Yankees send Aroldis Chapman to Cubs for four players

(Presswire)
Bye Aroldis. (Presswire)

4:10pm: Both teams have announced the trade, so it’s official. Officially official. The trade is as reported: Chapman for Torres, Warren, McKinney, and Crawford. Torres and Crawford are going to High-A Tampa and McKinney is going to Double-A Trenton. Warren is going to join the Yankees in Houston.

“I want to thank the New York Yankees for trusting and supporting me, and I wish nothing but the best for the Yankees organization and my former teammates,” said Chapman in a statement. “I am excited about today’s trade and look forward to joining the Chicago Cubs and meeting my new teammates. It is a privilege to wear the Cubs uniform and to play for the fans of Chicago.”

12:13pm: For the first time in a long time, the Yankees have made a true “sellers” trade. The Yankees and Cubs have an Aroldis Chapman deal in place, reports Jon Heyman. Shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres, outfield prospect Billy McKinney, right-hander Adam Warren, and a fourth player are coming back to New York. Patrick Mooney identifies the fourth player as outfield prospect Rashad Crawford. We’re still waiting for an official announcement from the team, just FYI.

Trading Chapman before the deadline was close to a no-brainer. The Yankees acquired him from the Reds in the offseason for pennies on the dollar because of his pending suspension under the league’s domestic violence policy. Once the suspension was served, they could market him for what he is: an elite rental reliever. Generally speaking, this all boils down too:

Rookie Davis
Eric Jagielo
Caleb Cotham
Tony Renda
35 innings of Adam Warren
Brendan Ryan
a few months of bad PR stemming from Chapman’s domestic violence incident

for

31.1 innings of Aroldis Chapman
Starlin Castro
Gleyber Torres
Billy McKinney
Rashad Crawford

That is a pretty incredible. The Yankees did not surrender any of their top prospects to acquire Chapman and now they’re netting Torres, who Keith Law (subs. req’d) and Baseball America respectively ranked as the 26th and 27th prospect in baseball in their midseason updates, plus some decent secondary pieces. That’s pretty great.

Using Andrew Miller as a benchmark, the going rate for an elite rental reliever was one top 50-ish prospect just two years ago. The Yankees got a top 25-ish prospect and more for Chapman. That’s a function of a) Chapman having a much longer track record than Miller, and b) the market for bullpen help being insane right now. The Yankees would be wise to gauge the market for Miller and Dellin Betances next. It doesn’t hurt to listen, after all.

Torres, 19, is obviously the center piece of the deal. He’s hitting .275/.359/.433 (122 wRC+) with nine homers, 19 steals, a 21.3% strikeout rate, and a 10.3% walk rate in 94 High-A games. Torres is doing that despite being nearly four years younger than the average Carolina League player. He’s outperforming Jorge Mateo, who is an excellent prospect himself, at the same level while being a year younger. Here’s a piece of MLB.com’s free scouting report:

Torres signed for $1.7 million out of Venezuela on the strength of his advanced bat and potential for solid tools across the board. He has a quick right-handed swing and a mature approach, recognizing pitches well and using the entire field. Once Torres gets stronger and learns to pull pitches more often, he could produce 15 or more homers per season … While Torres’ range may be just average, his instincts and strong arm allow him to make plays. If he has to change positions, he’d profile well offensively and defensively at either second or third base.

It wouldn’t be crazy to consider Torres the Yankees’ top prospect now. I haven’t thought enough about it to have a firm opinion, but he’s definitely in the conversation along with Mateo, Aaron Judge, and Gary Sanchez. For what it’s worth, Law ranked Judge higher than Torres in his midseason top 50 while Baseball America ranked Mateo higher than Torres in their midseason top 100. So yeah. This is a bit up in the air.

The other big name in the trade is McKinney, who went to the Cubs in the Jeff Samardzija/Addison Russell trade two years ago. The Yankees were connected to him prior to the 2013 draft — I even wrote up a draft profile on him — and last year McKinney ranked 83rd on Baseball America’s top 100 list. He’s had a rough 2016 though, hitting .252/.355/.322 (101 wRC+) with one homer, a 19.5% strikeout rate, and a 13.5% walk rate in 88 Double-A games.

The good news is McKinney is still only 21 — he’s three years younger than the average Southern League player — and just last year he was a top 100 guy who hit .300/.371/.454 (135 wRC+) between High-A and Double-A. The bad news is McKinney’s 2015 season ended in August when he fouled a pitch off his knee and suffered a hairline fracture. His bad 2016 season may be the result of the injury. Here’s a piece of MLB.com’s free scouting report:

McKinney has hit everywhere he has gone, the result of his quick left-handed swing, tremendous hand-eye coordination and mature approach. He also draws enough walks to record healthy on-base percentages, though some evaluators question how much over-the-fence power he’ll develop. He has bat speed and makes hard contact easily, so he should produce plenty of doubles with 15 or more homers per season … He’s a decent athlete with average speed and fringy arm strength, which doesn’t make him much of a factor on the bases or in the outfield.

The knee injury and down 2016 season stink, but without them the Yankees wouldn’t be able to get McKinney as part of this trade. They’re buying low on a good pure hitter who was a top 100 prospect just last season. Considering McKinney is not the center piece of the package that’s coming to the Yankees, he’s a pretty nice little lottery ticket. Shrewd pickup.

Crawford, 22, is currently hitting .255/.327/.386 (99 wRC+) with three homers, 22 steals, a 19.8% strikeout rate, and an 8.9% walk rate in 83 High-A games. He is not a top prospect in any way. In fact, neither MLB.com nor Baseball America ranked Crawford among the Cubs’ top 30 prospects coming into the season. He’s a fringe prospect, though J.J. Cooper calls him a “perfect” fourth piece for the Yankees because of his tools, specifically above-average speed and center field defense.

I assume the Yankees will send Torres and Crawford to High-A while McKinney goes to Double-A. That’s where they were playing with the Cubs. The Torres-Mateo dynamic will be interesting in Tampa. Will Mateo finally get the promotion he reportedly complained about, or will Torres get the promotion because he’s had a better year? Perhaps they’ll both stay in High-A and split time at second and short. Intrigue!

Welcome home, Adam. (Getty)
Welcome home, Adam. (Getty)

As for Warren, well, we’re all familiar with him. He pitched well for the Yankees in a variety of roles from 2013-15 before being traded for Castro this offseason. Warren, 29 next month, has not had a good season with the Cubs, pitching to a 5.91 ERA (5.83 FIP) in 35 innings. His walk (12.5%) and homer (1.80 HR/9) rates are far higher than they ever were in New York. He’s even had to spend some time in Triple-A.

My guess is Warren will step right into Chapman’s roster spot and reclaim his old jack of all trades bullpen role, which might make him the seventh inning guy right off the bat. Basically, he’s in the Circle of Trust™ until he pitches himself out of it, which just might happen based on the way he’s pitching with the Cubs this year. We’ll see what happens. I’m pretty stoked to have Warren back. He’s always been a personal fave.

There was talk the Cubs would not do the trade without signing Chapman to an extension first, and who knows if that happened. As far as the Yankees are concerned, who cares? They didn’t have to do any of the legwork (negotiate the extension, etc.) and apparently the Cubs were compelled to give them some extra players anyway. Hey, I’m not complaining. Whatever it took to get done. For what it’s worth, Joel Sherman says the Yankees did talk to Chapman about an extension at one point, and when he wasn’t interested, it swayed ownership to trade him.

The Yankees haven’t made a move like this — a big leaguer for prospects trade designed to improve the long-term future of the franchise — in a very long time. Since trading Rickey Henderson and Mike Pagliarulo in 1989, basically. The trade hurts in the short-term, there’s no doubt about that. We’ve all seen the impact Chapman can have. The Yankees will miss that in their bullpen even with Miller and Betances still around.

This trade helps improve the 2017 and beyond Yankees though, and considering the team’s current place in the standings, it was time to prioritize the future. Based on everything we know right now, this trade looks like a major coup for New York. They capitalized on Chapman’s stock being down over the winter and flipped him for a 25-ish prospect plus other stuff. Pretty cool.

Fan Confidence Poll: July 25th, 2016

Record Last Week: 5-2 (24 RS, 12 RA)
Season Record: 50-48 (403 RS, 428 RA, 46-52 pythag. record), 4.5 GB of postseason spot
Opponents This Week: @ Astros (three games, Mon. to Weds.), Thurs. OFF, @ Rays (three games. Fri. to Sun.)

Top stories from last week:

Please take a second to answer the poll below and give us an idea of how confident you are in the team. You can view the interactive Fan Confidence Graph anytime via the Features tab in the nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.

Eovaldi and Green lead Yankees to 5-2 win over Giants

(Mike Stobe/Getty)
(Mike Stobe/Getty)

So, who had the Yankees going 9-5 against the Indians, Red Sox, Orioles, and Giants? Definitely not me. I wouldn’t say it was the prettiest stretch of games, but hey, nine wins in 14 games against four of the best clubs in baseball is pretty darn cool. The Yankees won Sunday’s game 5-2 to wrap-up the Giants series and the homestand.

I didn’t see the entire game, just bits and pieces here and there, so here are some thoughts and observations about what I did see.

1. Big Game Nate. The bullpen was very short Sunday and boy, Nathan Eovaldi came through with a big time start. He was charged with two runs in 6.2 innings but pitched better than that — the bullpen allowed two inherited runners to score, uglifying his line — and he gave the Yankees some much needed length. Eovaldi threw 118 pitches, second most of his career, and that includes a 33-pitch fourth inning.

In his two starts back in the rotation, Eovaldi has allowed three runs total in 13 total innings against two pretty good offenses (Orioles, Giants). That’s exactly what the Yankees were hoping to see, regardless of whether they decide to trade him at the deadline or hold on going forward. No one benefits when he pitches poorly. Eovaldi came through Sunday when the Yankees really needed a good performance from their starter.

2. Castro gets the big hit. The Yankees scored two runs early before breaking the game open in the sixth inning, when Starlin Castro came through in what I thought was the biggest at-bat of the game. They scored a run to make it 3-0 earlier in the inning, then Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann strung together back-to-back two-out hits. Castro made them count with a first-pitch single to left to score a run and make it 4-0.

For whatever reason a four-run lead feels much more comfortable than the three-run lead, at least to me. Blame the save rule, I guess. That fourth run gave the Yankees some breathing room — they scored their fifth run when Didi Gregorius smacked a ground rule double after Castro — and Starlin came through with two outs. Giving up two-out runs is so demoralizing. It really is.

3. 4-1-5 against the 415. Holy smokes, how about that double play in the eighth inning? It was the first 4-1-5 double play in franchise history, and it required great plays by Castro (sliding grab and flip to first), Chad Green (hustle to cover first, throw to third), and Chase Headley (catch the short-hop throw and apply the tag). Look. Just look:

Incredible. That’s back-to-back days with stellar defensive players. Brett Gardner, Gregorius, and McCann teamed up for that relay throw and play at the plate Saturday, remember. Now Castro, Green, and Headley do that. What a play. Where was this back in April and May? And June? And earlier in July?

4. Chad Green: Proven closer. Is Chad Green in the Circle of Trust™? He might be after that game. Green struck out one and got six ground ball outs during a seven-out save, the second save of his pro career. (He had one back in High-A ball.) Yes, Green allowed the two-run single to Buster Posey in the seventh, but that had more to do with Buster Posey being insanely good at baseball and poking a pitch well off the plate …

Chad Green Buster Posey

… the other way and inside the first base bag than Green making a mistake. That pitch isn’t even a strike. Whatever. Tip your cap to Posey. He’s really good.

Green bounced back from that to get the final out of the seventh inning — Brandon Crawford, the batter, represented the tying run at the time — then cruised through the eighth and ninth. He really did a great job with the big three relievers all unavailable due to their recent workload. They might not even be available tomorrow given how much they’ve thrown of late. Bravo, Chad.


Source: FanGraphs

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Also make sure you check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages too. The Yankees are now off to Houston to start a three-game series and an eight-game road trip. Michael Pineda and Dallas Keuchel are the scheduled starters for Monday night’s opener. Keuchel again, huh? They’re not even in the same division and they can’t escape that guy.

DotF: Wade, Fowler, and Andujar help Trenton to a win

Triple-A Scranton (4-3 win over Durham)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 1-3, 1 R, 1 K
  • C Gary Sanchez: 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K — six walks and four strikeouts in his last seven games
  • 1B Tyler Austin: 1-1, 1 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 3 BB — 19-for-48 (.396) with 12 walks and 13 strikeouts in his last 14 games
  • DH Jake Cave: 0-2, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K
  • RF Cesar Puello: 0-0 — he was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the second inning for an unknown reason after running into the wall in the first inning
  • PH-RF Mason Williams: 2-4, 1 K
  • RHP Kyle Haynes: 7 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 2 WP, 8/3 GB/FB — 65 of 104 pitches were strikes (62%)
  • RHP Kirby Yates: 1 IP, zeroes, 2 K, 1 HB, 1/0 GB/FB — eleven of 16 pitches were strikes (69%)
  • RHP Nick Goody: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K — seven of ten pitches were strikes

[Read more…]

Update: Yanks moving closer to trading Aroldis Chapman

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Sunday, 7:52pm: The Yankees and Cubs are working on a deal that would send Chapman to Chicago for top prospect Gleyber Torres plus a second piece (!), report Jon Heyman and Buster Olney. Apparently the Cubbies want Chapman to agree to an extension before consummating a trade. Sounds like the deal could be completed as soon as tomorrow.

Sunday, 1:58pm: Jack Curry, who will inevitably break the Chapman trade news, says nothing is imminent and the Yankees are still mulling offers. For what it’s worth, John Harper says Hal Steinbrenner gave the okay to deal Chapman before the Giants series. Here’s the latest:

  • The Cubs are “strong” in the mix for Chapman, says Ken Rosenthal. The Giants, Dodgers, Nationals, and Indians are all involved too. That sounds like a last minute leak from the Yankees to get someone to raise their offer. He’s currently on the DL with a minor shoulder injury and is due back soon.
  • The Yankees have interest in Nats righty Joe Ross, reports Jon Heyman. One source told him there is “no chance” they’ll trade Ross for a rental though. Here’s my offseason Scouting the Market post on Ross.
  • Keith Law hears the Yankees would get righty Erick Fedde, righty Koda Glover, and a third piece if the deal with the Nationals goes through. That is a lot. Here is MLB.com’s Nationals top 30 prospects list so you can familiarize yourself with those guys.
  • The Yankees “love” Cubs shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres, according to Buster Olney. I wrote about Torres in our Scouting the Market: Cubs post a few days ago.

Sunday, 12:41am ET: Rosenthal says a trade is not necessarily imminent. The Yankees are preparing to wrap-up the process though. I guess that means they’re sorting through final offers and things like that.

Saturday, 10:38pm ET: The Yankees are telling teams they are close to trading Aroldis Chapman and will hold on to Andrew Miller, reports Ken Rosenthal. There’s no word on where Chapman may be heading or when a deal may be completed. For what it’s worth, the Nationals have been connected to him most frequently.

Following Saturday’s loss, the Yankees are now 49-48 on the season and 7.5 games back in the AL East. They’re 4.5 games back of a wildcard spot with four teams ahead of them. FanGraphs puts their postseason odds at 8.3% as of this writing, which should have the team firmly in sell mode. I’m not sure what else ownership needs to see.

Now, that said, trading Chapman would make sense even if the Yankees were in the race. They were able to get him at a very discounted rate due to his pending domestic violence suspension, and now that the suspension has been served, they can market him as a full price rental elite reliever. That’s pretty darn valuable and should fetch a lot.

In addition to the Nationals, the Rangers, Cubs, and Giants have all been connected to Chapman to some degree. Washington tried to acquire Aroldis in the offseason following his domestic dispute incident, but the Yankees beat them to the punch. Nationals manager Dusty Baker had Chapman with the Reds and has reportedly been pushing to acquire him.

As for keeping Miller, it’s certainly a sound strategy considering his general awesomeness and the two years left on his affordable contract. It’s been reported that the Yankees will have to be blown away to move him. That could still happen before the deadline, it’s not like there’s a shortage of teams in on Miller. We’ll see. The trade deadline is one week from Monday.

Game 98: End of the Homestand

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

This second half opening ten-game homestand is coming to an end today. The Yankees have won five of the first nine games, and boy, a 6-4 homestand looks so much better than a 5-5 homestand. Of course, the Yankees were going to have to go something like 7-3 or even 8-2 to really get back into the postseason race. They’re still treading water, which is bad for #TeamBuy and good for #TeamSell.

I’m not going to have time to add the lineup to the post, so I’ll instead direct you to the Yankees PR folks on Twitter. They should have the lineup posted there. It’s another really hot day in the New York, though at least there are some more clouds in the sky to provide shade. Today’s series finale is set to begin at 1:05pm ET. You can watch on YES locally and TBS nationally. Enjoy the game.