After making Giancarlo-sized headlines over the weekend, acquiring said Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins for essentially pitching prospect Jorge Guzman (read about the Marlins’ future here), it’s a great time to be a Yankees fan.
Not even a couple years ago, New York ditched their usual ways and instead of throwing money at the Wall (Street? get it?) and seeing what sticks, took a step back and invested in younger talent.
Given the franchise’s financial fortunes, they were already set with assets to trade. Just by cleaning out their bullpen, they acquired some of the game’s best prospects for relievers Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller.
Without even mentioning Justus Sheffield or Billy McKinney (just did), the club had netted two of the game’s best prospects —Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier— in the blink of an eye.
There were other moves, as well. Carlos Beltran fetched former fourth overall pick Dillon Tate, Brian McCann netted two pitching prospects —including Miami bound Guzman— and Justin Wilson turned into dynamite reliever Chad Green.
Fast forward to the 2017 trade deadline, with the rebuild done and over with before you could even say “Severino,” the Yankees traded three prospects for Sonny Gray.
Gone from a now loaded farm system were Dustin Fowler, James Kaprielian and Jorge Mateo. 2016 first-rounder Blake Rutherford also departed to Chicago in return for three White Sox veterans, including former Yankee David Robertson.
All four players were homegrown by the Yankees but since replaced in the lightning fast rebuild. Couple that with several new developing prospects like Chance Adams, Estevan Florial and Miguel Andujar and the Yankees —even after trades for Gray, Robertson/Todd Frazier/Tommy Kahnle and now Stanton— are still as loaded as any team in baseball.
With that said, the free agent market in 2017 is top heavy. The Yankees certainly won’t be in play for the big boppers like J.D. Martinez, Yu Darvish, Eric Hosmer or even an Alex Cobb. But the trade market could be where the magic is made...again.
The Baltimore Orioles are shopping Manny Machado, destined for free agency in 2019. There’s also dominant closer Zach Britton, also set to hit the market that same winter for the O’s. The Pittsburgh Pirates are fielding offers on Gerrit Cole, under team control for two more seasons. The San Diego Padres will see just how much they can get for waiver darling closer Brad Hand. Tampa Bay could test the market for ace Chris Archer. Jackie Bradley, Jr. is available incase the Yankees and Red Sox really want to make a deal just for the sake of baseball chaos.
But you get the picture. It’s a big picture full of big names flooding a potentially potent trade market.
And guess who stands arguably at the top to reap the benefits?
Even after all the prospect dealing in just the past six months, it’s the Yankees. Where most farm systems would be gutted after a pair of trades like this (think the Texas Rangers and their dual dealings for Cole Hamels and Jonathan Lucroy), the Yankees not only aren’t hurting for depth in the system but also have the benefit of that huge piggy bank to work with.
In another apt comparison, the Houston Astros made sizable deals over the past few seasons for Ken Giles, Carlos Gomez and most recently for Justin Verlander. Even still, they have multiple top prospects like Kyle Tucker, Forrest Whitley and Francis Martes that could tilt prospective negotiations in their favor.
What they don’t have, however, is that seemingly endless budget like the Yankees. New York has the prospects, the money and the overall means to be the main player for Machado or Cole or even Archer if they so choose to be.
It’s a good time to be a Yankee fan. But it’s a dangerous time not to be.