2015 Winter Meetings Open Thread: Thursday

The return of MFIKY? (Presswire)
The return of MFIKY? (Presswire)

The final day of the 2015 Winter Meetings is upon us, thankfully. I’m really for them to be over. The Rule 5 Draft will take place at 10am ET this morning and the Yankees will lose outfielder Jake Cave, in all likelihood. Maybe some others. There are some rumblings New York will make a pick of their own. They do have two open 40-man roster spots.

Here are Monday’s, Tuesday’s, and Wednesday’s open threads. Thursday is typically the slowest day of the Winter Meetings — most folks head home after the Rule 5 Draft — but I’m sure there will still be plenty of news and rumors out of Nashville. We’ll keep track of the day’s Yankees-related rumors right here. All time stamps are ET.

  • 10:00am: Following yesterday’s trade, Brian Cashman told reporters he’s not done making moves yet. “I’m also not done. I’ve got a lot of other conversations in play and we’ll see where that takes me,” said the GM. I mean, duh. It’s December 10th. Of course he’s not done. [Peter Caldera]
  • 10:00am: The Yankees are among the teams to check in on Rafael Soriano. Soriano, 35, threw 5.2 ineffective innings for the Cubs this year and was released at midseason. At this point of his career, Soriano’s a non-roster invite guy, not someone you guarantee a roster spot. [Jon Heyman]
  • 10:00am: The Yankees have their eyes on Astros lefty Reymin Guduan, Astros righty Chris Devenski, and Cardinals righty Luis Perdomo in the Rule 5 Draft. Guduan is a lock to be selected today because he’s a southpaw who throws 100 mph on the regular. [George King]
  • 10:26am: The Dodgers have moved on from Aroldis Chapman, understandably so, and they’re now “weighing” a run at Andrew Miller. With Ken Giles traded and Chapman persona non grata, Miller is by far the best available reliever on the market. [Jon Heyman]
  • 10:31am: The Twins were one of the other teams after Justin Wilson prior to yesterday’s trade. If they’re looking a lefty reliever, the Yankees still have plenty to offer. [LaVelle Neal]
  • 12:18pm: Cashman said he considers the bullpen and the roster in general “incomplete.” I’d say. “I’m intending to do more,” he added. [Bryan Hoch, Brendan Kuty]
  • 12:45pm: The Astros worked “extensively” on an Andrew Miller trade with the Yankees before turning to Giles. They gave up a pretty nice package of players for Giles. The Yankees really seem to be asking a ton for Miller. [Buster Olney]
  • 2:45pm: Talks between the Yankees and Dodgers about Andrew Miller have “no legs.” The Yankees continue to see a good young starter in return and Los Angeles doesn’t have one of those to offer. [Jon Heyman]

(Reminder: Your trade proposal sucks.)

Thoughts following the Justin Wilson trade


The Yankees completed their second trade in as many days last night. One day after acquiring Starlin Castro from the Cubs, the Yankees sent left-hander Justin Wilson to the Tigers for minor league righties Luis Cessa and Chad Green. Time for some more thoughts.

1. From what I can tell, no one felt comfortable with Wilson on the mound because he walked too many guys, and now no one likes that he has been traded away. Which is it? The Yankees have been very good at building bullpens the last few years. I trust them completely here. Wilson was pretty great this past season but the Yankees also may have just sold high, since dudes who throw hard but have career long control issues flame out all the time. I like Wilson. Lefties who throw hard and strike guys out are really cool. But based on the reaction, he went from being a pretty good seventh inning guy with the Yankees to being Billy Wagner as soon as he was traded away. The deal was fine. Geez.

2. That said, the Yankees are going to have to make up for the innings they traded away in Wilson and Adam Warren. They’ve been good at building bullpens but now they have to … you know … do it. They can’t just wave the magic bullpen wand and turn Jacob Lindgren and Branden Pinder into late-inning weapons. Wilson and Warren soaked up some pretty important innings last season — especially since no one in the rotation pitches deep into games consistently — and they’ll be missed, Warren in particular. The Yankees are clearly comfortable with their bullpen depth if they traded away these two. They believe they have the replacements either already in house or they’re readily available. Now they just have to figure out who they are, and that takes some time. Remember, the Opening Day bullpen always looks quite a bit different than the bullpen on August 31st.

3. I don’t think the Wilson trade takes Andrew Miller off the table and it shouldn’t. Miller has a ton of value — did you see that Ken Giles trade? geez — and if a team offers a young starter plus other stuff, are the Yankees really going to say “no thanks, but we already traded Wilson”? Nope. Not happening. I do wonder if Cessa and/or Green — two Triple-A starters, remember, they’re upper level depth — could be flipped as part of another trade, though Brian Cashman indicated last night nothing is lined up. The Yankees do need the depth though. Right now Ivan Nova is the sixth starter and Bryan Mitchell is the seventh starter. They needed some more bodies to compete with Mitchell there, and to provide a buffer between the big leagues and the Brady Lails and Rookie Davises of the world. The trade addressed a clear need.


4. I do think it’s interesting — and not a coincidence — the Yankees traded Wilson, Warren, and David Phelps right as they were about to get expensive through arbitration. “Expensive” is a relative term here: Wilson was only projected to make $1.3M next year while Warren was projected for $1.5M. It’s not that the Yankees are being cheap — they just took on $40M or so in Castro, you know — it just seems like they’ve decided they’re not going to pay much more than the league minimum for non-elite relievers. Maybe that only applies to certain relievers. Warren’s more valuable than most because he can start, but Phelps and Wilson? Eh. Given the internal options, the extra million bucks might not be worth it. It’s tough to nitpick the strategy when the Yankees have been so good at building reliable bullpens. If there’s some sort of payroll limit in place — and there very clearly is — the bullpen is a good place to save.

5. Everyone is trying to copy the so-called Royals model and have a lockdown bullpen — as if the Royals are the first team to realize a great bullpen is a nice thing to have — so much so that I feel like the rest of the roster is being overlooked. The end of the game is really important! But the first six or seven innings are more important. After all, bullpen usage is determined by the game situation, not the other way around. As long as the Yankees have Miller and Dellin Betances, the bullpen will be formidable. It’s the rest of the roster I worry about. Those first six or seven innings. The rotation still has a ton of health concerns and the offense is, well, kinda sketchy. It’s a boom or bust offense. Hopefully the Yankees spend more time improving the beginning of the game and not worry so much about the end.

Wednesday Night Open Thread

Wednesday was a pretty slow day at the Winter Meetings up until about 15 minutes ago, when the Yankees traded Justin Wilson to the Tigers for two prospects. Tomorrow’s the final day of the Winter Meetings and Thursday is usually the slowest day. The Rule 5 Draft is in the morning and teams tend to head home shortly thereafter. We’ll see if anything interesting happens.

Here is tonight’s open thread. The (hockey) Rangers and Knicks are playing, plus there’s a bunch of college hoops on as well. Talk about those games or anything else here.

Yankees trade Justin Wilson to Tigers for two prospects


The Yankees have traded a left-handed reliever, just not the one who’s been in all the rumors the last few weeks. New York has shipped Justin Wilson to the Tigers for right-handed pitching prospects Luis Cessa and Chad Green, the team announced. Cessa and Green rank 6th and 19th on MLB.com’s top 30 Tigers prospects list. Cessa is on the 40-man roster. Green isn’t.

Earlier today Brian Cashman confirmed he was listening to offers for both Wilson and Andrew Miller, the latter of whom has been in trade rumors all offseason. “If we are willing to discuss Andrew Miller, we are willing to discuss Justin Wilson,” he said. I would not assume Miller is now off limits just because Wilson’s gone. The Yankees could get a major haul for Miller and it would silly to take him off the table.

Wilson, 28, had a 3.10 ERA (2.69 FIP) in 61 innings in 2015, his only season with the Yankees after coming over from the Pirates in the Francisco Cervelli trade. He emerged as Joe Girardi‘s seventh inning guy and proved he could retire both righties and lefties, so he wasn’t just a left-on-left matchup guy. Wilson is arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter and is projected to earn $1.3M next year.

The 23-year-old Cessa was one of the prospects the Mets traded to the Tigers for Yoenis Cespedes at the deadline. He had a 2.56 ERA (2.69 FIP) in 77.1 Double-A innings this year, then got hammered to the tune of a 6.97 ERA (3.57 FIP) in 62 Triple-A innings. Cessa had a 19.6% strikeout rate and a 5.9% walk rate in 139.1 total innings. Here’s a piece of MLB.com’s scouting report:

As a former middle infielder, Cessa brings excellent athleticism to the mound. He also brings a solid three-pitch mix. His fastball will sit at 93 mph, and he’ll touch 95 mph on occasion. His breaking ball is a bit slurvy but has shown improvement, and he has the makings of a Major League average changeup. More than anything, he throws a ton of strikes, proof of which comes in his career 1.8 walks-per-nine ratio heading into 2015.

Green, 24, had a 3.93 ERA (3.22 FIP) with a 20.9% strikeout and a 6.6% walk rate in 148.2 innings this summer, all at Double-A. He was Detroit’s 11th round pick in the 2013 draft. MLB.com says he “used a combination of a very good fastball and outstanding command to outsmart hitters at that level.” Green has a low-90s sinker as well as a slider and changeup. I’d guess both he and Cessa will start 2016 in Triple-A, though they could be flipped elsewhere.

Losing Wilson is a blow to the bullpen, but, if there’s one thing the Yankees are able to do consistently these days, it’s churn out a quality relief crew. This trade could mean Jacob Lindgren (or James Pazos) will get a chance to assume a regular role next season. Lots of offseason left and the Yankees have a whole lot of interesting young relievers on the 40-man roster. We’ll see what happens.

2015 Winter Meetings Open Thread: Wednesday

Velasquez. (Presswire)
Velasquez. (Presswire)

After a long day with few rumors, the Yankees swung a trade last night, sending Adam Warren and a player to be named later (Brendan Ryan) to the Cubs for Starlin Castro. It didn’t come out of nowhere like so many other Yankees’ deals, but it did come together pretty quick. It went from rumor to trade within an hour or so. The on-the-fly rebuild continues.

“It isn’t part of our DNA to accept that full-blown commitment to a rebuild,” said Brian Cashman to Bryan Hoch. “Ownership’s comfort level is walking that tightrope, rather than tearing it down and living to fight another day. The public stated goal is to get younger and compete for the championship every year. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

Here are Monday’s and Tuesday’s open threads. Once again, we’ll keep track of all the day’s Yankees-related hot stove rumors from the Winter Meetings right here in this post. All time stamps are ET.

  • 10:30am: Following the trade yesterday, Cashman confirmed the Cubs asked about Brett Gardner early in the Starlin Castro trade talks, but that wasn’t happening. He also said Luis Severino, Greg Bird, and Aaron Judge have not been offered in any deals this offseason. [Joel Sherman, Tyler Kepner]
  • 10:30am: “Hopefully I can do some things to add to our depth,” said Cashman, specifically about the pitching staff. He did not rule out free agents but did acknowledge trades are more likely. “I’ve been busiest on the trade front … If it’s old and expensive, we did not check on that.” [Erik Boland, Marly Rivera, Mark Feinsand]
  • 10:30am: Tyler Flowers, who was connected to the Yankees earlier this week, signed a two-year deal with the Braves yesterday. Cashman also confirmed they did check in with Ben Zobrist earlier this week, though his first choice was the Cubs. [Bob Nightengale, Ken Davidoff]
  • 10:30am: The Yankees have shown an interest in Astros righty Vincent Velasquez. Houston has interest in Andrew Miller and Velasquez could be part of the package. However, there’s some thought the Yankees would flip Velasquez to the Marlins for Marcell Ozuna. [George King]
  • 10:30am: Several teams have called about Justin Wilson, including the Tigers. Hey, if Miller is available, there’s no reason Wilson shouldn’t be as well. Whether the Yankees are comfortable trading both end game lefties is another matter. [George King]
  • 10:42am: Brett Gardner remains available but nothing is close at the moment. Nothing’s changed after the Castro pickup. [Jon Heyman]
  • 12:47pm: The Yankees are talking to the Dodgers and Astros about Andrew Miller. Houston’s been on Miller for a while now, and the Dodgers lost out on Aroldis Chapman earlier this week. In terms of performance plus contract, Miller is by frickin’ far the best available reliever right now. [Bob Nightengale]
  • 2:17pm: The Yankees did circle back and ask the D’Backs if they still had interest in Andrew Miller following their recent Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller pickups. Arizona seems to be in a very generous mood, so why not ask? They had interest in Miller earlier this offseason. [Joel Sherman]
  • 5:21pm: As expected, Cashman confirmed Justin Wilson is indeed available. “If we are willing to discuss Andrew Miller, we are willing to discuss Justin Wilson,” he said. [Marly Rivera]
  • 5:46pm: The Yankees are still getting a ton of hits on Brett Gardner and Andrew Miller. Cashman continues to say they’re open to anything, but added “it’s more likely than not we’ll have the same dynamic duo” next year, meaning Miller and Dellin Betances. [Bryan Hoch, Erik Boland]
  • 5:48pm: Cashman admitted the Yankees don’t have a whole lot money to spend this winter. “It’s accurate to say flexibility is limited currently because we’re committed to a lot,” he said. So annoying. [Pete Caldera]
  • 5:50pm: The Yankees do expect to lose someone in the Rule 5 Draft tomorrow. Jake Cave’s a safe bet. Apparently they’re also considering taking someone. They do have two open 40-man roster spots. A reliever and/or a spare infielder capable of playing third base are solid bets. [Bryan Hoch]
  • 6:01pm: The team’s interest in Tyler Flowers was limited to a non-roster invite. Flowers’ response to the offer: “Hell no.” So there you go. Cashman said the team wants to “unleash” Gary Sanchez. [Brendan Kuty]
  • 6:32pm: There’s a rumor going around that the Yankees have traded Justin Wilson to the Tigers for two prospects, but Cashman shot that down for the time being. “I don’t know what the reports are but I don’t have anything to talk about,” he said. [Brendan Kuty]
  • 6:38pm: The Yankees are “talking seriously” about trading Justin Wilson to the Tigers for two prospects, but nothing is done yet. Sounds like it’s only a matter of time. [Joel Sherman]

(Reminder: Your trade proposal sucks.)

The Good & Bad of the Trade Deadline [2015 Season Review]

Price. (Presswire)
Price. (Presswire)

On July 24th, one week before the trade deadline, the Yankees were 53-42 and 5.5 games up in the AL East. They had scored the second most runs in baseball (435) but also allowed the 12th most (409) at the time. They were pretty healthy too. Andrew Miller and Jacoby Ellsbury had both returned from their injuries, and Ivan Nova had returned from Tommy John surgery.

Things were going pretty darn well for the Yankees in late-July. There were also some clear needs, particularly at second base and in the rotation. Getting another starter was going to take some creativity because the Yankees had five starters (six if you count Adam Warren), though they sorely lacked an innings eater and, frankly, a dominator. Masahiro Tanaka had his moments but there was a little too much mediocrity mixed in to call him a true ace.

Given those needs, the nice but not entirely comfortable lead in the division, and the fact they hadn’t been to the postseason in either of the last two years, I thought the Yankees would be aggressive at the trade deadline. Instead, they walked away with Dustin Ackley and nothing else. That doesn’t mean they didn’t try to get help, it just means they didn’t pull the trigger on anything. In the end, the results were both good and bad.

The Good: Keep the Kids

Scroll back through our various Trade Deadline Open Threads and you’ll see the Yankees were connected to a whole bunch of players before the deadline, some more than others. They were in on guys like Mike Leake, Jeff Samardzija, Yovani Gallardo, Carter Capps, Tyler Clippard, and Mat Latos, among others. I don’t even remember half of that.

When it was all said and one, we only heard about three serious offers. Well, four if you count the completed Ackley trade. Here are the three deals that didn’t get done:

The Maybin-for-Sanchez offer makes no sense. The Yankees already had a great right-handed hitting outfielder in Chris Young and literally no roster space for Maybin. I guess they could have acquired Maybin instead of Ackley, but why? That was the Braves trying to get a talented young catcher. Didn’t make sense for New York.

Zobrist, on the other hand, would have fit the Yankees perfectly because he fits every team perfectly. He would have stepped in at second base, an area of great need for New York, and provided them with another switch-hitting bat for the lineup. The Kimbrel stuff came after the Yankees decided the price of rotation help was too high, so they were going to beef up the bullpen instead. Gyorko would have platooned with Stephen Drew at second.

Look at the names involved in those trades. Refsnyder, Sanchez, Mateo. Warren’s not really a kid but he was under control for a few more years and was a really valuable piece of the pitching staff in 2015. Luis Severino and Greg Bird were also mentioned in rumors at the trade deadline. So was Aaron Judge. These guys are all among the top young players in the organization and all except Mateo were knocking on the door of MLB at the trade deadline.

The Yankees kept these players and now most of them are in position to help next season. Heck, Severino and Bird helped almost immediately after the trade deadline. Refsnyder helped later in the year. Judge isn’t far off either. There is a clear path for these players to take on significant roles with the Yankees in the extremely near future. Severino has a rotation spot locked up. Refsnyder was going to at least compete for the second base job until the Starlin Castro trade. Bird and Judge are stuck behind Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran, though those two will be free agents next winter.

It would have been very easy — and I would have considered it totally justifiable — to trade any of those young players for a rental player at the deadline. Instead, the Yankees stuck to their guns, continued what qualifies as a Yankees youth movement, and kept their top youngsters. Now those players are in line to help and the Yankees will potentially reap the rewards going forward. They held on to their MLB ready guys. We’re not going to wait another two years to see them in pinstripes.

The Bad: Second Half Collapse

The Yankees were 5.5 games up a week before the deadline, seven games up two days before the deadline, and yet they finished six games back in the division. They lost 13 games in the standings to the Blue Jays in the final two months of the season. The Yankees finished one game better than the Astros for the top wildcard spot and two games better than the Angels for a wildcard spot in general.

Zobrist. (Presswire)
Zobrist. (Presswire)

That’s quite a collapse. The Yankees really could have used some help in the second half! Zobrist and even Gyorko would have (potentially) helped the offense, and if nothing else, Kimbrel would have meant fewer innings for the shuttle guys down the stretch in September. There’s also David Price. The Yankees made a run at Price before the deadline but fell short, reportedly because the Tigers really wanted Daniel Norris.

I have a hard time believing it would have been impossible to bridge the gap between Severino and Norris, but it doesn’t really matter now. Price is a balance of power guy. He changes the entire complexion of a division race and we saw that down the stretch. Price dominated (2.30 ERA and 2.22 FIP) for the Blue Jays and they won nine of his eleven starts. He helped them win other games by saving the bullpen too (averaged 6.2 innings per start).

Who knows what would have happened had the Yankees been more willing to trade young players at the deadline. The offense crashed so hard those last few weeks that adding Zobrist or Gyorko or whoever else might not have mattered. The Blue Jays may have beat up on Price and mashed their way to first place anyway had New York landed the left-hander.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say the second half fade could have been slowed somewhat with some deadline help. Enough to win the division? Probably enough. Enough to win the wildcard game? Well that’s a much different story. Price starting that game instead of Tanaka and/or Zobrist/Gyorko instead of Refsnyder at second could have made all the difference in the world.

* * *

Believe me, I’m happy the Yankees kept Severino and Bird and those others guys. I look forward to watching them play next season and beyond. I also appreciate a team that goes for it. Too many clubs are content to sit back and wait for the future. At the time, I wanted the Yankees to go for it at the deadline, especially Price and Zobrist. Not doing so looks smart in hindsight, but only in hindsight in my opinion.

Thoughts following the Starlin Castro trade

(Dilip Vishwanat/Getty)
(Dilip Vishwanat/Getty)

Last night the Yankees made their second trade of the offseason, sending Adam Warren and a Brendan Ryan to be named later to the Cubs for Starlin Castro. Brian Cashman confirmed he tried to get Castro at the trade deadline, then again earlier this offseason before the two teams circled back at the Winter Meetings this week. Anyway, I have thoughts. Here they are in no logical order.

1. This trade seems to go against pretty much everything the Yankees have done the last few years in that Castro is not considered a great makeup guy. Fair or not, he’s been cast as a bit of a headache throughout his career, and he’s also had some off-field issues, namely this and this. I doubt the “good clubhouse guy” thing has gone out the window, so chances are the Yankees feel comfortable with Castro as a person. Special assistant Jim Hendry was the Cubs GM when Chicago signed, developed, and called Castro up to MLB. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild was also with the Cubs for Starlin’s rookie year, so presumably he and Hendry have firsthand knowledge of Castro the person. I’m sure both had some level of input — Hendry moreso than Rothschild — into the trade and signed off on his makeup. It’s just a little weird to see the Yankees pick up a guy widely believed to have makeup issues after doing the opposite for so long. (I don’t think playing in New York will be an issue. Chicago is intense and Cubs media has been trashing Castro for years. He’s used to it.)

2. Now, that said, this an an opportunity for that veteran clubhouse to go to work and help Castro. I’m sure that crossed the team’s mind before the trade. Specifically I’m talking about Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran. Those two have long had reputations for helping young players, A-Rod in particular. Robinson Cano was a little like Castro earlier in his career — ultra-talented but a bit lazy (especially in the minors) and someone who coasted on talent — but he credited Alex for whipping him into shape and helping him take his career to the next level. A-Rod’s made some big mistakes in his career, but he’s always been very prepared and a very hard worker. He instilled that mindset in Cano and hopefully he (and Beltran) can do it again with Castro. Starlin may really be able to thrive under two veteran mentors like A-Rod and Beltran.

3. Castro’s risk is very obvious. He’s been one of the worst players in baseball two of the last three years and is a .265/.305/.383 (89 wRC+) hitter in his last 1,852 plate appearances. That’s bad. I don’t care how young you are or how much upside you have. That’s bad. Can’t argue otherwise. And yet, Castro hit .292/.339/.438 (117 wRC+) as recently as 2014. He’s been league average or better at the plate in four of his six big league seasons. This strikes me as a very boom or bust move. Castro could really take off as he enters his prime — maybe he goes on a Cano-like tear these next few years, that’d be cool — or he could continue to flounder and be a below-average hitter. The Yankees are taking a shot on talent here and there’s a chance this turns into a $40M dud. Then again, if Castro was putting up big numbers, it would have taken a lot more than Warren (and Ryan) to get him.

4. I do think the trade is fair-ish from a pure value-for-value perspective. Warren (and Ryan) was at the very upper bound of what I would have been comfortable paying for Castro, but it’s not crazy. Cubs fans are probably more upset they didn’t get more for Castro — a young everyday middle infielder signed affordably for another four years — than Yankees fans should be they didn’t get more for Warren. The Yankees got three cheap years out of David Phelps then traded him away from Nathan Eovaldi. They then got three cheap years out of Warren then flipped him for Castro. Who’s next in line, Bryan Mitchell?

5. The Yankees are definitely going to miss Warren because he’s both good and versatile. He can start or relieve, and he’s durable. Warren has never had an arm injury in his career and he bounces back well on back-to-back days, stuff like that. Warren was basically penciled in as that No. 4 reliever behind Andrew Miller, Dellin Betances, and Justin Wilson. Who’s the team’s second best righty reliever behind Betances right now? Mitchell? Branden Pinder or Nick Rumbelow? Eek. Warren was also the club’s No. 6 (or No. 7) starter. He was really important this past season and his “quality innings in whatever role” profile will not be easily replaced. You’ve got to give to get, but boy, those important innings Warren soaked up are going to fall on someone less qualified now. Bringing in another depth arm should be on the to-do list now. (Yes, there’s still plenty of offseason left.)

(Andy Lyons/Getty)
(Andy Lyons/Getty)

6. I do like that Castro adds balance to the lineup and has a different offensive profile than most other Yankees regulars. For starters, he’s a right-handed hitter who has a history of hitting left-handers (career 106 wRC+), and we saw how southpaws chewed the Yankees up down the stretch last year. A-Rod was their only potent everyday right-handed hitter, and once he faded in the second half, the Yankees had little chance against lefties. Castro will help fix that problem. He’s also a very aggressive (career 3.67 pitches per plate appearance) contact hitter (career 15.6% strikeout rate), and I don’t think having a guy like that in the lineup is a bad thing. The Yankees can get caught being a little too passive at times. Having someone who comes out willing to jump on that belt high first pitch fastball adds a different dynamic to the offense. Now, putting nine guys like that in the lineup is a problem. But one? No big deal. Especially when he’s hitting in the bottom third of the lineup like Castro probably will, at least at first.

7. One aspect of Castro’s game that is pretty cool: he’s very durable. He’s played in 766 of 810 possible games since 2011 (94.6%) and he’s never been on the DL. His only notable injury is a high ankle sprain suffered late last year while sliding into home plate. The Cubs shut him down for the final 23 games of the season because they were out of the race and there was no reason to push it. This is baseball, fluke injuries can happen at any time, but the ability to stay on the field and play 150+ games year after year is a valuable. That was a big part of what made Cano great. The guy played every game. Health is a skill, and six years into his big league career, it appears Castro has it.

8. The bench will have a different look now. Castro is going to be the starting second baseman but with Ryan going to the Cubs in the trade, Starlin also figures to be the backup shortstop. So now the bench is: backup catcher (Austin Romine or Gary Sanchez), outfielder (Aaron Hicks), utility man (Dustin Ackley), and a fourth guy. That fourth guy can be anything! It could be another outfielder (Slade Heathcott?), another infielder (Rob Refsnyder?), a backup first baseman (Greg Bird?), or heck, even a third catcher. That said, the Yankees need to come up with a backup third baseman for Chase Headley, because Ryan was it and now he’s done. Ackley can’t do it because his arm has been shot since having Tommy John surgery in college. He’d need a relay man to make the throw across the diamond. Castro has never played third at the big league level and has seven games of hot corner experience in his career, all in rookie ball a very long time ago. Gregorius has played ten innings at third in his career, all with the 2014 Diamondbacks. I guess he’s the backup third baseman by default right now. Juan Uribe would be a pretty cool bench target. He can still pick it at third and do damage against lefties. Mark Reynolds stands out as another potential depth pickup. The backup third base situation is: developing.

9. Alright, so what happens with Refsnyder now? Cashman said yesterday the plan was to start him at Triple-A in the wake of the Castro trade, but what’s he supposed to say? They could trade him now — the A’s had interest at the deadline, remember — but there’s no need to come out and say that’s the plan. It’s self-defeating. The Yankees didn’t give Refsnyder much of an opportunity this season despite Stephen Drew‘s prolonged slumps, and the Castro trade is only more confirmation they aren’t comfortable with Refsnyder as an everyday player. “I think that the one spot that’s probably open for competition more than anything is second base,” said Joe Girardi during his meeting with reporters prior to the trade yesterday. Holding on to middle infield depth is never a bad thing, but it would not surprise me at all if Refsnyder was traded now, perhaps for a spare arm or another position player who fits the roster better. We’ll see. The Castro pickup certainly did Refsnyder’s Yankees career no favors.