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Revisiting the Yankees’ recent deadline deals

The trade deadline is only four days away (Aug. 31, 4 p.m. ET). It is unlikely that there will be blockbusters, but there are definitely players out there the New York Yankees could get to solidify their team for the final month of the season and the playoffs. As the deadline approaches, I wanted to look back at the past three deadlines and see what deals the Yankees made (trades within one week of the deadline) and how they look now. 


July 30: Yankees acquire LHP Jaime Garcia from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for LHP Dietrich Enns and RHP Zack Littell

Looking at the trades from 2017 makes it feel like it was 10 years ago. Garcia was going to be a free agent at the end of the year and the Yankees were only paying the pro-rated minimum. He was mediocre in pinstripes, posting at 4.82 ERA in eight games (all starts) over 37.1 innings pitched. On the bright side, he threw 2.2 scoreless innings in the postseason! 

Enns only pitched 4.0 innings as a Twin to the tune of a 6.75 ERA. Littell is still in Minnesota and still only 24 years old. He was bad in 2018 (6.20 ERA in 20.1 innings), very good in 2019 (2.68 ERA in 37.0 innings), and has been bad this year (9.95 ERA in 6.1 innings).

Overall, this trade didn’t seem to swing the needle significantly either way, both in the short term and the long term.

July 31: Yankees acquire RHP Sonny Gray and future considerations from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for CF Dustin Fowler, RHP James Kaprielian, and SS Jorge Mateo

Sonny Gray is thriving now in Cincinnati, but he wasn’t at his best in New York. He was a Yankee for a year and a half, and while he was decent in 2017 (3.72 ERA in 65.1 innings), he was very bad in 2018 (4.90 ERA in 130.1 innings). He was especially awful at Yankee Stadium with a 5.65 ERA at home in 2017 and an unsightly 6.98 ERA at home in 2018. 

Fowler hasn’t been in the majors since 2018 when he hit .224 with 6 homers and 23 RBI in 69 games for the Athletics. James Kaprielian is Oakland’s No. 13 ranked prospect and made his major-league debut this season. Mateo is Oakland’s No. 4 ranked prospect and also made his debut this year, but he is hitless in seven at-bats. So for now, now of the players’ the Yankees traded have come back to bite them, but Gray is gone now and Fowler, Kaprielian, and Mateo all still have futures ahead of them.


July 24: Yankees acquire LHP Zack Britton from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for RHP Cody Carroll, RHP Dillon Tate, and LHP Josh Rogers

Fun fact: if you look at the transactions page on yankees.com, they actually still have the old “Zach” spelling. 

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Britton was re-signed after the 2018 season and he has been very good for the Yankees. Sure, he can be frustrating at times, but Carroll has a career 13.74 ERA, Tate has a career 5.96 ERA, and Rogers has a career 8.65 ERA. None of those three pitchers the Orioles received have pitched more than 21 innings in a season for the Orioles, so especially with the re-signing of Britton this trade looks pretty good in hindsight.

July 26: Yankees acquire LHP J.A. Happ from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for LF Billy McKinney and 3B Brandon Drury

Oh boy. Let’s start with the Blue Jays on this one. Both McKinney and Drury are still with the organization. Drury hit a measly .176 in 51 at-bats as a Yankee and those struggles have continued in Toronto. He has hit .208 in his career there over 490 at-bats. McKinney, on the other hand, has done not too bad (but not too great either). He is 2-for-3 this year after hitting .215 in 84 games last season and .252 in 36 games the year before that.

Now onto Happ. Recently, Happ sounded bitter about being skipped in the rotation. First, it makes sense given all the postponements to trying and pitch Gerrit Cole as much as you can. So that’s part of the reason. The other reason that the Yankees are skipping Happ is that he has a 6.39 ERA. However, the Yankees had to re-sign him after the 2018 season. Look at what he did in pinstripes in 2018: 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA in 63.2 innings pitched. So technically, that J.A. Happ was the one who was a part of this deal. Therefore, this trade was a success. Re-signing Happ? Not so much.

July 29: Yankees acquire 1B Luke Voit and future considerations from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for LHP Chasen Shreve and RHP Giovanny Gallegos

This was a prime example of the Yankees finding a diamond in the rough. Voit had an OPS of .736 in 2017 and .762 in 2018, both with the Cardinals. Since then, he put up a 1.095 OPS in 39 games with the Yankees in 2018, a .842 OPS in 2019, and a 1.115 OPS in 2020. 

Shreve was good for the Cards down the stretch in 2018, posting a 3.09 ERA in 14.2 innings pitched. However, he only appeared in three games for St. Louis in 2019 and allowed two runs in two innings. Gallegos is the reason this trade wasn’t a complete robbery by the Yankees. He has a 2.14 ERA as a Cardinal, including a 2.31 ERA over 74.0 innings last season. 

July 30: Yankees acquire future considerations from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for RHP Adam Warren

Warren’s second stint with the Yankees came to a close when they traded him to Seattle. Warren pitched to a 3.74 ERA in 21.2 innings to finish the year. He then signed a one-year deal with the Padres for 2019 and had a 5.34 ERA in 28.2 innings. He then found his way home this past December, returning to the Yanks on a minor-league deal. The team released him on July 17.

July 30: Yankees acquire Lance Lynn and cash from the Twins in exchange for 1B Tyler Austin and RHP Luis Rijo

The Yankees needed pitching and got Lynn the day before the deadline. His name has been popping up again as we approach this year’s deadline. He was definitely serviceable as a Yankees, with a 4.14 ERA in 54.1 innings (11 games, nine starts) after having  5.10 ERA in 102.1 innings that year before being dealt.

Austin hit .236 with 9 HR and 24 RBI with the Twins in 2018. He got dealt to the Giants the following year and after being designated for assignment he signed a minor-league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. Austin is now playing in Korea, while Rijo hasn’t made it above A-ball. All in all, this seems like another trade that didn’t really move the needle for either team.


July 31: Yankees acquire LHP Alfredo Garcia from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for RHP Joe Harvey

Garcia is still only 21 years old and has yet to throw above A-ball. Harvey is still in Colorado. He had a 5.00  ERA in 18.0 innings there last season and has not allowed a run in 3.1 innings pitched this season.