The all-powerful, all-encompassing Yankees faced a conundrum at the trade deadline.
They wanted to add talent to a middling roster, but they wanted to do so without paying even a single penny, lest they get closer than $3 million away from the imaginary luxury tax line at any point.
Luckily, ownership (along with Brian Cashman) devised a plan: get us some wiggle room by trading from a strength and attaching a problematic contract to a useful pitcher.
Thus, the 1:00 AM trade of Luis Cessa and Justin Wilson to the Cincinnati Reds was born, and as soon as it was consummated, fans immediately began dreaming of what might come next. So much financial flexibility, after all.
Only problem? Neither trade cost even one cent; the Rangers and Cubs picked up their players’ salaries in exchange for a better prospect package.
Now that the Yankees are hurting for active arms in the bullpen, and dumping Cessa has proven unrelated to anything else they accomplished, it’s fair for us to ask, “Why?”
Did the Yankees really need to trade Luis Cessa? And, um…Justin Wilson I guess?
The New Yankees (post-trade deadline) are far more exciting than the Old Yankees. They’ve vaulted themselves back firmly into playoff contention.
But a rash of COVID IL stints and excessive pitching injuries have forced the team to plunder the farm and employ full-on bullpen games these past few weeks. All that strain would be far more tolerable if they’d had Cessa to handle two-or-three-inning stretches as opposed to keeping Nick Nelson on the always-in-motion Scranton Shuttle.
It was bothersome enough the Yankees were that concerned about their payroll at the deadline. It’s extra maddening now that the wiggle room didn’t even come close to mattering. Sure, Wilson’s salary is off the books next year, too, but…I thought we were back to not caring after we cleared the threshold this season? Did I not read the room right?
Just to rub salt in this confusing deadline wound, let’s check in on Cessa since the deadline on the surging Reds, huh? Because oh-by-the-way…they’re good now, and are nipping at the Padres’ heels for the second Wild Card.
The righty’s posted a 1.93 ERA in 4.2 innings since the trade, and is in the midst of an 0.9-WAR season. Bullpen arms don’t rack up WAR too easily, but rest assured, Cessa edges out EVERYDAY CONTRIBUTOR GLEYBER TORRES, who’s currently residing on the Injured List.
The Yankees wouldn’t dare move Torres right now, but they traded someone who’s been more valuable for salary relief they didn’t end up using. Logical, sensical, joyful.