Breaking Down the Yankees-White Sox Trade

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Todd Frazier and David Robertson, along with Tommy Kahnle, are the newest additions to the New York Yankees’ roster.

Just one season removed from selling at the trade deadline, Brian Cashman and the New York Yankees reprised their familiar role as deadline buyers by executing a stunning, seven-player trade with the Chicago White Sox last night.

In the massive swap, the Yankees acquired first/third baseman Todd Frazier, former Yankee reliever David Robertson, and reliever Tommy Kahnle from the White Sox in exchange for reliever Tyler Clippard and three prospects: OF Blake Rutherford, LHP Ian Clarkin, and OF Tito Polo.

Let’s break this trade down team by team and analyze what it means for both the Yankees and White Sox franchises.

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New York Yankees Midseason Report Card

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There have been many celebrations for the 2017 Yankees.

The All-Star Game is the unofficial halfway point of the MLB season. While the Yankees have already played 86 games, just over halfway, the Yankees still have much of the second half to reinforce the club en route to the playoffs.

Let’s take a look at the club so far, while looking ahead to the trade deadline and a possible playoff berth.

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The Development of Didi

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Two years later, Didi still has those rockin’ sunglasses at shortstop.

Exactly two years ago today, I wrote about the progression of Didi Gregorius at shortstop for the New York Yankees. I was still in my infancy as a writer, and the marked improvement that I have made since then is apparent as soon as one reads the article.

And exactly two years ago today, Didi Gregorius was still in his infancy as the Yankees’ first shortstop post-Derek Jeter. And the marked improvement that he has made since then is apparent as soon as one watches Gregorius on the diamond today.

Despite narrowly missing out on an All-Star spot, Didi Gregorius has been precisely that for the Yankees since the second half of his first year in New York. The development of Didi from a shy .220 hitter into an affable team leader that hits .300 and bats in the middle of the order has been a big storyline for the Yankees over the past 3 years, and it’s one that is still being written.

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Yankee Prospects Offer a Glimpse of Promise to Come

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Clint Frazier’s home run in his MLB debut was a high point in a recent stretch of poor play for the Yankees.

The New York Yankees have definitely hit a rough patch of late: they have gone just 6-16 in their last 22 games, have fallen out of first place in the AL East, and have had to deal with several key players going on the disabled list in rapid succession.

But all hope is not lost! While veteran starters like Matt Holliday, Starlin Castro, Aaron Hicks, Greg Bird, and Tyler Austin recover from their injuries, the Yankees have been forced to recall some of their top prospects to fill the void.

While the results have been predictably inconsistent, there have been some serious flashes of brilliance from the young players that have been recalled, including Tyler Wade, Miguel Andujar, Dustin Fowler, and Clint Frazier. Each of these players still has a long way to go in their prospect growth curve, but the early returns have been encouraging enough to where Yankee fans can’t wait to see more of their vaunted prospect core.

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Five Yankees Among Those Selected to MLB All-Star Game

Dellin Betances, Aaron Judge, Starlin Castro, Luis Severino, and Gary Sanchez will be the New York Yankees’ representatives at the MLB All-Star Game.

The MLB All-Star Game rosters were announced this past Sunday, and the New York Yankees will be well-represented in Miami for the Midsummer Classic. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Starlin Castro, Dellin Betances, and Luis Severino will make the esteemed squad, which will be managed by Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona.

This is the first All-Star appearance for Judge, Sanchez, and Severino, the first as a Yankee for Castro (his fourth overall), and the fourth in a row for Betances. Judge will be the starter in right field, the first AL rookie to start in the All-Star Game since Hideki Matsui in 2003. Additionally, both Judge and Sanchez will participate in the Home Run Derby.

Each of these Yankees was more than deserving of the honor; let’s take a look at each Yankee All-Star’s season so far.

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In Appreciation of Starlin Castro

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Starlin Castro has come through for the Yankees time and time again; he is one of their most clutch hitters.

The 2017 New York Yankees have had a lot of storylines pop up this year: their surprising return to contention has been fueled by the heroics of Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, Matt Holliday, Aaron Hicks, and Brett Gardner, among others. Just about everyone on the Yankee roster (except Chris Carter, that is) has done something great this year for the Bombers.

However, one Yankee has been one of the club’s top players for two seasons now, and few outside of New York have noticed. Starlin Castro, the Yankee second baseman, has quietly become one of the Yankees’ best players, and a truly deserving MLB All-Star.

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Yankees Need To Continue Exercising Patience

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One problem the Yankees have to let sort itself out over time is reliever Tyler Clippard’s performance.

There’s no doubt about it: the 2017 New York Yankees have hit a wall. The club has lost 8 out of 9 games, has lost its division lead (they are now tied with the Boston Red Sox for first place), and the club is having trouble in all facets of the game.

However, all is not lost for the Yankees. As tempting as it is to go out and shake up the roster, the Yankees are probably better served riding this out and remaining patient, rather than doing something rash that the club will regret down the road. Continue reading

The Unexpected Performance of the Yankees’ Rotation

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Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery have been pleasant surprises in the Yankees’ rotation this season.

The rotation was supposed to be the weak link of the 2017 New York Yankees team. Sure, Masahiro Tanaka was the unquestioned ace of the staff, but every other starter was a major wild card. CC Sabathia was good in 2016, but was another year older. The only thing consistent about Michael Pineda and Luis Severino had been their inconsistency to date, and the fifth starter’s spot wasn’t even confirmed until after the first week of the season (the spot went to unproven southpaw Jordan Montgomery).

But as the Yankees sit in first place on the morning of June 8, 2017, it’s fair to say that the team’s rotation has not gone according to plan at all. However, this is a good thing. Even though Tanaka has struggled mightily this year, the performance of his fellow starters has made up for his poor play. Sabathia, Pineda, Montgomery, and especially Severino are no longer question marks on the 2017 Yankees, but rather exclamation points: something special that the Yankees can brag about.

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What’s Going On With Masahiro Tanaka?

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Masahiro Tanaka has allowed far more than his fair share of home runs this season.

Coming into the 2017 season, the New York Yankees roster was surrounded by question marks. However, the one constant seemed to be that the team’s ace, Masahiro Tanaka, would continue his Cy Young-level performance and be the rock that the team desperately needed every fifth day.

Through two months of the season though, the reality has been anything but what had been prognosticated. The team has had a successful run with its other starters and the lineup has stayed healthy and scored runs, yet Tanaka has been nothing short of a bust.

Nine starts into his 2017 campaign, Tanaka is 5-3, but has a 6.56 ERA, has allowed 13 home runs (two less than he surrendered over all of his injury-shortened 2014 season), and is not giving the team any length out of his starts (average 5.1 IP/start).

So what’s wrong with Masahiro Tanaka? Let’s take a look and try and diagnose what’s ailing the Yankee ace.

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Yankees Outfielders Contributing at All-Star Levels

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Aaron Judge, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, and Aaron Hicks have been excellent so far this year.

The New York Yankees came into the 2017 season with lots of questions about their roster. Chief among those were concerns about the outfield. Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury were 33 years old and coming off of poor finishes to the 2016 season, Aaron Hicks hadn’t shown much of anything in his first extended chance last year, and Aaron Judge was a wild card.

However, the Yankee outfield has quietly been the most consistent part of the lineup this season. The steady contributions of the four Yankee outfielders has been a huge part of the team’s success so far in 2017, and the quartet has to keep it up if the Yankees are to make the playoffs this year.

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