UPDATE: The Yankees officially announced the trade sometime after midnight last night. The fourth player in the dead headed to Chicago is Tito Polo, an outfielder whom the Yankees acquired in the deal that sent Ivan Nova to Pittsburgh. Polo was actually putting up strong numbers after a promotion to Double-A and hit .298/.358/.446 in 72 games overall this season.
ORIGINAL POST: The Yankees are “very close” to a deal with the Chicago White Sox that would send righty relievers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle, as well as infielder Todd Frazier to the Bronx, according to both Ken Rosenthal and Jon Heyman. The deal hasn’t been finalized, but multiple sources are reporting that the four players headed to Chicago are Tyler Clippard, Blake Rutherford and Ian Clarkin (Feinsand, Nightengale and Sherman, respectively).
As of 11:01 p.m. EST, Joel Sherman has reported that a fourth player, a prospect, will be involved in the deal.
That makes two former Yankees headed back to the Bronx and it should form one heck of a bullpen.
Robertson, 32, is in the third year of a four year contract that pays him $12 million this season and $13 million next. However, he’s having his best season since leaving the Yankees with a 2.70 ERA (158 ERA+) a 12.7 K/9 and a 3.0 BB/9 in 33.1 innings. He’ll replace Clippard in the bullpen and provide eighth inning insurance for Dellin Betances as well.
Kahnle, who will turn 28 next month, is a former Yankee draft pick who was drafted by the Rockies in the Rule 5 Draft. He throws 100 MPH and has become a decent reliever over the past two seasons with the White Sox including a 2.50 ERA (171 ERA+) a 15.0 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 36 innings. There is no way his control will remain this good but even with some regression, Kahnle should help provide depth to the bullpen.
Frazier, 31, is a slightly-better-than-league-average player who is having a typical season with a .207/.328/.432 line in 81 games. His career line is .247/.318/.461 so there is room for slight improvement. More than anything — this finally will end the string of pathetic first basemen the Yankees have been running out there. Yankee first basemen have collectively hit .185/.275/.360 this season.
ROB’S THOUGHTS: This isn’t a terrible deal. Make no mistake — losing Rutherford is a big deal, but he isn’t a guy that is going to impact the 2018 or even the 2019 team. The Yankees are looking toward the future, but if they aren’t seriously competing without Rutherford by 2019 then something went wrong.
Aside from Rutherford, it’s easy to love the rest of the deal. Getting rid of Clippard is addition by subtraction and plugging in D-Rob and Kahnle should be a big boost.