Re-grading the New York Yankees’ 2021 trade deadline moves

MIAMI, FL - JULY 30: Anthony Rizzo #48 and Joey Gallo #13 of the New York Yankees warm up before the game against the Miami Marlins at loanDepot park on July 30, 2021 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JULY 30: Anthony Rizzo #48 and Joey Gallo #13 of the New York Yankees warm up before the game against the Miami Marlins at loanDepot park on July 30, 2021 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /

It’s Captain Hindsight time! Although … many would agree it doesn’t take the Captain of all Hindsight Takes to provide the proper assessment of the New York Yankees‘ 2021 trade deadline moves.

Unfortunately, the cumulative grade drops as well, because Wandy Peralta was acquired last April and nowhere near the midseason cutoff. Sorry, Mr. Cashman, but we need to be as objective as possible here.

Some of last year’s moves had fans thrilled, puzzled, underwhelmed and full of curiosity. Close to a year later? Pretty much the same. But there are some intriguing developments that have arisen since.

The Yankees made four trades in between July 26, 2021 and July 31, 2021 that both changed the complexion of this team, infuriated fans, and either helped or hurt what other moves could’ve been made this past offseason.

Re-grading the New York Yankees’ 2021 trade deadline moves

Let’s begin with the elephant in the room and get that one out of the way so we can have a more nuanced conversation about the others.

Yankees trade prospects P Glenn Otto, 2B Ezequiel Duran, UTIL Trevor Hauver and INF Josh Smith to Rangers for OF Joey Gallo and RP Joely Rodriguez

How’s this one going, you ask? It was never going well! But what the haters don’t realize is that the Yankees were set to lose three of those four prospects in the subsequent Rule 5 Draft, with the only asset they really surrendered early being Trevor Hauver.

The bigger story here is Gallo’s epic failures, which feature bad defense and a .162/.290/.364 slash line with 18 homers, 29 RBI and an 83 OPS+ in 98 games with New York. The Yankees needed a lefty slugging outfielder to help them out now while all the prospects they traded were either far off from their MLB debuts, blocked by MLB talent, or blocked by superior talent in the farm system. So, while the haul didn’t matter, Gallo’s performance puts the nail in the coffin.

Grade: D+

Yankees trade P Alexander Vizcaino and OF Kevin Alcantara to Cubs for 1B Anthony Rizzo

Could it be better? Sure. Rizzo started off hot when he arrived last year, but then was pedestrian at best after going down with COVID. Then, after re-signing in the offseason, he was scorching the first few weeks of April, which carried the team, but now has been bad offensively for a full month. It needs to pick up, but it could be worse. His veteran leadership and consistent defense has helped the Yankees more than the average fan can actually diagnose.

As for the prospects surrendered, it was the same situation as above. The Yankees had depth in the farm and more talented options than Vizcaino and Alcantara. Additionally, Vizcaino has been on the Cubs’ restricted list since mid-March and we don’t know why. As for Alcantara, he’s been pretty good at Single-A. That’s about it. And the Yankees got the Cubs to pay for Rizzo’s remaining salary. That’s a win.

Grade: B+

Yankees trade INF Hoy Park and INF Diego Castillo to Pirates for RP Clay Holmes

You know the grade here. Holmes has become the closer of the future in New York after a few tweaks made by pitching coach Matt Blake. Holmes arrived in the Bronx with an ERA north of 5.00. Across 48 games with the Yankees, he’s 9-2 with a 1.03 ERA, 1.77 FIP, 0.74 WHIP, 6 saves and 60 strikeouts in 52.2 innings.

On the other hand, Park and Castillo are bad. Never had a future in the Bronx unless they blew projections out of the water and climbed the ladder Anthony Volpe-style. They’ve both reached the majors with Pittsburgh, but haven’t done much of anything (and also weren’t exactly great in the minors).

Grade: A++

Yankees trade pitchers Janson Junk and Elvis Peguero to Angels for SP Andrew Heaney

Heaney is now gone after joining the Los Angeles Dodgers in the offseason, and after two impressive starts he’s been on the shelf with a shoulder injury, now having not pitched since April 17. He was a disaster with the Yankees, registering a 7.32 ERA, 6.93 FIP and 1.35 WHIP in 12 games (35.2 innings). He allowed an impossible 13 home runs and played a chief role in ensuring the Yankees would be on the road for the AL Wild Card Game.

Junk and Peguero have reached the majors for the Angels, but neither have exactly turned heads. Junk appeared on Pitching Ninja one time, but that was it. He’s gotten rocked at Triple-A to start this season and owns a 3.63 ERA, 5.99 FIP and 1.33 WHIP with 11 strikeouts in 17.1 big-league innings. Peguero was dominant to start the year at Triple-A, but has gotten rocked in five big-league appearances (24.55 ERA and 3.82 WHIP). Again, the Yankees surrendered nobody of note, but Heaney was a travesty and fans are glad he’s gone.

Grade: D+ (but a C+ for effort!)