Trading Yankees prospects for major league ready talent has been the signature of General Manager Brian Cashman. Where are these players now…
Bonafide Yankees prospects have recently been the target of teams willing to surrender major league ready talent. Brian Cashman has been more than willing to accommodate these teams in lieu of signing expensive free agents.
By definition, trades involve giving up something to get something. The best trades are the ones where both sides benefit and walk away happy from the deal. A few years later, however, that may or may not be the case.
What follows then is a brief look at Yankees prospects who at one time were highly rated in their farm system. What’s happened with them in the interim since being traded away – who’s thriving and who’s not?
Adam Warren was traded to the Chicago Cubs on December 8, 2015, straight-up in exchange for Starlin Castro. Warren spent only one year with the Cubs before his checkered career returned him to the Yankees where he thrived as a middle reliever for two seasons until he was traded yet again to the Seattle Mariners for international bonus pool money. Warren is still active and is now pitching for the up and coming San Diego Padres, and has appeared in 11 games for them in 2019.
Left-handed reliever Justin Wilson was traded by the Yankees to the Detroit Tigers on December 9, 2015, in exchange for Luis Cessa and Chad Green, both of whom are still active with the Yankees. Wilson spent two seasons with the Chicago Cubs before he was signed as a free agent by the New York Mets in January 2019. Wilson has appeared in nine games with the Mets, pitching to a 3.24 ERA this season.
Ben Gamel was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 10th round of the 2010 MLB June Amateur Draft from Bishop Kenney HS (Jacksonville, FL). In August 2016, Gamel was traded to the Seattle Mariners where he spent two seasons as a full-time outfielder putting up respectable but mostly pedestrian stats. The Mariners dealt Gamel during this past offseason to the Milwaukee Brewers where he is now a regular in their lineup, batting .269 with a robust .387 on-base percentage.
Ian Clarkin was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 1st round (33rd) of the 2013 MLB June Amateur Draft from Madison HS (San Diego, CA). Together with Blake Rutherford, also a first-round draft pick by the Yankees by the Yankees in 2016, they were Yankees prospects traded to the Chicago White Sox in July 2017. Both are still active but neither has advanced above Double-A baseball since then.
In July of 2017, Yankees prospects Deitrich Enns and Zack Littell were traded to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for Jaime Garcia, whom the Yankees needed in their starting rotation at the time. Garcia never had the impact the Yankees expected, but at the same time, both Enns and Littell are still laboring in the minor leagues, with Enns having moved on from the Twins to the San Diego Padres.
In one of the biggest movements of Yankees prospects, James Kaprielian, Jorge Mateo, and Dustin Fowler were moved to the Oakland A’s on July 31, 2017, in exchange for the most sought after starting pitcher at the time, Sonny Gray. Ultimately, Gray would be booted out of town and is now having a decent season with the Cincinnati Reds. Plagued with arm issues, Kaprielian has not pitched since 2017 and his future is seriously in doubt.
Still only 24, Mateo might be having a breakout season at the Triple-A level with Oakland’s Las Vegas affiliate, where he’s batting .346 with a .946 OPS. Fowler suffered that horrific injury in his first game as a Yankee and is now with Oakland’s Triple-A team in Las Vegas, showing few signs of a promotion in the wind.
Jack Cave was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 6th round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft from Kecoughtan HS (Hampton, VA). He bounced around as a Yankees prospect through various levels of the Yankees farm system. In March 2018, Cave was dealt to the Minnesota Twins for minor-leaguer Luis Gil. Cave was recently recalled by the Twins from their Triple-A team in Rochester NY. He is expected to be given ample playing time in the Twins outfield.
Yankees prospect Dillon Tate was traded to the Baltimore Orioles on July 24, 2018, for Zach Britton. Tate has not advanced above Double-A ball and is now pitching for the Orioles farm team in Bowie, Maryland.
Prized Yankees prospect, Billy McKinney was one of the last remaining chips Brian Cashman held in his arsenal. But when the Yankees found themselves once again in need of a starting pitcher at the trade deadline last season, McKinney was included in the deal sending JA Happ to the Yankees. McKinney is getting his feet wet with the Toronto Blue Jays as the outfielder of their future.
Yankees prospect, Giovanny Gallegos, a right-handed reliever, was dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals in return for Luke Voit. As this week’s AL Player Of The Week, Voit’s surge is contributing mightily to the Yankees withstanding of a rash of injuries. Meanwhile, Gallegos is ticketed to bounce between the Cardinals and their Triple-A team in Memphis, with no real impact anywhere.
Tyler Austin was a middle round draft pick by the New York Yankees in the 2010 Amateur Draft. Well-rounded as a first baseman, DH, and outfielder, Austin was a coveted Yankees prospect until a need for a starting pitcher arose once again on the big-league staff.
Whereupon, Brian Cashman dealt Austin to the Minnesota Twins at the trade deadline last year for Lance Lynn. Filling a hole, but not much else, Lynn was granted free agency by the Yankees and was signed by the Texas Rangers, where he has become a mainstay in their rotation.
Now with the San Francisco Giants, Austin is working his way into their starting lineup, hitting .292 with a .414 on-base percentage in just ten games.
Yankees Prospects Dealt – Winners And Losers
In this game, you do what you have to do at any given time, and if you’re smart, you don’t look back. Based on what we’ve seen above, and with the possible exceptions of Billy McKinney and Tyler Austin, none of the Yankees prospects dealt will come back as embarrassments for Brian Cashman and their organization.
Conversely, when you look at the return the Yankees have received in Luke Voit, James Paxton, and JA Happ, and even in the face of the flops like Sonny Gray and Jaime Garcia – Brian Cashman still reigns as the GM to be reckoned with every time he calls or receives a call to discuss a prospective trade.
And perhaps more to the point, the play of the Replacement Yankees in keeping the team in contention despite leading the league with an All-Star team on the IL, has re-armed Cashman with a bevy of players who are proving themselves on major league fields – and thereby possibly becoming the next cache of Yankees prospects to be dealt – should the need arise.