NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — It may not end up being a fire sale, but the Yankees certainly have rebuilding squarely on their minds.
The underachieving Yankees and World Series-hopeful Cubs reached a deal Monday that sends hard-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman to Chicago for four players, including highly touted 19-year-old shortstop Gleyber Torres.
The Yankees also acquired reliever Adam Warren and outfield prospects Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford.
New York had won six of eight heading into Monday night’s game at Houston, but it still faces long odds of getting to the playoffs. The Yankees are 7½ games out of first in the AL East and 4½ out of the second wild card. All-Stars Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances are still at the back of the bullpen, allowing the Yankees to trade Chapman now and still consider trying for the postseason depending on how they fare ahead of the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline.
“This was an easy call, and this was the right call,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “Easy because we traded from an area of strength, and we are excited with the players we received for a player who was only under control for two more months.”
The Yankees made the decision to trade Chapman after his agents said he would not agree to a new contract that would start in 2017, a person familiar with the talks said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no public statement on those talks was authorized.
If New York slips back any further, it could engage in a rare sell-off for the franchise. Miller, who is signed through 2018, also could be traded. Outfielder Carlos Beltran, first baseman Mark Teixeira and pitcher Ivan Nova are eligible for free agency after the season and could be sought by contenders.
“I think when the right buy or sell circumstance presents itself, this department will be making a recommendation to ownership and they will tell us what they want,” Cashman said.
During his short stay with the Yankees, Chapman recorded 20 saves in 21 chances and his fastball, at up to 105.1 mph, entertained fans focusing on the scoreboard velocity of every pitch.
He had formed the Yankees’ “No Runs DMC” bullpen trio with Betances and Miller, which recorded 203 strikeouts in 123 2/3 innings prior to Monday’s trade.
He was suspended for the first 29 games of the season under the league’s new domestic violence policy.
Chapman’s girlfriend, Cristina Barnea, told police the pitcher pushed and choked her during an Oct. 30 incident at his home in Davie, Florida. Chapman said there was an argument but he was pushed down by Barnea’s brother, then got a handgun and fired eight shots into a wall and window while locked in his garage.
Prosecutors declined to file charges, citing conflicting accounts.
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts quickly addressed that issue Monday.
“I shared with him the high expectations we set for our players and staff both on and off the field,” Ricketts said in a statement. “Aroldis indicated he is comfortable with meeting those expectations.
“Finally, my family, this team and Major League Baseball take the issue of domestic violence very seriously and support efforts to reduce domestic violence through education, awareness and intervention.”
Chapman said in a Cubs statement Monday: “I regret that I did not exercise better judgment and for that I am truly sorry. Looking back, I feel I have learned from this matter and have grown as a person. My girlfriend and I have worked hard to strengthen our relationship, to raise our daughter together, and would appreciate the opportunity to move forward without revisiting an event we consider part of our past.”
Prior to the trade, Chapman said he could still re-sign with the Yankees as a free agent during the offseason.
“Oh yeah, if there’s a possibility, and God willing, yes,” he said.
WATCH: Gleyber Torres highlights
Torres, considered the No. 1 prospect in the Cubs organization, was scratched from the starting lineup of the Class A Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Sunday. The Venezuelan shortstop had hit .333 (14-for-42) with 11 RBIs over his last 10 games and .275 with nine home runs and 47 RBIs in 94 games overall this season.
Warren will be beginning his second tour with the Yankees. The 28-year-old right hander enjoyed success as a reliever and spot starter from 2012-15, amassing 13 wins, a 3.39 ERA and five saves. He was traded to the Cubs this past offseason in the deal that brought second baseman Starlin Castro to the Bronx, but struggled, posting a 5.91 ERA in 29 appearances before being sent down to Triple-A.
With Betances and Miller likely to each get opportunities to close, Warren figures to be inserted into the seventh-inning setup role.
McKinney, 21, who was tabbed by Baseball America as the Cubs’ seventh-ranked prospect, had spent the 2016 season with the Double-A Tennessee Smokies of the Southern League, where he hit .252 with a homer and 31 RBIs in 88 games.
Crawford, a speedy 22-year-old outfielder, was hitting .252 with three homers, 30 RBIs and 22 stolen bases for Myrtle Beach at the time of the trade.
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