Yankees Fill 40-Man Roster With A 3-Player Trade

The Yankees have been cruising around with 2 open 40-man roster spots for a while, which is unfamiliar territory for them.  They filled those spots yesterday by making a 2-for-1 trade with the Dodgers, bringing in left-handed pitcher Tyler Olson and utility infielder Ronald Torreyes for upper-level MiL third baseman Rob Segedin.  There's also a player to be named later or cash considerations that the Yankees will send along eventually to complete the deal. There are obviously better options for filling out those final 2 roster spots, but with the Yankees not showing any willingness thus far to play in the deep end of the free agent pool this wasn't a bad Plan B .  Olson is a 26-year-old converted starter who actually made the Opening Day roster for the Mariners as a reliever last season.  He wasn't very good (5.40 ERA, higher BB rate than K rate in 13.1 innings pitched) and then he struggled a bit upon returning to Triple-A before getting worked back in as a starter at the end of the season.  He was claimed off waivers by the Dodgers earlier this offseason.

Torreyes, 23, also made the show in 2015, appearing in 8 games as a September call-up and going 2-6 with a double and a walk.  He's bounced all over the Minors as parts of multiple deals, but he's always been a good enough hitter who makes a ton of contact.  In over 2,500 career MiL plate appearances, Torreyes has a .298/.353/.409 slash line and a K rate below 10%.  Defensively he's been primarily a second baseman and a shortstop, but has also spent time at third base and in left field.

Segedin was the Yanks' 3rd round pick in the 2010 draft and there were high hopes for him early, but injuries set him back a lot and he had settled into an org depth role over the last few years.  I think I might have had him in the back third of my yearly top 30 prospects rankings once or twice.

Call me crazy, but I think we might be looking at the final member of the Opening Day bench in Torreyes.  He profiles as almost exactly what Brendan Ryan would have been for this team if he were still around, and I could see him easily outperforming Ryan in that role.  I also think there could be more to the Olson move than meets the eye.  Yeah he was pretty junky last season, but he had some good numbers as a starter in High-A and Double-A, and for what it's worth he pitched 11 innings of 2-run ball with 9 strikeouts and zero walks in his final 2 Triple-A starts last year.  I could see the Yankees wanting to use him as a starter to see what he can do at the upper levels and penciling him in as additional rotation depth in Trenton or SWB.

At the absolute best, this trade gives the Yankees some cheap, flexible value in the final spot on the 25-man roster.  At worst it gives them a few easily expendable pieces to improve the depth of their 40-man roster.  Even if you aren't gushing about this deal, and there's really no reason to be, there's not much to not like about it.

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Thoughts On The Aroldis Chapman Trade

How's that for something unexpected?  I got a text from a friend yesterday afternoon while I was white-knuckling the drive home from work in a snow/sleet storm saying "Aroldis Chapman to the Yanks?" and I didn't know how to take it.  I didn't know if he was asking me if I thought it was a good idea, if there was a rumor out there I wasn't aware of, or if he was just trying to start a hot stove conversation.  It didn't occur to me that it might have actually been a trade the Yankees executed.  But they did and the 4-for-1 swap was quickly announced and confirmed by both teams.  This one really came out of nowhere. Despite Chapman's jaw-dropping on-field performance to date, this trade isn't as fun to discuss as the Starlin Castro trade because of the circumstances surrounding Chapman presently.  Let's be honest, those circumstances - the domestic violence allegations against Chapman and the potential impending suspension under MLB's new domestic violence policy - are the only reason the Yankees made this deal and Brian Cashman openly admitted that in his statements yesterday.  Domestic violence is a hot button issue in the sports world right now, as it should be there and everywhere, and there is no way to discuss this deal without at least referencing the allegations.  To do so would be shortsighted and irresponsible.

At the same time, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not even close to the right person to discuss those parts of Chapman's situation.  I gave up on the idea of pro athletes being role models and people that should be held to a higher standard a long time ago and I have no problem separating the seriousness of the allegations against Chapman the person from the potential benefits that his acquisition provides to my favorite baseball team.  I can root for the Yankees while acknowledging that not every member of the organization is a great person.  I know that the allegations against Chapman are serious, and if he is guilty of choking and hitting his girlfriend then he should be severely punished.  I also know that no arrests were made, no charges were filed, and I certainly wasn't there that night to see what happened.  I'm in no position to pass judgement on Aroldis Chapman as a person and I'm going to choose not to do so as part of my analysis of this trade.

If we're being honest I'm probably in no position to judge him as a baseball player either, but that's what I do here at IIATMS and that's what I'm going to get back to doing now.  So from a baseball standpoint, I absolutely love this trade.  Love it.  And given the way the Yankees have approached the trade market in their other moves this offseason, I have no reason to love it.  It didn't address an area of need, at least not directly, and the team wasn't necessarily trading from positions of depth in making the deal.  The move also added payroll, which we know Hal "Big Money" $teinbrenner doesn't want to do, so the chances of the team doing anything even remotely significant to address their starting rotation on the free agent front all but disappear with this move.

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Thoughts On The Starlin Castro Trade

[caption id="attachment_79601" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Castro vs STL Courtesy of Getty Images[/caption] Guess they proved me wrong.  After spending the first day and a half of the Winter Meetings doing a lot of nothing, the Yankees decided to take their sandals off and jump in the pool yesterday, sending Adam Warren and Brendan Ryan to the Chicago Cubs for second baseman Starlin Castro.  Castro has been on and off the trade block for a while in Chicago and the Yankees were trying to trade for him at the deadline this past season.  When the Cubs landed Ben Zobrist last night, things sped up quickly on the Castro trade front and the Yankees were able to make a deal.  For the fifth time in the last calendar year plus the Yankees have acquired a young MLB player with upside to fuel their non-rebuild rebuild.

It's hard to really say what the Yankees are getting in Castro.  His .281/.321/.404 career slash line makes him look like a pretty good player, but his low walk rate (4.9%), wildly inconsistent year-to-year results, and reported previous attitude and discipline problems are all causes for concern and surely contributed to the Cubs deciding he was the odd man out in their crowded middle infield.  Castro was one of the worst everyday players in baseball in 2015 (80 wRC+ in 578 PA) and 2013 (74 in 705).  He also put up a career best season in 2014 when he hit .292/.339/.438 with 14 HR, 65 RBI, and a 6.2% BB rate.  Obviously the Yankees are hoping they get that player or the guy who hit .353/.373/.588 in 42 games after moving from shortstop to second base this past season.

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Yankees Acquire Starlin Castro From The Cubs For Adam Warren And Brendan Ryan

Joel Sherman has it:

No word yet on who else is involved, but that sounds like it's coming shortly.  This rumor has really picked up steam over the last hour or so, and with the Cubs just signing Ben Zobrist this was the next domino to fall.  More on this story as it's reported.

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GM Meetings Day 3 Recap: 1 Trade, 2 Trades, And The Rumor Mill Heats Up

[caption id="attachment_79335" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Aaron Hicks 2015 Your new fourth outfielder... for now (Courtesy of Getty Images)[/caption] Very busy day for Hipster Cash yesterday.  He started off by clearing a 40-man spot and kept the trade momentum rolling with an out-of-nowhere swap with the Twins that netted him at least his Chris Young replacement.  Here's a full recap of yesterday's activities.

- The first trade was a straight up roster dump.  Cash said so himself.  The Yanks sent utility man Jose Pirela to the Padres for 20-year-old right-hander Ronald Herrera.  The move got them down to 38 on the 40-man roster and gave them a potential sleeper pitching prospect.

- The second trade was the big one.  The Yankees acquired outfielder Aaron Hicks from the Twins for backup catcher John Ryan Murphy.  This trade, while unexpected, followed a pattern Cash has established recently of dealing from positions of depth to acquire young MLB players with lots of team control remaining.  Murphy really came into his own in 2015 as Brian McCann's regular backup, and like Francisco Cervelli before him he will now get the chance to expand into a regular starting role.  Hicks steps into Young's righty platoon outfield role for now, but Cash did say the Yankees see him as an everyday player.

- Naturally this ramped up the speculation on Brett Gardner's future with the club.  When asked about the possibility of trading Gardner now, Cash said "“I have been hit on Gardy over the years quite often, and he hasn’t gone anywhere.  I value Gardy a great deal. … He’s not an easy get.” (via Chad Jennings)

- In other hot stove rumor news, Ken Rosenthal reported the Diamondbacks as one of multiple teams that have asked about Andrew Miller.  These 2 teams have hooked up on trades before and Rosenthal pointed out the match in potential trade chips, so this makes sense.

- Via Mark Feinsand, the Yankees might "make a serious run" at lefty free agent pitcher Wei-Yin Chen this offseason to give their rotation some balance.  Chen is coming off a solid year and has been a reliable mid-rotation guy since coming to the Majors in 2012.  He's also reportedly seeking a 5-6 year deal and will cost any non-Baltimore team that signs him their 1st round draft pick.  He's a good pitcher, but I don't see the Yankees going that hard for him at the cost of the pick and that many years.

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Yankees Send Murphy to the Twins for Aaron Hicks

It seems that this morning's trade was a mere precursor for something with far greater ramifications for the 2016 season:

John Ryan Murphy was quite good for the Yankees this season, putting up a .277/.327/.406 (103 OPS+, 99 wRC+) line in 172 PA as Brian McCann's back-up. There was talk about an expanded role for Murphy heading into 2016, given McCann's age and struggles down the stretch, so this comes as a bit of a surprise. Of course, that could also mean that Gary Sanchez could be in-line for a large role as something between a back-up and platoon player behind the dish - he's certainly earned the opportunity.

As for Aaron Hicks, Keith Law actually wrote a bit about him as a trade target this morning. Here's the crux of it:

No matter how you slice it, however, Aaron Hicks seems to be the most imminent victim of the roster crunch, right after establishing himself as a viable everyday player in center, hitting .259/.333/.432 as a regular after returning from a forearm injury in late June. He's a plus-plus runner with a 70 or 80 arm in center, and his defense could still improve as he's more reliant on pure speed than good reads or efficient routes. He has yet to show much production against right-handed pitching, but killed lefties in 2015, and at least has hit right-handers in Double-A and Triple-A the last two years. The free-agent market is deep in corner outfielders but has no center fielders to match Hicks' potential with the glove and bat.

At the very least, Hicks seems to be an excellent replacement for Chris Young, with a career line of .272/.360/.447 with 10 HR in 261 PA against southpaws - and at something close to league-minimum salary, to boot. And with the Brett Gardner rumors swirling, who knows what else could be in store?

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Trade Deadline Thoughts And Afterthoughts

[caption id="attachment_77336" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Severino SWB Best deadline pickup? Courtesy of Bill Tarutis/Times Leader[/caption] The 2015 non-waiver trade deadline came and went yesterday and it was the quietest deadline in years for the Yankees.  Despite being connected to plenty of players in the weeks and days leading up to 4 PM yesterday, including almost every big name pitcher, they ended up making just the one move to pick up Dustin Ackley.  Since there aren't a lot of trades to talk about, I figured I'd expand the deadline analysis to the whole roster and look at what other things the Yankees did to try and bolster their roster for the stretch run.

- But first the Ackley trade.  I didn't have a strong feeling about it one way or the other when it was announced on Thursday, and I still really don't.  At a high level, it makes sense for the Yankees.  They traded from their 2 sources of greatest prospect depth and upgraded a part of their Major League bench.  That's not a bad move.

- Until you start to break down the player they acquired.  Ackley, once one of the top prospects in baseball, has never come close to reaching his expected potential in the Majors. and he's been on a downward slope this season.  He was hitting a pretty lame .215/.270/.366 when the Yankees acquired him and there isn't anything about his offensive profile that sticks out in a positive way.  He doesn't hit for average, doesn't hit for much power, and doesn't draw enough walks to be an on-base asset.

- While that doesn't sound like something worth acquiring, it's worth noting that Ackley is still only 27 years old and has good career numbers hitting in Yankee Stadium.  He also hit .270/.300/.459 in July and had a .732 OPS in June, so the Yankees must feel like they're adding someone who isn't as bad now as his overall numbers indicate and someone who will be a good fit hitting in YS3.

- There's also the added defensive flexibility that Ackley brings.  He can play all 3 outfield spots, second base, and first base, and he can play all of them better than Garrett Jones could.  That plus his superior offensive numbers to Jones' make the upgrade an obvious one.

- As for what the Yankees gave up, it's a personal bummer to see Ramon Flores go just because I've always liked him more than most.  He's an underrated all-around hitter and a better defender than he gets credit for.  He was also never going to break in for any meaningful time with the Yankees, nor was the perennially disappointing Jose Ramirez, so good for them that they get a chance to go somewhere where they can do that.

- However disappointed you may be about the Yankees not adding any pitching help, you have to give them credit for sticking to their guns.  Most of the big name targets they were in on were asking for Judges and Severinos and Birds in return.  The Yankees were adamant that those players were untouchable and they kept their word on that.  For once, they really do seem committed to getting younger and rebuilding their roster core from within.

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Trade Deadline News And Notes: 7/31/15 (UPDATED)

We're down to mere hours now.  We'll follow the latest developments here as the day progresses and break in with any actual trade news if and when it happens. - The Yankees are in heavy on relievers today, with both Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman's names coming up multiple times.  They were reportedly working on a deal for Kimbrel last night, but talks continue to stall based on the Yankees' willingness to include Jorge Mateo in a deal.

- Via Jon Heyman, the Yanks are "not likely" to get Chapman.

- Also via Heyman, they may be shifting their focus to Miami's Carter Capps if they can't get anything done for the other 2.  He's the dude with the jump delivery.

- Precious little out there right now connecting the Yankees to any starters.  They lost another target last night when the Giants acquired Mike Leake from Cincy.

- Dustin Ackley will join the team today in Chicago and there's still the matter of clearing a roster spot for him.  Drew, Ryan, or Jones seem like the most likely candidates to go, but stay tuned.

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Trade Deadline News And Notes: 7/30/15

2 big stories today related to the Yankees.  Neither involves them making any trades. - The first was the Blue Jays acquiring David Price from the Tigers for a package of prospects.  It sounds like the haul was a good one, better than what the Rays got for him last year, and this was a move the Jays had to make if they want to make a serious playoff run.  Yanks get to hold onto all their top prospects (for now) and still get a shot to sign Price when he hits the FA market.

- The second, and more important, was the announcement that Michael Pineda has been scratched from his scheduled start tonight.  He has since been diagnosed with a Grade I forearm strain and put on the DL, and CC will start tonight's game on regular rest.  This type of injury could put Pineda out until mid-September, so the need for the Yanks to add a starter has increased as far as I'm concerned, Severino or no Severino.

- Via Ken Rosenthal, the Yanks are "poised to strike" and are in on "all available arms".  Not much different than we've heard all along, although they've yet to get seriously involved with anybody.

- Via Jon Heyman, the Yankees are among the 4 "most likely landing spots" for Mike Leake.  Dom wrote this post last month about how Leake made a lot of sense for the Yanks.

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