Remember how the 2014 season was considered “all-in” for the Yankees during the off-season? Judging by the moves the organization made (Chase Headley and Brandon McCarthy pre-July 31st, Martin Prado and Stephen Drew the day of), the year is not lost in the minds of the Bombers.
While the Red Sox generated major buzz on Twitter from morning til 4:00 p.m., the Yankees quietly traded an underperforming infielder (Kelly Johnson) for Drew, and a prospect for the versatile Prado. Drew definitely has played poorly this year, hitting well below the Mendoza line, and will probably be forced to convert from his normal shortstop position to the unfamiliar second base side. This move was quickly followed by the designating for assignment of Brian Roberts. However, sometimes the right environment changes everything, and obviously neither Drew nor Johnson played well in their former digs.
Martin Prado has the potential to emerge as a sneaky value player. Considering Prado was traded only two short years ago for one of the most exciting outfielders this decade (Justin Upton), his stock has been humbled to a swap for a Double-A asset (albeit a powerful one; Peter O’Brien has 33 homers, but has defensive deficiencies.) The year before the Upton trade, Prado helped the Braves reach the postseason with 42 doubles and a WAR of 5.5, while playing strong defense in the outfield. While the outfield position was left field, a shift to right field would most likely yield similar results if the Yankees wish to play him there. Prado is only 30-years-old; he fits in with Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, and former teammate Brian McCann in age.
A power bat would have been a pleasant addition for the offensively-starved Yanks, but any deals that were attempted fell through. The Yankees were reportedly interested in Marlon Byrd from the Phillies, yet were unable to reach a desired number. He was due $8 million dollars next season, and had a vesting interest for the year after, not a great amount. However, Byrd’s age probably scared theses spenders away given the performances of Carlos Beltran, Alfonso Soriano, and Ichiro Suzuki…
All in all, not a terrible day. Tampa Bay traded their ace David Price, essentially bowing out of postseason contention (but don’t count them out completely; they still have Alex Cobb and crew). The Red Sox have retooled, but pose much more of a threat for 2015 than the present. The Orioles became stronger with the addition of Boston reliever Andrew Miller, but the Orioles were probably going to win the division outright. From August onward, the Yankees must focus their attention on the Blue Jays and the wild card slots, and the team thoroughly believes their July additions will help them achieve their goal.