Instant Reaction to Yankees Trading Aroldis Chapman


On Monday afternoon, the New York Yankees bid adieu to closer Aroldis Chapman. While only spending three full months in pinstripes, his legacy may be felt for many years in the context of the players he was acquired for.

When the Yankees dealt for Aroldis Chapman from the Cincinnati Reds back in December, with him came the baggage of domestic violence allegations. This was the main reason why the Yankees were able to acquire a closer of Chapman’s ilk for a package of minor leaguers that only yielded one top 10 prospect in Rookie Davis (now ranked as the NO. 9 prospect for the Reds, according to

Power hitting third baseman Eric Jagielo, (current NO. 13 prospect) continues to deal with an array of injuries, most seriously being a knee issue that may eventually force him across the diamond to first base. As for second baseman Tony Renda and right-handed pitcher Caleb Cotham, at this time, both are seen as nothing more than roster fillers.

This is why the haul that Yankees gained for Chapman from the Chicago Cubs has some in baseball circles wondering how it is Brain Cashman pulled off such a coup, pilfering the likes of 19-year-old Gleyber Torres-the Cubs’ top overall prospect; the Cubs’ NO. 5 prospect Billy McKinney, 22-year-old outfielder Rashad Crawford, and the familiar face of long reliever Adam Warren.

Word has already come down from the Yankees front office, that Torres will be moving to second base, as to accommodate the club’s current NO. 1 overall prospect, Jorge Mateo. For the season, Mateo is batting .258 with six home runs and 36 RBI for Class-A Tampa, while making 53 starts at shortstop and 17 at second base. Torres, on the other hand, is hitting .275 with nine home runs and 47 RBI.

As for what the Yankees currently employ at these spoken for positions, if 26-year-old Didi Gregorius continues to play the way he has in 2016 (.297 BA, 11 home runs, and 42 RBI), he may very well cause a log-jam that could benefit the Yankees via trade-bait if/when the aforementioned prospects are ready to compete for jobs in 2018.

Second baseman Starlin Castro, who was essentially a throw-in with this Chapman deal, is a serviceable option as of right now. Batting .262, with 11 home runs and 39 RBI, while not quite worth the almost $8 million this season (this significantly increases through 2020), may be the third baseman of the future because of his versatility; though he’ll need to continue to refine his offensive game to keep the likes of 21-year-old Miguel Andujar (Yankees NO. 14 prospect) off his heels. 

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As for Billy McKinney, the quick outfielder with the average arm, who was originally acquired from the Oakland A’s in the Jeff Samardzija deal, is basically a bigger version of Brett Gardner. A mature approach at the plate, a fantastic batters eye, and an ability to hit to all fields could see McKinney become a fantastic addition to the NO. 2 hole of the Yankees’ lineup. Though he’s mostly played RF in the Cubs’ minor league system, a shift to LF that lends itself to his attributes is eventually in the cards.

Not a whole lot is known about Rashad Crawford. An 11th round pick out of high school in 2013, Crawford bats lefty, throws righty. At 6’3″, 185 lbs, he could use a little more muscle to help develop some power in his game (only eight home runs in five seasons), yet Crawford has already tallied 70 stolen bases during this time.

Then there is ex-Yankee Adam Warren. Cashman hated to trade him for Castro back in December, so he must have figured that since the 28-year-old right-hander was optioned to Triple-A last week, after posting a 5.91 ERA in 35 innings as a reliever, there was never a better time to reacquire him.

While Warren has struggled mightily this season, hopefully pitching within a familiar setting, alongside the likes of his ex-college teammate Andrew Miller, will help cure whatever it is that currently ails him. Regardless, the Yankees need to establish a legit 7th inning option, now that Dellin Betances moves to the 8th and Miller to the 9th.

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All in all, it appears that this transaction is a huge win for the Yankees and Brian Cashman. They traded away an upcoming free agent while adding the necessary pieces to stay afloat long enough for their new prized prospects to hopefully make a real impact. And who knows, maybe Chapman even resigns with the Yankees this offseason. Then all they ever would have traded to the Cubs was Brendan Ryan! Let that sink in.