Yankees: How Brian Cashman’s brilliance framed the franchise’s resurgence
By Philip Bork
After showing obvious signs of rebuilding at the 2016 Trade Deadline, many did not expect the 2017 Yankees to be a serious playoff contender. With some creative offseason additions, along with the re-signing of closer Aroldis Chapman, the Yankees overachieved expectations through the first four months of the season, positioning themselves to once again be “buyers” at the Trade Deadline.
In this day and age, it is very rare to see a team package multiple Major League players in one single trade. Some argue it doesn’t achieve each player’s maximum return, but the rebuilding Chicago White Sox had no qualms about doing so. On July 18th, 2017, Brian Cashman scored a trio of players off of the White Sox’s 25-man roster: corner infielder Todd Frazier, former Yankees reliever David Robertson, and young, power reliever, Tommy Kahnle.
In return, the White Sox received three minor league prospects: LHP Ian Clarkin, and outfielders Blake Rutherford and Tito Polo. To help offset salary costs for the Yankees, the White Sox also took on veteran reliever Tyler Clippard and his remaining contract. At the very least, Cashman got rid of Tyler Clippard who had struggled mightily in 2017 and was by no means a fan favorite in the Bronx. Robertson, Frazier, and Kahnle all performed very well during the stretch run in 2017, helping the Yankees make the playoffs as a Wild Card team.
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In the dramatic 2017 American League Wild Card Game, Robertson and Kahnle combined to throw 5 2/3 scoreless innings out of the bullpen after starter Luis Severino lasted just a third of an inning. None of the three prospects the White Sox acquired have reached the Major Leagues, and only Blake Rutherford (#9) is ranked as one of the team’s Top-30 Prospects entering the 2019 season.
Kahnle is the only one of the three players still with the Yankees and so far this season he’s been outstanding. Nevertheless, Cashman’s blockbuster deal that July helped New York get within one game of the 2017 World Series.