallegos, the team could use him right now, though he wasn’t under contract for the 2019 season.

Conclusion

The Yankees gave up little more than depth pieces in the last year. Gray’s resurgence in Cincinnati is unfortunate for the Bombers even though he wasn’t likely to have a similar one in the Bronx. Outside of him, the only players who would make the Yankees’ 25/40 man rosters right now would be non-essential relievers.

It’s also fair to say the Bombers didn’t go big-game hunting in the last 12 months with Paxton as their largest acquisition. Still, the Yankees have the depth to trade for rentals and have developed a few players who could headline a trade for a better player if need be.

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8 Comments

  1. Your a Looser Trader FotD

    THANK YOU for this post. I’ve longed for this. In fact I’d love a page that compiles stats of guys we’ve traded over time. To know, and to ponder Cash as a GM.

    Clearly the guys outlined here paint an extraordinary picture. And it’s been a very long time before these guys to find a Jay Buhner in the oops crowd. Love it.

  2. Dan A.

    Thank God German is back and healthy. Or we might have to add a few names to articles like these. Now let’s get Sevy back!

    • RetroRob

      And pitched an excellent game tonight. The only duds he had this year were the three games right before the DL when he was clearly injured.

      No game-thread tonight? I think Mike used have those set up to post automatically on RAB.

  3. RetroRob

    So far, they’ve been able to keep their high-end pieces, with few of the secondary ones traded away hitting it big. The trade with the A’s a couple years back to get Gray might have produced some quality MLB talent, but so far that hasn’t materialized. Nothing like the infuriating trades the Yankees made back in the 80s when they traded good, quality young players and got little of help in return.

    Some guys will slip through and reach new levels with their next organization. Caleb Smith is one, or has been. Let’s see if he can maintain it. No issues, though, when young talent is traded as long as in aggregate they’re coming out a ahead.

    • lightSABR

      It really is amazing. I hope the pro scouting and analytics people are getting nice bonuses.

  4. Lincoln

    Warren is with SDP. 4-1, 5.34 ERA but on IL right now.

    • Mike M

      Yeah, honestly this goes back to the RAB days where they complain about non-signings and don’t reflect on the bad calls they demanded on the blog. Warren is legit awful this year, below replacement level. In what world could the Yankees use him? It was a smart move to trade him and a smarter move not to sign him.

  5. CountryClub

    Good article. No pain in those deals.

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