Recently, Jon Heyman broke news of a monster blockbuster trade that was never to be between the New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves. The deal allegedly involved a 10 player combination, including: Jason Heyward, Andrelton Simmons, Melvin Upton, David Carpenter and Chris Johnson from the Braves for: Manny Banuelos, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, Aaron Judge and Ian Clarkin from the Yankees.
The non-deal was reminiscent of alleged trade rumors from the early 90’s when Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera were both in trade talks which eventually fell through and was between two teams who have had no problems trading talent.
While all of the credibility and attention for General Managers is focused on acquisitions and new players coming in to help the team, this was something different.
With the deal supposedly offered around 2014, it’s interesting to see what has happened for both teams since.
Braves: Atlanta ended up landing Banuelos for Carpenter anyway, so we can eliminate those two as “where are they now?” candidates. Atlanta ended up trading everyone else involved as well, but in separate deals.
Instead of: Sanchez, Clarkin, Judge and Severino, Atlanta ended up gaining: Nick Swisher, Michael Bourne (in the Johnson deal), Upton’s salary was dumped as part of the Craig Kimbrel deal to Boston (so we can’t really credit him with gaining anyone when the reality is the Braves probably received less for Kimbrel by dumping his salary), Heyward netted Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins, (Miller was then flipped for: Ender Inciarte, Dansby Swanson and Aaron Blair.) Finally, Simmons was traded to the Angels with prospect Jose Briceno for Sean Newcomb, Chris Ellis and Erick Aybar.
In short, Atlanta gained: Jenkins, Swansby, Inciarte, Swisher, Bourne, Swanson, Blair, Newcomb, Ellis and Aybar along with Banuelos instead. Four of those players could potentially help the team or fill out the roster in a rebuilding year this season while Swansby, Jenkins, Blair and Newcomb are still considered solid to top prospects.
Yankees: the trade would have likely crippled the franchise. Heyward probably still walks in free agency so the Yankees collect a pick for a good but not great player who is now making $184 million with the Cubs. Simmons was instead replaced by Didi Gregorius in a deal looking good for New York since Shane Greene fell off a cliff for the Tigers last year. Upton and Johnson have both since fallen apart as players and Carpenter came to New York for Banuelos anyway and then was cut before July in his first season because he pitched so poorly.
Instead, the Yankees kept their prospects and Severino has demonstrated he should be a stalwart in the front-end of the Yankees’ rotation for the next five plus years. Judge is knocking on the door to replace Carlos Beltran in right field as the Yankees’ top prospect at a rate of the league minimum. Sanchez is competing for a backup catcher role and is currently heir apparent to another former Brave in Brian McCann to stick at catcher, something the Yankees were unsure about two years ago. Banuelos still hasn’t panned out for Atlanta and Clarkin has been derailed by injuries but was still drafted only three years ago and has time to turn it around as the second highest rated pitcher in the Yankees’ current farm system.
Cashman has had a plan, it seems since somewhere around 2012 and has stuck to it. Soon the Yankees will be rid of around $100 million of its payroll, free to invest at least half of it into new players while keeping what looks like at least three of the five players in this deal to make an impact on its roster in 2017 and beyond.
The Braves ended up getting even better prospects-and more of them- by getting denied on this deal.
The non-trade should be the best move for both teams.
And sometimes that’s the best you can do as a General Manager.