Yankees solid at the trade deadline but Red Sox show em how it’s done

Yoenis CespedesThis year’s Yankees team has been fairly unimpressive with injuries decimating the pitching staff and an offense that largely hasn’t lived up to the hype. Despite a -30 run differential, they are only three games out of a wild-card spot which, in Hal Steinbrenner’s world, means ignore the mediocrity and go for it.

So rather than be sellers at this year’s deadline and try to retool for the future, the Yankees were buyers as usual. They did pretty well for themselves too landing Chase Headley, Martin Prado, Stephen Drew and Brandon McCarthy for two long-shot prospects and three minor secondary pieces. However, it’s hard to look over at what the Red Sox have done and be happy about the way the Yankees are running things right now.


The Yankees essentially acquired Chase Headley, Martin Prado, Stephen Drew, Brandon McCarthy and a few others for Vidal Nuno, Kelly Johnson, Yangervis Solarte, Peter O’Brien, Rafael De Paula, cash and a player to be named later. They’re solid deals too.

The Headley deal was a little suspect as he has had a down year, has been dealing with a back injury and is a free agent at the end of the season. However, Solarte is at best a backup infielder and De Paula certainly has some question marks between starting his career so late, suspect command and inconsistent results. So the Yankees didn’t give up a lot for a rental, but a player that they get a close look at to decide if they want to re-sign or not. Headley’s health and the Yankees ability to resign him determine how good this deal will be, but it’s a deal that potentially helps down the road.

Nuno for McCarthy is similar to the Headley deal as it depends on how he performs and whether or not they can or want to re-sign him. The trade off is getting a close look at him and losing five years of control of a pitcher with underwhelming stuff.

Drew for Johnson is an easy one. Johnson was bad. he hit .219/.304/.373, played poor defense, and is currently on the DL not helping anyone. To give up him and to get a player with Drew’s potential is a no brainer. The problem with Drew is that he’s hitting .176/.255/.328 in 39 games. The upside is his defense, the fact that the slow start might be due to not playing until June, and the fact that he has hit .267/.377/.511. Most importantly, with Derek Jeter leaving this gives the Yankees a chance to evaluate him up close.

Finally, the Prado deal was another solid move. He might make too much money (he’s owed $22 million in 2015 and 2016), however, he is under control for the next two years and plays multiple positions. Sure, he’s basically a league average hitter, hitting .287/.339/.413 over the last three years, but giving up O’Brien should not be a deal breaker in this case. O’Brien has impressive power, but struggles to get on base consistently and there was some concern that he wouldn’t stick behind the plate defensively anyway.

These are mostly short-term deals designed to go for it this season, but it does open the possibility that they could all be long-term players as well. Three of them, Headley, McCarthy and Drew, are technically rentals, but the Yankees gave up very little to acquire each of them and have a great opportunity to evaluate them to determine whether or not they have a future in Pinstripes.


The Red Sox have gone and traded Jon Lester, John Lackey, Andrew Miller, Johnny Gomes, Drew, Jake Peavy, Felix Doubront and they acquired Yoenis Cespedes, Allen Craig, Joe Kelly, Johnson, Eduardo Rodriguez, Heath Hembree and Edwin Escobar.

They certainly gave up solid pieces, but what they were players that were leaving via free agency or don’t have a solid future with the team. Meanwhile, they got back Cespedes, under control in 2015, Craig, struggling this season, but had MVP votes in each of the last two years as he hit .311/.364/.852, and Rodriguez and Escobar, strong prospects rated No. 65 and 56 respectively by Baseball America.

To top that all off, the Red Sox are expected to bid on free agent Lester, who won’t have a draft pick attached to him, this offseason.


The fundamental difference here is that the Yankees are still “in it” while the Red Sox are “out”. Both teams are bad, the Red Sox slightly worse as the Yankees run differential is -30 while the Sox are at -55, but neither team really has a legitimate shot at the World Series. The Sox have admitted to this, but the Yankees are in denial (or perhaps worried that the fans can’t handle even the slightest of rebuilds).

So while they have similar chances to win it all this year, the determination by the Red Sox to punt on this season will leave them much better off in 2015 and beyond. The moves the Yankees made could potentially make them better next year, but it’s a gamble. Meanwhile, their refusal to retool means that they will not be as good as they could have been in 2015.

Think about it. Even if the Yankees snag a wild-card spot and have a one-game playoff. Who are they going to send to the mound? Hiroki Kuroda probably. Does that inspire a ton of confidence? What if they manage to win? Can they ride a rotation of Kuroda, McCarthy and David Phelps to championship No. 28? Doubtful. Is a first-round playoff exit worth it?

So instead of cling to this slimmer of hope, the Yankees might have been better off trading Kuroda or, maybe, David Robertson (with whom they haven’t even engaged in preliminary discussions to extend his contract). Or, better yet, if they had done this a year ago what could they have gotten for Robinson Cano?

That’s the thing that so bothersome with the Yankee front office right now. This seems to be a patter of no matter how bad they are, they will insist on going for it every year at the expense of future success.

Headley, McCarthy and Drew are nice, but they’re not that nice. What would have been is the haul they likely would have gotten if they dealt Cano last offseason. They lost that chance even after they knew his demands and knew they wouldn’t re-sign him. It seems like they might have lost out on another chance this time around too.

Photo by: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America.

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.
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12 Responses to Yankees solid at the trade deadline but Red Sox show em how it’s done

  1. gcorcoran says:

    Baseball reference states Headley's contract isn't done until 2015. Is that inaccurate?

  2. tom says:

    Red Sox got rid of all players that would become free agents after this season for all players that will be under control next season. They are basically restocking up for 2015 and try it again. Only thing that puzzles me is Johnson for Drew swap.. Drew still refused to play 3B or what?

    Yankees went all in for a quick fix right now without losing single "real" prospect so it is definitely worth one playoff game. However, Yankees will still need to upgrade the roster next year. Drew is in for a "tryout". lol. If Girardi and Long get a good click out of Drew then Yankees could sign him to play SS next season. Same for McCarthy in pitching version..

    With Arod aboard, I have no idea what kind of budget will Yankees set up next year. Prado basically replaces Jeter so the price of getting SS is up in the air. These are problems I see right now.

    • Yankeesfan22 says:

      I agree it is worth it for poss WC.
      We did mess up by not trading Cano at deadline last year.

      I think Yankees go big in FA again. A few nice pitchers out there Yanks have to get at least one of them.

      • Roy says:

        Yankees were positive that they would re-sign Cano for 2014. No one predicted that the Yankees would lose Cano.

        • As soon as he signed with Jay Z, much earlier than the deadline, they were well aware that he was demanding 10-years at around $250 million (actually it was $300 million). Cano also let it be known that he wasn't going to give them a discount. Previous discussions went no where and in the end their bid came no where close to the $300 million he was asking for. They certainly had a good idea of the situation at last year's deadline and refused to trade him because they had some crazy idea that they would try to win the World Series with a bad team.

  3. derp says:

    they delt lester for a one year rental they won't re-sign, just like lester.

    the miller deal was nice…. do you want to dump robertson and or betances? no? then shut up.

  4. Roy says:

    The Red Sox go into 2015 with no starting rotation. The cost to sign Lester will be Tanaka-money. The Sox have lost their inside track to re-sign Lester. The Yankees will bid heavily for Lester. Whether they win or lose the bidding war, the cost for Lester will be very high.

  5. gcorcoran says:

    I don't think the Sox were that great at the deadline. The best thing they did was get Cespedes, who is gone after next season anyway. They also got two top 100 prospects, which was good. Other than that though I am not impressed with the haul, and as someone mentioned above they lose their best pitcher with no guarantee they will ever get him back.

    • The Red Sox got an all-star outfielder, an all-star third baseman (Craig is under team control through 2017) and two strong prospects for a bunch of players that were free agents (Lester is no more or less likely to sign with them than he was a week ago). Meanwhile, the Yankees, in nearly the same situation, got nothing for players that will/could be leaving at the end of the year. It would be easier to take if we didn't sit through the same exact thing a year ago with a much, much larger trade chip.

      • gcorcoran says:

        I disagree that the Yankees and Red Sox are in the same situation right now. They are 3.5 games out of a playoff spot. The Sox sit in last place and 11 games back from the wild card. That's not the same at all. Secondly, the Sox got Craig, who is going to have to beat out Napoli and David Ortiz for playing time, both of whom are having better seasons than him by a long shot. On top of that, the guy has been horrible this year. The Cardinals got rid of him for a reason, they probably don't think he can ever duplicate his previous success again. So, I agree that Cespedes and the two prospects are good gets, but they gave up a lot and I don't think these deals are going to create long term success for them unless those prospects turn out to be good ones.

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