Theo Epstein, the President of the Cubs, and Brian Cashman, the GM of the Yankees, concluded a trade where the Yankees shipped Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs in exchange for Gleyber Torres, Adam Warren, Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford. Let’s look at this trade through the eyes of these two men.
Theo Epstein was hired in 2011 as the President of the Cubs. His goal was to bring an end to 100+ years of Cubs’ misery by repeating what he did for the Red Sox, leading them to WS Championships in 2004 and again in 2007. The combination of Hector Rondon as the Cubs closer and Pedro Strop as their setup man ranked them seventh in the NL with a 3.73 ERA contributing to the Cubs’ 12-15 record in one-run games. In acquiring Chapman, the Cubs now have a pitcher who broke the record in velocity, throwing several pitches at 105 mph. He fanned 44 batters and walked only eight in 31 1/3 innings with New York while converting 20 of 21 save chances. Yes, there is a risk in giving up your number one prospect Torres, but with Chapman as its closer, Epstein can see Chapman getting the last out in a final WS game breaking the 108 year Cubs WS drought. Epstein did what I expected Washington to do. That is, do whatever it takes to obtain Chapman. I said Washington’s Papelbon was finished as a closer and yesterday Papelbon blew a save against Cleveland not recording one out facing five straight hitters. In my April 3 blog, I predicted the Cubs would win the World Series. Theo’s addition of Chapman allows me to double-down on my preseason prediction.
What does this trade mean for the Yankees? In December, acquiring Chapman for a quartet of average minor leaguers was a no-brainer. Now, getting the Cubs number one prospect, a versatile major league pitcher, another good prospect and a throw-in minor leaguer was too good to pass up in July. The players they received from the Cubs were Gleyber Torres, Adam Warren, Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford.Torres is a 19-year-old shortstop who was listed as the Cubs number one 2016 minor league prospect. Before the trade he was in high A-ball where he was batting .275 in 94 games with 9 HRs and 47 RBIs. Billy McKinney, a 21-year-old outfielder who bats and throws from the left side, was originally selected as the 24th pick in the first round of the 2013 draft by Oakland right out of high school. In 2015 he batted .340 in A-Ball and then was promoted to Double A, where his 2015 season ended with a hairline fracture. In 2016, he is currently batting .252 in Double A. In getting Adam Warren back, the Yankees got a veteran pitcher who for his 4-year stay (2012-2015) with the Yankees had an ERA of 3.39. He can be used as a spot starter or a long relief man. The Cubs got Warren in the deal that sent Castro to the Yankees. Now the Yankees have both coveted players. How sweet is that? As for Rashad Crawford he is a 22-year-old throw-in who is currently in A-Ball. Since Chapman will be a free agent in 2017,
the Yankees will have every opportunity to resign him for next year. Who knows he might again wear the pinstripes in 2017. What does this say about the Yankees for the rest of 2016? Cashman’s trade is a stroke of genius which does not wave the white flag for the 2016 Yankees. As of this writing the Yankees are only 4 games out of the second Wild Card with three teams ahead of them. At this point in the season their starters should be able to handle seven innings and they still have, in Betances and Miller, the best pair of pitchers to finish the game. Further, the addition of Warren gives them a dependable starter if needed. Both Epstein and Cashman should be commended on making this trade. Yes, the Cubs will break their 108 year WS drought; whereas, the Yankees are successfully getting younger while still staying competitive for the post-season.