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The Yankees Make a Trade: Breaking Down the Frazier, Robertson and Kahnle Deal

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By: Boots

Last night the first domino fell in what could be a busy few weeks for Cashman in the Bronx.  On first reaction I really, really, really did not like this deal.  This morning I’m starting to come around.  Here’s why:

What the Yanks got:

Todd Frazier

Make no mistake about it, Todd Frazier is a pure rental.  He is a free agent at the end of 2017, and the future of the hot corner in the Bronx still remains Gleyber Torres (unless he moves to another infield spot and then it’s Miguel Andujar…whatever).  Frazier figures to log time at both third and first base for the remainder of the season. On the surface his .207 average, low OBP and ton of strikeouts make you scratch your head at the price the Yanks paid, but there’s more to it.  Frazier has been a much better hitter as of late, and has been a much better hitter on the road this year, as opposed to at home at Guaranteed Rate Field (worst stadium name in sports).

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At the very worst, you get a guy who is still an upgrade over the production the Yanks have seen this year. At the very best you get a guy who will catch fire and hit a ton of homers down the stretch. On to the rest.

David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle

Yankees fans know exactly what they are getting in Robertson, because since he left in 2014 he has been the exact same pitcher that he was during his Yanks career:  strong, solid and dependable.

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Robertson is under contract through next year, so he figures to be a strong reliever in the backend for a year and a half, or could be an interesting trade piece during the winter or next deadline. Kahnle is the centerpiece of this trade, in my opinion.  If he continues to throw how he has this year for the next 3.5 arbitration eligible, affordable years, the Yankees will be very happy. Kahnle is another power arm who is striking out 15 per 9. Here is his 2017 write up on Fangraphs (spoiler alert – he’s cut down on his walks)

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What the Yanks gave up:

Blake Rutherford

There is no doubting who was the prized jewel of this trade for the White Sox. Rutherford, a 2016 first rounder, is a five tool centerfielder currently in class A Charleston. After hitting .351 in rookie ball last year, Rutherford has taken a step back in his age 20 season, but is still putting up solid numbers and looks to have the makings of a future MLB all star.

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The Yankees have a surplus of outfielders not only at the major league level, but in the minors as well. It seems like the Yankees had to make a decision between Rutherford and Estevan Florial, and decided to lean toward keeping Florial. (Florial is a 19 year old outfielder in Charleston with eye popping tools who fills up the stat sheet)

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Ian Clarkin and Tito Polo

Ian Clarkin is a former first rounder in 2013 who missed the 2015 season with arm issues. Clarkin has solid stuff from the left side with a low to mid 90’s sinking fastball and a true four pitch mix. Clarkin could be a middle to backend starter in the future, being only 22 years old.  Tito Polo will be a big leaguer. He, like Rutherford, is a center fielder who seemingly does it all.  Scouts don’t seem to love Polo as much as he projects to be a solid fourth outfielder at the major league level.

Tyler Clippard

Hey Chicago – thanks for this one.


The true outcome of this trade won’t be seen for years to come as all the pieces that the White Sox acquired are still very young and years away from the big leagues. The Yankees are better today than they were yesterday, and seemingly solidified the bullpen in the short and long term.  The Yankees are poised to compete this year, without giving up any of the prospects your average fan has grown to be over attached to.

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