With "Pencils Down!" tweets approaching from all corners of the baseball reporter landscape on Tuesday evening, the New York Yankees decided to get off the couch and make one singular trade to join the rest of the league.
Yes. Seriously. Just a few hours before 6:00 PM EST on the day of the deadline, the Yankees remained the only team in the league not to participate in an in-season trade this year. At 5:57 PM EST, however, Jeff Passan dropped the bombshell of all bombshells.
The Yankees, trapped between buying and selling, had shown faith in the current roster as well as Tomorrow's Bombers by ... selling no one? And trading for rental reliever Keynan Middleton? ...What?
Middleton arrived midway through Wednesday's game, and while he seems completely serviceable/competent and will slot into Jimmy Cordero's role as the sixth man on the bullpen pecking order, there's still been very little public justification for his addition (and for the lack of a ripple effect). And what of Juan Carela, the pitching prospect they surrendered? Sure, he wasn't knocking on the door of the big leagues, but were we really prepared to sneeze at 109 Ks in 83.1 innings with the High-A Hudson Valley Renegades?
Per MLB Pipeline's assessment of the prospects surrendered at the deadline, perhaps we should've been more prepared to sneeze. Sam Dykstra ranked Carela 38th of the 40 names exchanged. Based on that logic, Middleton could provide the same value in Aug. and Sept. alone.
Former Yankees prospect Juan Carela might not be as big a prospect loss as he seems
For as poorly as they've done in recent years at graduating talent to the MLB level, the Yankees have a ton of prospects knocking at the doors of the upper levels. They've got so much pitching and middle infield talent that they've been forced to keep dominant performers in the low minors (infielder Jared Serna, righties Brendan Beck and Drew Thorpe).
Trading Carela seems to have been a step forward in unclogging their pipeline, even though we probably would've preferred to see more prospects go in the name of doing a better job at that stated task. At some point, New York is going to have to get less precious here.
Hopefully, Middleton can do a little more than just soak up innings, making this particular swap somewhat worthwhile. Something -- anything -- that might be worth a 2024 flyer would be a nice step forward, in exchange for a prospect that most seem not to believe in.