Yankees: Revisiting the Very Bad Brandon Drury Trade With Rays and D-Backs

Yankee fans seem to forget the team traded a very good prospect for Brandon Drury back in 2018.

This Yankees trade was really to the fault of nobody, but we have to acknowledge that it very well might have altered the current course of the New York Yankees — in a very small way.

Back in February of 2018, general manager Brian Cashman knew the Yanks needed some more depth and versatility, so he went out and acquired Brandon Drury from the Arizona Diamondbacks in what ended up being a three-team deal with the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Yanks got Drury, the D-Backs got outfielder Steven Souza Jr., and Rays got two prospects from Arizona (Anthony Banda and Colin Poche) and two from New York (Nick Solak and Taylor Widener). Turns out, this deal was a bust for New York. Drury played in just 18 games in the Bronx after two upstart campaigns in the desert before being shipped up to Toronto in the JA Happ trade.

It was especially disappointing because Drury could play all over the infield as well as the corner outfield spots, but injuries limited him significantly (as well as the late reveal that his vision was eternally blurry??), which seriously hampered his offensive numbers. At the time, Cashman said the Yankees were having a competition for the second and third base jobs, with Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, Danny Espinosa, Jace Peterson, Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Wade vying for a spot. Did they REALLY need Drury in there too?

What’s even worse? Solak could’ve easily solved those issues within a year — granted, the team might have have Gio Urshela or DJ LeMahieu now, but it would have required a lot less heavy lifting. Solak hit the majors as a member of the Texas Rangers in 2019 (he was traded there this past July) and already made an impact. In just 33 games, he slashed .293/.393/.491 with 19 runs scored, 5 homers and 17 RBI. He also logged games at second and third base at the pro level, on top of having ample outfield experience.

Solak is just 25 and has a bright future ahead of him. Even though his presence on this current Yankees team may have created an even bigger logjam, we know at this point you can never have enough depth given what this roster has faced in terms of injuries over the last few years.

Either that, or he could have been traded for a much better piece than Drury. We’re sure tossing Solak into a couple of packages for top starting pitchers could’ve maybe swayed a team like, for example, the Pirates in the previous Gerrit Cole talks? Instead, the Bombers got a lackluster, injury-filled stint from Drury and ended up with JA Happ and his $48 million contract. We know Cashman likes to get fancy, and more times than not comes out on top, but sometimes it’s best to simply do nothing.

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