A lot of big-time Brian Cashman trades have the 2021 New York Yankees in prime playoff positioning after their dreadful start to the year. And fans are certainly thankful.
Where would this team be without guys like Anthony Rizzo, Joey Gallo, Giancarlo Stanton, Luke Voit, Jameson Taillon and others? Cashman’s acquired all of those guys within the last few years, but there are a number of other smaller, lesser known transactions that paved the way for other acquisitions.
Cashman’s not impervious to criticism, but he certainly deserves more credit more times than not from this unforgiving fanbase (us included). Almost all of his trades are strategic chess moves that either have the Yankees looking years ahead or preserving the talents they value the most.
So how far do we have to dig back? The first of these deals came in 2014 and actually helped fortify the Yankees bullpen over the last few years, then helped them overhaul it ahead of this year’s trade deadline.
You might remember some of these trades, but they certainly aren’t at the forefront of your mind right now. And the average Yankees fan might not even be aware they happened! The baseball world moves fast; we’re not faulting anyone here.
Even we forgot about one of these! Let’s take a trip back in time, shall we?
These three forgotten Brian Cashman trades have set up the Yankees well.
3. Francisco Cervelli for Justin Wilson (2014)
You might be asking how in the world this helps the 2021 Yankees, and you’ll be doing the same for the next one on this list. But this is the prime example of “ripple effect.”
The Yankees dealt catcher Francisco Cervelli to the Pittsburgh Pirates for left-handed reliever Justin Wilson. No need to groan, we know how you feel about him. This move was made in November of 2014, so Wilson spent the 2015 campaign with the Yankees before being dealt to the contending (ha!) Detroit Tigers the following offseason.
Who’d the Yankees get in return? Luis Cessa and Chad Green. We all know that deal. Green is still a competent (somewhat) bullpen piece for the Bombers when he’s able to locate his fastball and mix in his curve effectively, and, if we’re being honest, Cessa was very important in 2021. He helped stabilize a struggling bullpen up until he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds (with Wilson!) before the deadline.
That allowed the Yankees to free up some money and a couple of roster spots, which, in turn, led to the acquisitions of Clay Holmes, Joely Rodriguez, Andrew Heaney, Gallo and Rizzo. It also helped Albert Abreu find some more meaningful innings, and he’s been really good ever since the Rays bashed him in back in late July.
You see what we’re getting at here?