The 2022 Trade Deadline has come and past. The Yankees did much of their heavy lifting the last week or so, acquiring Andrew Benintendi, Frankie Montas, Lou Trivino, and Scott Effross with a day to spare. I recapped those trades here and here. They weren’t done though, making two more deals today before the buzzer sounded. Let’s recap those moves and dive into my thoughts so I can get them out of my head.
Yankees trade Jordan Montgomery for Harrison Bader
I’m going to go backwards and start with the trade that was announced minutes before the deadline. Brian Cashman shocked the Yankee-sphere and traded left hander Jordan Montgomery to the St. Louis Cardinals for outfielder Harrison Bader. My initial reaction was the same as most and that was “what the f***?”. That was followed by realizing there were still a few minutes to spare before the 6 PM cutoff and the thought that something else was coming. That never happened.
Two things are true here. The first is that this is a good move. The second is that it’s kind of confusing. Nobody really saw this coming. Jordan Montgomery has been a steady hand in the Yankees rotation over his entire career and this year was no different. His 3.69 ERA (3.91) FIP in 21 starts this year were right in line with what he has done his whole career. You know what you’re getting out of Monty more often than not. He will not wow you but he’s going to keep you in the game.
Harrison Bader is also a good player and by far the best center field option the Yankees have. Last year Harrison hit .267/.324/.460 with a 110 wRC+ while registering 15 DRS and 14 OOA in center field. This year he has regressed a bit, sinking down to a .256/.303/.370 line with a 93 wRC+, -2 DRS, and 5 OOA in the outfield. Bader brings an added element on the base paths, averaging 17 stolen bases per 162 games over his career and rating positively in BsR every season in The Show.
The problem is, he won’t be on their roster right away. Bader is on the IL with Plantar Fasciitis and at best still a few weeks away from being back. The Cardinals included a stipulation that if Bader doesn’t return this season they will send over a player from a list of players agreed upon before the trade to compensate. The Yankees will be waiting a bit before seeing any return on investment.
For a team that stressed the need for starting pitching up until literally the final second of the deadline this move seems strange on the surface. The more I think it through though I understand the logic. Montgomery was never going to be a part of the Yankees playoff rotation assuming health (never a given). Given that, he was only going to contribute in a relief role and his profile doesn’t make that much sense coming out of the ‘pen. We were looking at an overqualified mop-up guy in the postseason.
The Yankees clearly didn’t think there was much of a difference in the next ten or so starts of Montgomery versus Domingo German. I beg the differ, but what do I know? I’m just some dude rambling on a blog. The Yankees have earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to pitching. The large division lead provides them some padding for a slight drop off in production from their fifth starter.
For all the improvements the Yankees have made on defense they had one position of weakness and that was center field. Their collective -6 DRS ranks 26th in the league. Aaron Judge has done an admirable job manning that position but the Yankees want to save him from the wear and tear on his body long term. Aaron Hicks has lost arm strength and has rated much better in left than center this season. They clearly view him at the corners going forward. When (if) he comes back, Bader will give the Yankees a slam dunk center fielder that shores up their one remaining defensive weakness.
In terms of player control it’s a wash. Montgomery and Bader both have another year under contract before becoming free agents after 2023. Montgomery is the kind of profile that won’t ever fetch a ton in a trade. The Bombers landed an up the middle player for a guy that didn’t have a role on a playoff staff. If the Yankees weren’t going to sign Monty long term, cashing in now checks out.
This is a move targeted toward October. The Yankees used a back of the rotation starter they won’t need in October to shore up their defense and area of weakness for the next year and a half. They can more easily replace Jordan Montgomery’s production than they can find a legit center fielder. Outside of Aaron Judge, Brandon Nimmo, and Andrew Benintendi the outfielder market is pretty weak this offseason. Now the Yankees don’t really have to worry about it if they resign Judge.
I don’t love dealing for an injured player. The Yankees have been better this year in injury management but over the last few years have been terrible at keeping guys healthy. Trading for a guy on the IL with a foot injury that relies on his legs to make an impact isn’t ideal. Furthermore, the Yankees dealt almost all their major league ready starting pitching depth and this leaves them with only Clarke Schmidt behind the main five until Severino comes back. Pitchers can fall fast and the Yankees went from area of strength to potential area of vulnerability really fast. They better hope the pitching remains healthy the rest of the way.
Outside of those two things I think this is a strong move. The Yankees seem to be realizing how efficient their pitching machine has become at replenishing itself and are cashing that in when they can. Defense and base running have been key changes to this years philosophy and Bader strengthens those areas even more. You take the up the middle guy over the back end starter every day of the week and thats what Cashman did here.
Joey Gallo goes to Los Angeles
Everyone and their mother knew Joey Gallo was going to be dealt today. It was just a matter of where. Turns out the answer was Los Angeles, as the Dodgers struck a deal to land the outfielder for right hander Clayton Beeter. Beeter was a competitive balance pick by Los Angeles (66th overall) in 2020 and has topped out in Double-A this season.
Clayton has a fastball that has touched 98 mph with carry and is a 60-grade pitch according to MLB.com. His high-spin curveball is a new pitch the Dodgers taught him to replace his slider and also grades as 60 on the 20-80 scale. Beeter has averaged 15.33 K/9 and 6.10 BB/9 this season in 51.2 innings. So yeah, electric stuff that he has no idea where it is going. Though he has spent his entire career thus far as a starter, chances are his future is in the bullpen.
This is a guy that seems right up the Yankees (and Dodgers) alley. Smart franchises do smart things and Beeter likely rated highly in the Yankees evaluation. For as poorly as Gallo had performed this year, getting a guy like this is a win. Clayton slots into the #10 spot on the Yankees top prospects list.
As for Gallo I don’t know what is left to say that hasn’t been said. If I did I would be beating a dead horse. If you haven’t already read it I will point you to this Q&A with Joey that was published this morning. I know how Yankees fans are programmed and that it comes with the supposed territory but that kind of stuff makes me sick to my stomach. Nobody should be afraid to go outside because of how they perform on the field. As Yankees fans, we should really do better.
Gallo was a Yankees fan growing up and really wanted to succeed in the Bronx. By all accounts he worked hard to right the ship in Pinstripes through the tough times. He didn’t make excuses or hide when asked about the struggles, owning up to the fact he wasn’t playing well. It just didn’t work out. It’s not his fault he was added to a roster that had players that shared his same flaws. Sometimes it’s just not a match. Theres obviously a level of personal responsibility here to perform and it didn’t happen but it’s just a game at the end of the day.
I hope Gallo finds it in Los Angeles. Best of luck Joey.
Padres get Juan Soto, everyone else in baseball as well
I know this isn’t directly Yankees news but I have to touch on it. Padres GM A.J. Preller is a psychopath and I mean that in the best way. The dude acts like he is playing MLB The Show but does it with a real life baseball franchise. He GM’s the way we wish Brian Cashman would.
The Padres went all in (again) this week and acquired All-Star closer Josh Hader and All-Universe outfielder Juan Soto as the Friars look to bring a championship to San Diego. The Hader trade was kind of perplexing on its own for the Brewers but I am not here to talk about that. I am here to talk about Juan Soto.
I blabbed about a Juan Soto / Yankees trade here but that was more to satisfy my own itch. It was never a realistic thing for the Yankees it felt. That’s a shame and I think the Yankees will wish they had gotten Soto for a long time. It will be another 20+ years before an opportunity like this happens again. I don’t think they could’ve made an offer to actually compete though. Here is what the Padres gave up to land Soto:
SS CJ Abrams – #9 prospect in baseball coming into 2022 (has since graduated)
LHP MacKenzie Gore – #86 prospect in baseball coming into 2022 (has since graduated)
OF Robert Hassell III – #21 prospect in baseball
OF James Wood – #88 prospect in baseball
RHP Jarlin Susana – unranked in Top 100 prospects
1B/DH Luke Voit – Yankee legend
MacKenzie Gore’s ranking doesn’t do him justice. He topped out as the #3 prospect in baseball as recently as 2020 before losing his way a bit. He bounced back well this year before his recent elbow injury. Eric Hosmer was originally in the package over Luke Voit but utilized his no trade clause to nix his inclusion and was later dealt to Boston.
This is a historic package. That’s three players with six years of control that have Top-20 prospect potential, another Top-100 prospect, and a pitcher who may make his way onto that list by the end of the year. It also includes Luke Voit who, as we all know, is an icon in his own way. The Nationals did as best as they possibly could’ve in this situation. That is a hell of a package.
While that may be true I just can’t believe they actually did it. It seems fake but it’s not. The Nationals really traded their 23 year old generational hitter with 2.5 years of control for a bunch of prospects. They will be lucky if all those guys add up to even a fraction of the impact Soto has on his own over the next 15 years.
The Padres now get to boast a lineup that includes Fernando Tatis Jr, Juan Soto, and Manny Machado. This says nothing of two time All-Star Jake Cronenworth or other deadline acquisitions Josh Bell and Brandon Drury. The farm system has been gutted but nobody cares. The big league team is absolutely stacked.
The N.L. playoffs are going to be fun as hell. The Padres, Dodgers, and Mets are all stacked. The Braves are the defending champs and are legitimate threats to repeat. The Cardinals and Brewers are for real as well. I can’t wait to watch. Bravo A.J. Preller for seeing an opportunity and taking it. Bravo their ownership for approving it. Exciting time to be a Padres fan.
Luis Severino is pissed
I, along with many others, feared that Luis Severino being transferred to the 60-day IL last night meant he had suffered a setback. Turns out that was not the case. The Yankees appear to be taking it easy with their right hander. For his part, Severino was unhappy about the decision.
“I was not happy. I was not expecting that,” Severino said. “If that’s the plan they have for me to come back healthy, I have to just follow the plan.”
Aaron Boone said the lack of communication was due to the chaos of the trade deadline and that they didn’t mean to catch Sevy off guard with the decision. Cashman said they tried to walk Severino through it by showing him a calendar of the schedule and he didn’t want to look, which is hilarious.
I get why Severino is upset. He says he feels good and he wants to be on the mound. If he was healthy and didn’t want to be out there we’d have bigger problems. But this makes sense and Severino has to be realistic. He hasn’t been on the field in three years and already is approaching 100 innings this year. The Yankees have a huge division lead and they need every bullet left in Sevy’s arm to be used in the playoffs.
Boone confirmed Severino will come back as a starting pitcher and not a reliever which deems my multiple attempts at justifying the latter over the last few days pointless. The Yankees are going to use this extra time to build in more rest for their #3 playoff starter and get him built back up for October. When he comes back he’ll have a time for a couple tune up starts and hopefully be rearing to go in Round One.
I know Sevy didn’t like the choice but it’s whats best for him and the team this year. There is no need to rush him and risk a setback. They need to get this right the first time.