Buy low and sell high. It’s the trademark mentality stock brokers use, or have the intention of using on a daily basis, and one Yankees GM Brian Cashman executed to perfection with Aroldis Chapman.
Cashman originally acquired Chapman from the Reds last December. The move came at a very chaotic time for Chapman who was in the midst of dealing with domestic violence accusations and a few weeks earlier saw a potential trade to the Dodgers consequently fell through.
These accusations drastically reduced Chapman’s value to the point where Cashman was able to acquire him by giving up four mid-level prospects (at best) and in return get one of the game’s most dominant and flame throwing arms.
Fast forward to July 2016 and the undisputed strength of the fourth-place New York Yankees was the back end of the bullpen, or as they were coined, “No Run DMC,” (Dellin, Miller, Chapman).
Recognizing the state of the team, Hal Steinbreinner pulled a highly uncharacteristic move for a Steinbrenner, giving the go-ahead on a trade that moves the Yankees in a backwards direction (debatably), at least for the very immediate future.
Since George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees in 1974, his perceived mentality was always “win at all costs,” and Steinbrenner would almost never, aside from trading Ricky Henderson away in 1989, accept the Yankees taking a step back (In my mind, his most fatal flaw as an MLB owner).
After getting approval from Hal Steinbrenner, Cashman traded Chapman to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for minor leaguers Gleyber Torres, Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford, as well as former Yankee Adam Warren.
If you remember, the Yankees acquired Starlin Castro from the Cubs earlier last December and gave up Adam Warren. Now that the Chapman deal is official, the Yankees ended up getting Starlin Castro for nothing. Pretty darn impressive if you ask me.
As for the prospects Cashman was able to haul in (I’m not going to pretend like I’m an expert on who these guys are, but will rely on what the internet tells me), Gleyber Torres, who was ranked as highly as the No. 24 prospect in the game and as the Cubs’ No. 1 prospect, immediately becomes the Yankees’ top prospect, surpassing the likes of Jorge Mateo and Aaron Judge.
Billy McKinney comes into the fold as the No. 5 prospect in the organization, according to MLB.com. You can read about what to expect from Rashad Crawford here, but clearly there’s not nearly as much expected out of him as there is from Torres and McKinney.
Bottom line, the Yankees gave up nothing of true value to bring Aroldis Chapman to the Bronx, and when they traded him away, were able to lure one of the game’s best shortstop prospects, another highly valued prospect in McKinney, and the player the Yankees reluctantly parted ways with in order to bring in Starlin Castro. And since the Yankees still have Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller, the team really didn’t take that much of a step back.