The best teams have to do the most work by the baseball trade deadline. This seems counter-intuitive, as the best teams tend to have the fewest needs. But if a team is really good, the hardest part is over: you know you will play in October. The exchanges aim to increase your chances once you are there.
“Teams are trying to make a move that will have an impact,” Yankees reliever Aroldis Chapman said Monday through an interpreter, recalling his trade with the Chicago Cubs in 2016. “When I got there – where the team was and where they were headed – they felt they had a real chance to win.”
The Cubs had the best record in baseball when they acquired Chapman in a trade from the Yankees. They estimated that Chapman would increase their chances of winning the World Series by 5% – a big number for a single player, in fact. With Chapman having won all but one of their playoff wins, the Cubs have won it all.
The 2022 Yankees know where they are and know where they are going. They’ll reach the trade deadline at 6 p.m. Tuesday with the best record in the American League — they were 69-34 heading into Monday’s game with the Seattle Mariners — and four new players to help them out when it matters most. important.
On Monday, they reached two deals, acquiring starter Frankie Montas and reliever Lou Trivino from the Oakland Athletics and reliever Scott Effross from the Chicago Cubs. Last week they received left fielder Andrew Benintendi Kansas City Royals. In all, the Yankees gave up eight prospects, including seven pitchers. Only one, JP Sears, has played in the majors.
Two of the pitchers, general manager Brian Cashman sent to Oakland, ranked among the Yankees’ top 10 prospects, according to MLB.com — Ken Waldichuk (fifth) and Luis Medina (10th). Montas, however, is under the control of the team until next season and gives the Yankees the kind of top starter who could have an outsized impact in a postseason series.
“He’s got the whole arsenal and the guns and everything you’re looking for in high-caliber pitchers,” manager Aaron Boone said. “And he’s come out and proven that over the last two years he’s been that kind of caliber thrower.”
Right-hander Montas, 29, served a 80 game suspension in 2019 after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. He struggled the following year, but has a 3.30 ERA in 51 starts over the past two seasons, with a mix of power pitches (96 mph fastball, plus a slider and a splitter) that make it effective against both left- and right-handers.
Effross, 28, is not a hard pitcher but has a similar assortment of pitches to handle hitters on either side. As a right-handed sidearmer with a fastball, slider, and change, he’s the kind of reliever who tends to get a lot of work in the modern, heavyweight playoffs.
“In a perfect world, you want to create versatility – whether it’s different looks, whether it’s guys who are really good at getting right-handed hitters for certain parts of the command, whether it’s guys who are really good to get left-handed, let it be a mix of that,” Boone said. “Sometimes different angles and different types of things are beneficial. We think Scott does a lot of that.
Effross, who has a 2.66 ERA in 44 innings, has been much more efficient this season than Trivino, who has a 6.47 ERA in 32 innings. But the Yankees attribute much of that to bad luck, and Trivino is averaging 12.7 strikeouts per nine innings — a better strikeout rate than any of his new teammates.
Add those three arms to Benintendi — a solid left fielder with plate discipline that hits for contact — and a pattern emerges. They are players with the kind of skills to make a difference in short series against good teams.
There are a few reasons to be concerned. Montas had shoulder inflammation in early July and needed a cortisone injection. he rested for two and a half weeks and has since made two starts, for three innings and five innings.
The Yankees have another starter, Luis Severino, who also has a shoulder problem. I played wrestling on Monday, which is encouraging, but far from a match.
“He gave me a thumbs up,” Boone said. “Good start to throwing progress.”
Even so, the Yankees placed Severino on the 60-day disabled list on Monday, which means he can’t be activated until mid-September. Now they have his replacement, with reinforcements in the bullpen and a new left fielder as well. It’s an impressive run for a team looking for their first championship since 2009 – a team that needed to be aggressive and acted that way.