Yankees prospect Blake Rutherford, the team’s first-round pick in 2016, is one of the major pieces heading to Chicago in exchange. He’s currently hitting .281/.342/.391 for the Charleston RiverDogs in A-ball and New York has reportedly been considering whether it would be willing to move him for win-now assets as the trade deadline approaches.
Tyler Clippard is also part of the package being sent to the ChiSox, as was first reported by Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. The Yankees’ Ian Clarkin is also be heading to the Windy City, according to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, as well as outfielder Tito Polo who was spending time with the Trenton Thunder. No money will be changing hands.
Clippard’s contract will offset some of Frazier’s and Robertson’s deals. The reliever is currently on a 2-year, $12.25 million deal that is up at the end of this season. Frazier has about $6 million left on his deal and Robertson will be a free agent in 2019 after his current 4-year, $46 million contract.
Other teams had been chasing Frazier doggedly over the last few days, most notably the Red Sox, who still desperately need a third baseman. The first major hint that something was going down appeared when Frazier was seen hugging his teammates and shaking hands in the dugout just as the White Sox were wrapping up batting practice before Tuesday’s game.
New York will be happy to get some relief help, and while Frazier doesn’t perfectly fit its hole at first base, it doesn’t hurt to have him at third where he can trade off with Chase Headley for the time being before the latter (possibly) moves across the diamond.
Of course, besides picking up this quartet of players, the trade has the additional benefit of taking Todd Frazier away from a division rival. That might not have been the primary motivation for the deal, but in the AL East that rivalry is usually on the top of fans’ minds, especially with the Yankees only 3.5 games back from Boston for the division lead.
New York currently has relievers Adam Warren and Dellin Betances in their pen, setting up closer Aroldis Chapman. Robertson and Kahnle can go a long way toward shoring that up further. Robertson has allowed 10 runs in 33.1 innings this season, while Kahnle has allowed 12 in 36 in his 2017 campaign.
Frazier, a free agent at year’s end, was a lock to be dealt before the deadline despite hitting just .207/.328/.432 with 16 homers in 81 games so far this season. He is owed about $5 million for the rest of this season before hitting the open market.
About what message the trade sends to his team, Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said,
"It should tell them, hey, we're in this. We need to continue to play hard and do better than we've done."
It might not turn out to be the best rental (or it could be great!), but if Frazier helps the Yankees’ infield during their pennant push and they secure the pitching support they want most, then Yankees fans are probably okay with this, despite the prospects given up in exchange.