The New York Yankees continued to sell yesterday, trading RF Carlos Beltran and RHP Ivan Nova away to the Texas Rangers and Pittsburgh Pirates, respectively. In return, the Yankees received three prospect pitchers for Beltran and two players to be named later for Nova.
It certainly was a different trade deadline approach than usual for the Yankees, who continued to add to their impressive collection of prospects while sacrificing the 2016 season.
Let’s break down both trades that transpired yesterday.
Trade 1: Yankees Trade RF Carlos Beltran to Texas Rangers for RHP Dillon Tate, RHP Erik Swanson, and RHP Nick Green
The first trade completed by the Yankees yesterday included slugger Carlos Beltran. Beltran, 39, was undoubtedly the Yankees’ best hitter. Beltran is in the midst of his best season since 2011, batting .304 with 22 home runs, 64 RBI, and an .890 OPS.
Beltran doesn’t play right field particularly well anymore due to his chronic knee injuries, but the Rangers will likely split Beltran’s time between the outfield and DH duties, especially once Shin-Shoo Choo returns from the DL.
Beltran instantly makes the Rangers better. He is the middle-of-the-order thumper that they have needed since Prince Fielder went down, and is in the middle of a true renaissance season.
After the Yankees traded Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs and Andrew Miller to the Indians, they had no choice but to trade Beltran. The return they got was intriguing, but far from a sure thing.
The headliner in the deal was RHP Dillon Tate, who was the fourth overall selection in last year’s MLB Draft. Tate wasn’t having his best year with the A-level Hickory Crawdads, only going 3-3 with a 5.12 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP, but his ceiling remains quite high.
The lanky 6’2″, 165-lb. righty has an electric 96 mph fastball and hard slider as well as a developing changeup. Originally projected as a reliever, Tate’s transition to the starting rotation hasn’t gone particularly well this year, but he is still only 22 years of age.
Tate’s scouting report reminds one of Luis Severino, who is seen as the best starting pitching prospect the Yankees have had in years. Tate is no guarantee, but he does have a world of potential.
Tate is the Yankees’ 11th-ranked prospect by MLB.com and could become a stud one day at the big league level.
The other pieces acquired by the Yankees were RHP Erik Swanson and RHP Nick Green. Both transitioned to the starting rotation this season. Swanson, 23, posted the best numbers of the trio; his 1.01 WHIP was fifth-best in his league.
Green, 21, was originally a Yankee draft pick back in 2013 but elected not to sign with the club. The Yankees now have their man. Green had a 2-2 record with a 4.98 ERA at short-season A Spokane, but has a pedigree that looks better than his numbers do.
All in all, the Yankees are taking a flyer on three young pitchers with high ceilings and low floors. Given that Beltran was a free agent to be, the Yankees did the right thing by acquiring something in exchange for his services.
Trade 2: Yankees trade RHP Ivan Nova to Pittsburgh Pirates for 2 players to be named later
The second deal made by the Yankees on deadline day was literally a buzzer beater. The Yankees dealt Nova, the longest-tenured homegrown Yankee, with all of 90 seconds remaining before the 4:00 deadline kicked in.
In exchange, the Yankees acquired 2 players to be named later (PTBNL). While the return seems anticlimactic, the Yankees and Pirates were under pressure that late into the day and had to complete the trade under the gun.
The Yankees have a list of Pirates prospects available, of which they can choose two to claim.
On the Pirates’ end, Ivan Nova will help the Buccos. Nova endured 6.5 inconsistent and injury-riddled seasons in the Bronx, but he certainly had his share of highlights.
Nova typically pitched well in big games and was straight-up dominant in both 2011 and 2013. Tommy John Surgery limited his success later in his tenure, but the Yankees could’ve done far worse than Ivan Nova. Nova is a free agent to be.
Nova comes to Pittsburgh with a world of potential but not much in terms of recent results. His fastball sits around 94 mph and his hammer curveball is a true weapon. With Nova, control was always his undoing.
Pittsburgh pitching coach Ray Searage is known for reviving “lost” pitchers’ careers, which makes him a natural fit for Nova. If Searage can get Nova to throw more consistently, the trade will be a success on both sides.
Winners and Losers:
Overall, I’d call both trades a draw for all clubs involved. Everybody got exactly what they wanted: the Yankees got more prospects, the Rangers got a big bat, and the Pirates got a starter.
This was one of the weirdest trade deadlines in Yankees history, but it may ultimately go down as one of the most successful down the road.