NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Yankees may now have the best farm system in all of baseball.
For weeks, the debate swirling around the Bombers was whether they would be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. Well, the answer came in the form of three mammoth deals in less than a week.
The Yankees, for the first time in ages, have decided to totally retool their organization with young players.
“It’s a new chapter,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “There’s going to be some young guys that get a chance, and I’m excited about that.”
In a move deemed necessary given his contract situation and high value, Aroldis Chapman was traded early last week to the Cubs for a package of four players, including Chicago’s top prospect, infielder Gleyber Torres. The idea was then to see how the Yankees, who have been at or around .500 all season, fared in their final six games leading up to the deadline. The answer came in the form of a 2-4 trip through Houston and Tampa Bay, which ended with three straight losses to the lowly Rays.
For the sake of a better cliche, the Yankees saw the writing on the wall. The playoffs are a pipe dream.
General manager Brian Cashman followed up the Chapman move by sending star reliever Andrew Miller to the Cleveland Indians on Sunday for four more players, including prized outfielder Clint Frazier. The Yankees then shipped veteran outfielder Carlos Beltran to the Texas Rangers on Monday afternoon for right-hander Dillon Tate, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 draft, and two other minor leaguers.
“Brian and his staff and the organization is trying to put this team in a good position to have a long run of not just playing well, but winning championships,” Girardi said. “It’s not about being … a second wild-card team and winning one game or losing one. We want to win championships.”
Beltran, who is 39 and in the final year of a three-year, $45 million contract, is hitting .304 with 22 home runs and 64 RBIs this season. He is a .332 hitter with 16 homers and 40 RBIs in 52 career postseason games, which would further explain why teams like the Rangers, Indians and Boston Red Sox had interest.
“I think as a player, you know that this moment could happen. But when it happens, it hits you,” Beltran said.
Tate, 22, received a $4.2 million signing bonus from the Rangers and is 3-3 with a 5.12 ERA this year in 16 starts and one relief appearance for Class A Hickory in the South Atlantic League.
The Yankees pulled one last deal off before the deadline, trading right-hander Ivan Nova to the Pittsburgh Pirates for two players to be named.
Nova is 7-6 with a 4.90 ERA in 15 starts and six relief appearances, his inconsistency among the reasons the Yankees have struggled for much of this season. He was 6-11 with a 5.07 ERA over 17 starts last year in his return from Tommy John surgery.
“Hopefully I can put it together over there,” Nova said of Pittsburgh.
As for the Mets, they overcame a setback earlier Monday and eventually reached a deal with the Cincinnati Reds for slugger Jay Bruce.
“This was an opportunity to deal from a position of relative strength in the system to acquire some offense that we felt we needed,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said.
According to various reports, New York first had a deal in place with Cincinnati, but a medical issue with one of the Mets’ players initially in the trade put things on hold, forcing the teams to try to come to an agreement on a new player.
And come to an agreement they did.
Young infielder Dilson Herrera and minor league pitcher Max Wotell were sent to the Reds, as the Mets bolstered their depleted lineup prior to the 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline.
“The only thing to do now is go play baseball, and that’s what I’m going to do,” Bruce told Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal after learning of the trade.
Just before the clock ran out, the Mets reacquired left-hander Jon Niese from Pittsburgh for reliever Antonio Bastardo.
The Mets (54-50), who sit 2 1/2 games out of the second wild card spot in the National League, have struggled mightily on offense all season, including epic problems with runners in scoring position. Injuries have not helped matters as first baseman Lucas Duda has been out for months with a stress fracture in his back, and David Wright is out for the season due to a neck injury. Juan Lagares, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jose Reyes are also currently sidelined.
Bruce makes sense on several levels. He has 25 homers and an NL-leading 80 RBIs. He is also hitting .360 with 52 RBIs, four doubles, two triples and eight home runs with RISP.
“I do think, given our situation right now and the quality of players we have right now otherwise in the clubhouse, somebody like Jay Bruce can be a catalyst for more productive performance out of the other players that we have, especially sitting in the middle of our order,” Alderson said.
The 29-year-old outfielder’s contract contains a 2017 team option for $13 million, which could offset the potential loss of Yoenis Cespedes, who can opt out of his contract after this season. If Cespedes returns next season, the Mets will have a formidable outfield, from an offensive perspective.
“We would not have done the deal without the extra year of control,” Alderson said. “We were not looking for a rental player, certainly not looking to give up the kind of talent we did for the next two months.”
In nine major league seasons, Bruce has 233 homers and 718 RBIs.