The Yankees just saved one of their former prospects (temporarily) from a whirlwind existence. Unfortunately, in the process, they cut the tenure of a legend's namesake short. Like, way, way short.
It's long been speculated that infielder Jeter Downs was unsafe on the Yankees' 40-man roster, as funny as it was to both punk the Red Sox and play around with his first name upon his arrival. Downs was claimed on waivers in mid-December, but seemed mostly like a warm body with the slight potential to pop, given his former top prospect status.
Still, though, with no room on the 40-man and a few additions still ahead of them (Luke Weaver remains unofficial, and rotation depth is an ongoing necessity), it seemed likely that Downs would find his way out the door shortly, despite there still being five catchers nestled on the 40-man.
Well, Bubba Thompson, Matt Krook and Carlos Narvaez had better take long looks at the steadiness of the ground they're currently standing on, because Downs got the boot on Friday, following in Oscar González's wake. The only surprising thing is whom he got sliced in favor of. That would be Diego Castillo, who's gone from the Diamondbacks to the Mets to the Yankees in the past month.
That's what we call "full circle"; the Yankees traded Castillo, a grinder, to the Pirates in a Hoy Park package for Clay Holmes at the 2021 deadline.
Yankees scoop up Diego Castillo from Clay Holmes trade, lose Jeter Downs
With Weaver's deal still unofficial, the Yankees' front office now has the chance to do the funniest thing possible, though it would be too cruel to Castillo to pull off.
UPDATE: Yankees ended the Bubba Thompson Era a few hours later, making the Luke Weaver deal official at 6:00 PM EST.
The Yankees have very clearly gotten the better end of the Holmes trade, harnessing his power sinker in the exact fashion they envisioned when they acquired him. Castillo, though he showed off some versatility and made his Somerset coaches proud by cracking the bigs, did not hit much, posting a 77 OPS+ with 11 homers in 96 games in Pittsburgh in 2022. He is not, in fact, the burly ex-Rays right-handed reliever, though you might not know that from his batting average alone.
In summation, in the "Most Likely to Make Monument Park" Power Rankings, it goes Actual Derek Jeter (already in), (sizeable gap) Clay Holmes, (massive gap) Diego Castillo, (biggest gap possible) Jeter Downs. That seems like a win for the Yankees.