Instant Reaction to the Yankees Trading Andrew Miller

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

With the Yankees losing the first two games of their current series to the lowly Tampa Bay Rays, management finally conceded to a clean sweep of the roster, sending newly minted closer Andrew Miller to the Cleveland Indians.

Believe-land is at it again. First, it was LeBron James and company winning Cleveland’s first sports title since 1964. And now it looks like the current iteration of everyone’s favorite comedy baseball movie of the 90s is on their way to locking up an Ameican League playoff spot.

With a little more than 24 hours until the conclusion of the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline, the Yankees, and the Indians reached an agreement on a massive trade that sees Andrew Miller turn in his pinstripes for the moniker of ‘Chief Wahoo.’

In return, the Yankees continue their brand rebuild by acquiring the Indians’ No. 1 overall prospect (No. 21 in all of baseball)–outfielder Clint Frazier; No. 5 overall prospect (No. 69 in all of baseball)–left-handed pitcher Justus Sheffield, and minor league pitchers Ben Heller (No. 30 overall prospect) and J.P. Feyereisen.

For Yankees fans, losing Miller is bittersweet. Upon learning about the deal, I immediately began singing Boyz II Men’s 1991 hit “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye.” Miller wanted to be a Yankee from day one. He even agreed to waive his initial stance for a no-trade clause when signing with the club back in 2015, because he received the exact deal he so desired.

Yes, Miller had two years left of club control at a reasonable $9 million per season. And sure, he’s been dominant yet again in 2016, pitching to the tune of a 1.39 ERA with a 77-to-7 K/BB ratio and a 52.9 percent ground-ball rate in 45 1/3 innings.

But at the end of the day, what’s the point of having quite possibly the most dominant left-handed closer in all of the American League, if you can’t beat teams like the last place Rays?

So the rebuild is on. And for the first time in Brian Cashman’s 18-year run as General Manager of the Yankees, he’s actually allowed to do what his job title requires, to build the organization from within.

Many in baseball feel that Frazier is well on his way to becoming the next Mike Trout. High praise indeed, this five-tool player has an ETA of 2017 from This season, at stops in Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus, the red-head with the big hair and even larger personality, is hitting a combined .273 with 13 home runs and 48 RBI.

If (not when), Frazier can harness his raw power, aggressive approach, and continue to develop a keen batter’s eye, there is no reason as to why he can’t become a legitimate perennial All-Star.

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With Aaron Judge all but promised the starting RF job in 2017, if Frazier were to make the big league roster out of Spring Training, a slide to LF would make Brett Gardner all but expendable. Unless of course, some team is desperate willing to take on Jacoby Ellsbury and his declining all-around game, then Frazier stays in his natural CF position.

As for Justus Sheffield, the former first round pick back in 2014 is a bit small at 5’10”, but if he has any of the competitive juices as that of his uncle Gary Sheffield, then all will be fine. A left-handed pitcher that can keep the ball in the yard, which is especially important in the bandbox that is Yankee Stadium, Sheffield has a fastball that regularly sits in the 92-94 range, a solid downward spiraling curveball that projects as his best pitch, and a developing changeup.

If those in the Yankees organization responsible for doing so, can work on improving Sheffield’s quality of strikes while reinforcing those secondary pitches, he should develop within the next few years into a crafty No. 3 option.

As for 24-year-old pitcher Ben Heller, he regularly reaches triple digits on his fastball, while also honing in on the improvement of a very good slider. Before being promoted to Triple-A, Heller only allowed one earned run in 16.1 innings of work out of the ‘pen. Heller’s two solid pitches could see him reach the big leagues as soon as this August.

Lastly, there is the obligatory throw-in piece, 23-year-old J.P. Feyereisen. Currently pitching in Double-A, Feyereisen has compiled a 2.23 ERA with a 56-to-20 K/BB ratio in 40 1/3 innings of relief this season.

All-in-all it’s a very good trade. I’m not sure it’s quite as good as what the Yankees could have gotten from a club like the Washington Nationals (with a little-induced pressure), or the haul they got from the Chicago Cubs for Aroldis Chapman, but at least it’s a proactive deal.

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While this deal all but concedes contending in 2016, the future has never looked brighter for a Yankees system hell-bent on changing their old free-spending ways .