The Yankees, over the past few days, in three separate articles, were suggested as a pursuer of pitcher Gerrit Cole of the Pittsburg Pirates at the trade deadline. Cole is an excellent pitcher, but something is wrong here. It’s way too early to talk about the trading deadline.
A lot can happen between now and then. Just a few weeks ago, when the Yankees record was 1-4, the talk was the opposite. Then, sportswriters and fans were talking about who the team could unload at the deadline. Back then it was too early to speculate. Just like now.
Not that I wouldn’t want Cole. It’s just that again; it’s too early to speculate. For all we know, the Pirates could weasel their way into contention. All of which means the right-hander will probably not be available.
Do you remember these deals?
So, while it may be too early to speculate on trades of the future, there is nothing wrong with going back in time and remembering some great Yankee trades of years gone by. Here are my three favorites of the past quarter century.
During the 1995 campaign, the Yankees were struggling to stay in contention. Most of it was due to injuries. However, after Jack McDowell, the pitching was thin too. On July 28th of that year, the team acquired ace David Cone from the Toronto Blue Jays for minor leaguers Marty Janzen, Jason Jarvis, and Mike Gordon.
Cone would pitch the Yankees into the wild card. Despite losing in five games, Cone returned, signing as a free agent. There was significant competition for his services, and Cone was almost lost to the Orioles. It took a last minute call from George Steinbrenner to change Cone’s mind. Oh, and none of those mentioned above minor leaguers ever panned out.
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The next year, on July 31, the Yankees sent a disgruntled Ruben Sierra and pitching prospect Matt Drews to the Detroit Tigers for Cecil Fielder. While in first place most of the 1996 season, the Bombers lacked power.
Together with the signing of Darryl Strawberry, the power was back. Fielder had a terrific world series, practically winning game five singlehandedly. More importantly, the Pinstripes won the World Series.
My favorite, though, is the trade that brought David Justice from the Cleveland Indians. The 2000 Yankees were looking for a third straight world series win but were struggling. The Indians were looking to dump Justice’s salary. After failed attempts at acquiring either Juan Gonzalez or Sammy Sosa, the Yankees turned to Justice.
The trade cost the Yankees outfielder Ricky Ledee and pitchers Jack Westbrook and Zach Day. While Westbrook would have a few good seasons in Cleveland, Justice carried the team on his back. The Bombers went on to win the fall classic for the third straight year.
While these trades turned out great for the team, there are those that haven’t. Trading promising outfielder Jay Buhner to the Mariners for Ken Phelps being one. You didn’t even have to watch Seinfeld to see the perverse humor in that trade.
For the Yankees, Aaron Judge ironically presents the team with a huge problem. The task of solving it falls to Jason Zillo, Judge's new Guardian Angel.
So, while my contention is that it’s too early to talk about this year’s deadline, it is fun to look back on some great deals the Yankees have made. If you’re like me, you can even laugh at the bad ones. What is your favorite Yankees deadline deal?