Yankees: How Brian Cashman’s brilliance framed the franchise’s resurgence

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TAMPA, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 21: (EDITOR’S NOTE:SATURATION HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM THIS IMAGE) Clint Frazier #77 of the New York Yankees poses for a portrait during the New York Yankees Photo Day on February 21, 2019 at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Just days following the aforementioned Aroldis Chapman trade in July of 2016, Brian Cashman shipped All-Star reliever, Andrew Miller, to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for four prospects: top prospects Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield along with relievers Ben Heller and J.P. Feyereisen. This trade officially signaled that the Yankees were sellers at the 2016 Trade Deadline, something that had not happened in twenty years.

The Indians, similarly to the Cubs with Chapman, overpaid in order to secure Miller’s last-game dominance for the next 2.5 years. Both Frazier and Sheffield were at least a year away from being Major League ready, but their potential had the baseball industry lauding Cashman for his return. Miller went on to have success with the Indians, playing a major role in the team reaching Game 7 of the 2016 World Series before losing to the Chicago Cubs in extra innings.

From the Yankees’ perspective, their return has panned out nicely. Frazier, after ups and downs during his first two seasons in the MLB, has blossomed into a consistent hitter in 2019, making himself a long-term option in left field for the Yankees. Sheffield, after making his MLB debut in September of 2018, was shipped off to the Seattle Mariners with two other prospects in return for Seattle’s ace, LHP James Paxton.

If Paxton can stay healthy, the Yankees will have netted a young, controllable, power-hitting corner outfielder as well as a legitimate frontline starter from their initial return on the Miller trade.

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Heller and Feyereisen have not made noticeable contributions at the big-league level yet, but at this point, any positive production from either player is just an added bonus to the already wildly successful 2016 Andrew Miller trade.