Posted on July 19, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
The New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox have completed a trade that could swing the power in the AL East. In a seven-player trade, the Yankees have acquired third baseman Todd Frazier and relief pitchers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle. The White Sox will receive reliever Tyler Clippard and three prospects: outfielders Blake Rutherford and Tito Polo and pitcher Ian Clarkin.
The trade was completed early Wednesday morning. There were times Tuesday evening when it appeared as if Frazier and Robertson could be heading to the Boston Red Sox. However, the Yankees stepped up and were able to make the White Sox a better offer, usurping three players who have the potential to make an impact away form their division rivals.
“It should tell (our players), ‘Hey, we’re in this,'” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of the trade. “We need to continue to play and play hard, and play better than what we’ve done. But it should be a pick-me-up in there that, hey, there’s a lot of people who believe in this club.”
Frazier is the headliner of the deal. The 31-year old veteran is not exactly having his best season, as he moves toward free agency this winter. However, he’s continued to hit for power, slugging 16 home runs this season. He also has the potential to play both corner infield positions, both of which have been problematic for the Yankees all year.
The Yankees have been unsatisfied with Chase Headley’s production at third base, which is Frazier’s primary position. Frazier could also play first base, which the Yankees are trying to piece together with unproven players.
Meanwhile, both Robertson and Kahnle and significant additions to the Yankees bullpen. Aroldis Chapman and Dellin Betances have had ups and downs this season at the back end of New York’s bullpen. But Robertson and Kahnle will serve as reinforcements. Robertson, a former Yankee, has been a closer during his time in Chicago and will become a setup man in his return to the Bronx. Kahnle, meanwhile, has quietly become one of the top setup men in baseball over the past year.
The White Sox also come out of this trade feeling good. Acquiring Clippard will help them get through the rest of the season after trading two key relievers. But more importantly, they added three talented prospects to an already loaded farm system. Rutherford is the biggest acquisition for the White Sox. He is the 30th best prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com, but is only the sixth best prospect in Chicago’s farm system.
Rutherford is still in A-ball after being New York’s first round pick last year. But he has solid tools across the board and profiles as an impact corner outfielder. The left-handed Clarkin was a first round pick in 2013 and is still a year or two away from the majors. However, he’s having a strong season at advanced-A and has the potential to be a mid-rotation starter. Polo is not among Chicago’s top 30 prospects, but the speedy outfielder was recently promoted to double-A, where he’s gotten off to a fast start.
Trading Frazier has also allowed the White Sox to promote Yoan Moncada, who is rated as the top prospect in all of baseball. With Moncada getting called up, the White Sox will begin to see the young talent they’ve acquired during their rebuilding process reach the majors. Meanwhile, the team has continued to add massive amounts of young talent in this trade and last week’s trade involving ace Jose Quintana.
This is another trade that has a chance to work out for both sides. The Yankees add two quality relievers to their bullpen and potentially find a solution at one of their corner infield spots. They also prevent those players from going to the Red Sox, who the Yankees trail by 3.5 games. Meanwhile, the White Sox continue to add high-level prospects and incredible depth to a farm system that is poised to turn them into a contender within the next few years.