The Yankees trading Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs on Monday in exchange for SS Gleyber Torres, OF/DH Billy McKinney, RHP Adam Warren, and OF Rashad Crawford was a no-brainer baseball decision. And acquiring him during the offseason was also a solid move.
The notion of a three-headed lockdown relief crew at the back-end of games made sense in this new age where elite baseball relievers are coveted. Unfortunately, the rest of the Yankees roster was unable to do their part on a regular basis, rendering "No Runs DMC" to a little-used luxury.
The cost to get Chapman this offseason was low due to the domestic violence allegations following him along with the potential for a suspension (it turned out to be 30 games).
In the deal were third baseman Eric Jagielo, second baseman Tony Renda, and right-handers Rookie Davis and Caleb Cotham -- some mid-level talent at best. From a baseball perspective, the deals show the Yankees taking advantage of Chapman's trade value at both extremes.
At worst, the Yankees have turned four non-descript minor leaguers into a legitimate prospect with a bright future, a proven MLB swingman, and two minor leaguers.
Torres, the headliner, has some lofty MLB prospect ranks according to the top publications:
Baseball America - 27
Baseball Prospectus - 34
ESPN - 26
MLBPipeline - 24
These numbers indicate scouts believe Torres not only has a strong chance to reach the major leagues, but has a good shot to succeed. Torres could be ready by the 2019 season, which if he sticks at shortstop (maybe he is moved to 3B where the organization lacks depth), makes him a potential replacement for Didi Gregorius.
In 409 plate appearances this season at High-A Myrtle Beach, Torres owns a .275 average with a .359 OBP and .433 SLG. Torres has nine home runs, 47 RBIs and 19 stolen bases. He is said to have improved defensively, but has a strong enough arm to move to third base if that's what the Yankees deem best.
The Yankees have their No. 8 prospect Tyler Wade (via MLBPipeline) playing shortstop at Double-A Trenton now and Jorge Mateo, the club's No. 1 prospect, plays second base and shortstop in High-A Tampa. Having such depth at a prominent position gives the Yankees plenty of options (internal and for trading purposes) going forward. There is no such thing as too many "top-flight" prospects.
The fact that the Yankees received Adam Warren, Billy McKinney, and Rashad Crawford in the deal proves that elite relievers like Chapman are considered incredibly valuable to teams eyeing a postseason run.
Warren, who came up through the Yankees' system, was traded in the offseason for Starlin Castro. Warren has had a rough season to date, getting demoted in the process. However, he was a favorite of Yankees manager Joe Girardi, and could slide straight into a seventh inning role with Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller moving up to the eighth and ninth innings respectively.
McKinney was listed as the Cubs' No. 5 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, but the offensive stats the outfielder has put up are not exactly eye-popping. He's exhibited little-to-no power and doesn't steal bases. He owns an uninspiring .677 OPS in 349 plate appearances this season at Double-A Tennessee, after putting up a .767 OPS at the same stop last season in 309 plate appearances.
Crawford, a teammate of Torres', is a switch-hitting outfielder. Like McKinney, Crawford does not light up the board with power, but differs in that he offers a solid speed element. Crawford has 18 doubles and eight triples to go along with 22 steals in 28 attempts this season.
As for the remainder of the trade deadline period, the Yankees do not need to rush the process. They would still have a strong back end of the bullpen with Betances and Miller, which would allow the organization this week to see if they can gain more ground in the playoff race.
The one player who makes sense to trade is Carlos Beltran, simply because his contract is also coming to an end this season. However, Beltran is easily the best offensive force on the club, so if they inch closer to a playoff spot by the Aug.1 non-waiver trade deadline, the Yankees will have a big decision ahead of them.
Finally, any real sell-off puts Nathan Eovaldi, Ivan Nova, and Michael Pineda firmly on the block, and leaves open the chance that the Yankees part ways with Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez by buying out the remainder of their contracts or convincing them to waive their no-trade rights.