Freddie Freeman is no longer an option for the New York Yankees after Anthony Rizzo re-signed late on Tuesday night … but you know who he’s also probably no longer an option for? The Toronto Blue Jays.
On Wednesday morning, the Jays landed third baseman Matt Chapman in a trade with the Oakland Athletics, which, admittedly, bolstered their roster nicely. However, this all but officially eliminates Freeman as a possibility unless they want Vladimir Guerrero Jr. logging most of his reps as a designated hitter. Could be possible! But not entirely likely.
It’s not like the Jays have an infinite amount of money, either. As more additions come in, it’s going to tighten the payroll for 2022, 2023 and beyond. A $30 million AAV deal for Freeman would seem difficult to squeeze in.
But another layer to all this is the Blue Jays’ front office absolutely gutting their farm system in what appears to be an all-in attempt for the next couple of years. Though Yankees fans would like to see their team doing something of that nature, at least some can take solace in the fact Toronto is really exposing itself to liability down the road.
For example, are Matt Chapman and Jose Berrios good baseball players? Absolutely. Are they worth selling off four top-10 prospects (plus more)? Certainly worth discussing!
Toronto has lined things up well, with most of their star, controllable players not hitting free agency until after 2024, so they can theoretically afford to ditch as many top prospects now in the name of contention.
The Blue Jays trading for Matt Chapman is a win for the Yankees.
That being said, this is also a win for the Yankees, who boast an incredibly deep farm system with two of the game’s most highly-regarded talents. Outside of contending right now, the Yankees have a clear roadmap for future success when the next era of Bombers baseball arrives.
Additionally, though we do rag on the Yankees for not risking more, one could argue the value that was surrendered for both Chapman (coming off an incredibly lackluster season with a .210 average, .716 OPS and 100 OPS+) and Berrios (a 4.04 ERA pitcher, who largely gets tattooed by AL East teams other than the Orioles) was excessive.
This isn’t a knock on the Jays — it’s just an attempt to put things into perspective when the Yankees do their famous cost analysis whenever they make trades with their precious prospects. Would you have preferred Chapman for two years if it cost you that many prospects? Or Donaldson for two high-priced years and Isiah Kiner-Falefa for Gio Urshela and Gary Sánchez?
Lastly, the Yankees’ farm remaining untouched since the Joey Gallo deal allows them to be more aggressive at this year’s trade deadline, if they wish to make another splash there.
And don’t forget, they’re still reportedly in the market for a starting pitcher and have been in contact with the A’s on that front. This isn’t over, even though it may seem a bit underwhelming and discouraging. But as the Jays empty out their assets just to keep pace with the Yankees (which is truly the reality of the situation), the Yankees are ensuring they’re stocked on all fronts.