Yankees’ deadline moves tell us everything about their strategy

Lance Lynn defines a now move, just like Zach Britton and J.A. Happ. They are all in their walk years. They each cost the Yankees prospects.

Yet what might resonate from this trade season is that while honoring their go-for-it reputation, the Yankees emphasized the future.

They acquired the maximum $3.75 million in international pool money in trades with the Cardinals (Giovany Gallegos and Chasen Shreve), White Sox (Caleb Frare) and finally on Monday with the Mariners (Adam Warren). The last one was the toughest.

Warren was treasured within the Yankees organization for his toughness and team-oriented nature. But once the Yankees knew they could get Lance Lynn from the Twins, their calculus became Lynn was better than Warren because he could start and — they believe — his stuff will play up out of the pen.

At that point, the Yankees felt it would be negligent not to accumulate all the international money. They will not be picking near the top of a draft any time soon and they will lose a second-round pick next June if they sign a qualified free agent, like say Patrick Corbin is expected to be. Thus, the international market provides access to high-end talent they can’t access in the draft.

Lynn cost Tyler Austin (and Luis Rijo), but the Yankees believe Luke Voit (obtained as part of the Gallegos/Shreve deal) is better than Austin. It exemplifies how many moving parts have been in play for the Yankees as these issues were all covered:

— Like Britton and Happ, Lynn pitched well against the Red Sox this year (two earned runs in 11 innings) and the Yankees still have 10 games against Boston.

— Lynn will begin in the bullpen, but the Yankees recognize the suddenly struggling Luis Severino may need a respite, that CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka are always injury red flags and Sonny Gray has yet to fully gain his employer’s confidence. So, the expectation is Lynn will make some starts.

— The Yankees were interested in Lynn as a free agent because he was a strike-throwing ground-ball machine. He still gets grounders (50.8 percent), but his 5.45 walks per nine innings have been a killer. He has pitched better lately and the Yankees, especially, come September may use expanded rosters to attack games with multiple pitchers and not be beholden to traditional starters.

— By adding Happ and Lynn, the Yanks are pretty much out of the starter market. They were not nearly as involved on Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer as public perception and never really got any place with the Mets on Zack Wheeler.

— The Yankees did a lot of 40-man roster cleansing in the past week, especially because they have a bunch of pitchers they have to think seriously about putting on it this offseason. Three of them — Chance Adams, Justus Sheffield and Eric Swanson — could be put on earlier to try and help in September. Lefties Frare and Shreve were removed, but the Yanks like James Reeves and Stephen Tarpley, who have to be put on the 40-man or be exposed to the Rule 5 draft.

— The Yankees are still eyeing an outfielder before the 4 p.m. non-waiver deadline Tuesday to help cover while Aaron Judge heals. They never did get a first baseman last year because they believed Greg Bird would come back and they have not given up that Clint Frazier will help at some point. Still, Miami’s Cameron Maybin and Toronto’s Curtis Granderson are possibilities. They looked into Andrew McCutchen but are not sure the Giants are selling or that McCutchen would accept a backup job when Judge returns.

— The Twins ate half of the $4.3 million owed Lynn and the Mariners took on all of the $1.18 million-ish owed Warren. Thus the Yankees stayed salary neutral. They are sticking to their vow to go under the $197 million luxury-tax threshold. That means zero paid in tax in 2018 and a reset next time they go over to the lowest penalties, which makes it easier to sign a Corbin or Dallas Keuchel, plus retain a Britton, David Robertson or sign Andrew Miller, if the lefty is healthy.

Source: Read Full Article