I’ve only been on this wonderful green Earth for 25 years, but I’ve never seen a rebuild quite like the New York Yankees went through.
It should be the Yankees, after all, who play with an unlimited piggy bank of resources in the biggest market on the planet, that go through one of the quickest and painless rebuilds of all time.
(I just watched Interstellar again so I’m a little Earth-weary at the moment.)
After a couple years of mediocre baseball —non-playoff seasons in the Bronx are like dog years compared to years out of the postseason in other cities— the customarily big spending Yankees decided to invest in young talent and become sellers for a summer.
A summer was all it was, because between Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller at the 2016 trade deadline, the Yankees replenished their farm system in two home runs of trades.
It hasn’t just been the trades, but the internal development of superstars Aaron Judge, Luis Severino and Gary Sanchez.
Didi Gregorius has become a star in his own right, acquired by the Yankees eight months before the Chapman/Miller deals for pitcher Shane Greene.
Aaron Hicks for John Ryan Murphy was a steal. Chad Green for Justin Wilson, too. And they got reigning MVP Giancarlo Stanton for pennies on the dime, as long as they paid those pennies and dimes.
Only a year after the rebuild began, it was over. The Yankees used Blake Rutherford to get three big leaguers from the White Sox and traded three prospects to Oakland for Sonny Gray.
Meanwhile, Miguel Andujar arrived. Torres arrived. Jacoby Ellsbury had the decency to disappear.
The Yankees are not only back, but to quote every movie ever, they are perhaps better than ever.
After two very, very eventful trade deadlines, the Yankees are in better position than anyone to go for the hat trick.
Even after trading Rutherford and James Kaprielian, Jorge Mateo and Dustin Fowler last summer, as well as dealing away Starlin Castro and Jorge Guzman in the off-season for Stanton, nobody is in better position than the Yankees to make more noise at this year’s trade deadline.
Coming into 2018, John ranked the Yankees farm system second in the league, the second straight year they’ve earned that nomination.
Of the contenders competing with them in the trade market, John rated the Astros ninth, the Dodgers 10th and the Red Sox 25th.
Since the start of the season, the Red Sox have lost their top two prospects. Pitcher Jay Groome had Tommy John surgery and power-hitting infielder Michael Chavis fell victim to a PED suspension. He tested positive for Dehydrochlormethyltesosterone, which I’m 91 percent sure is something Willy Wonka created. Pure imagination and all that.
The Red Sox are currently leading the Yankees by a game in the renewed AL East hotbed, but are hamstrung by their serious lack of trade chips to improve at the deadline.
The biggest name on the market is impending free agent Manny Machado, who would be a perfect fit for the Corey Seager-less Dodgers. Los Angeles definitely has pieces to get a deal done —like Alex Verdugo but more likely Yadier Alvarez, Mitchell White or Keibert Ruiz— but the Yankees can top that.
The ridiculously impressive emergence of Andujar has both made Machado less of a target for the Yankees, and simultaneously removed Andujar’s name from any potential trade discussions.
Chicago has traded top prospects at will, even if it was for a player they didn’t expect to re-sign like Chapman. That is highly unlikely to happen again for a number of years, even for a player like Machado.
Torres is obviously off limits as well, but the Yankees have a surplus of minor league talent they don’t need to use in a trade like bats Estevan Florial, Clint Frazier and Billy McKinney or arms Chance Adams, Justus Sheffield and Albert Abreu.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Through trades but also exemplary organizational development, the Yankees have assets to best any reasonable offer around the league.
Reasonable goes out the window if the Dodgers are bold enough to include Verdugo, or if the Astros float Kyle Tucker’s name out there for a Chris Archer type. In that event, the Yankees have the assets to warrant a final phone call.
Having the opportunity to match any deal, and the means to afford any player they want, makes this year’s trade deadline yet another one that goes through the Yankees.