The New York Yankees made a surprising trade with the Miami Marlins on Friday afternoon. They traded versatile infielder Martin Prado and pitcher David Phelps for pitcher Eovaldi, first baseman Garrett Jones and a minor league pitcher. It is surprising because the Yankees really liked Prado and had him penciled in at second base and he could also provide backup to third base and the outfield. The Yankees needed pitching though and they really never had a spot for Phelps. Phelps was bounced around between the rotation and the bullpen with the Yankees never fully knowing what they wanted to do with him. Eovaldi is a 24 year old pitcher with a lot of upside. He threw about 200 innings last season which is important to the Yankees but they also like that he is young and cheap. He is one of the hardest throwers in baseball and the Yankees feel they can work with him to make him a better pitcher.
The most interesting part of this deal for me is Jones. He is definitely the backup first baseman to fragile Mark Teixeira which will assure that Headley only has to play third base and further marginalizes Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez was going to be the backup to third and first and the full-time DH. I would say maybe he is the backup at third now and a part time DH. He will be the DH against leftie and won't play the field unless there is an emergency. Jones has a left power swing which is perfect for Yankee Stadium. He has hit 15+ homeruns in six straight years and the Yankees figure that number will go up with the short porch in right field. He is a guy that if he plays enough should hit 20/25 homeruns and provide much needed left handed power to the team. He can also backup RF which is important to the Yankees with Beltran also being a little bit fragile.
The other part of this equation is second base is wide open now. It looks like the Yankees will have a spring training battle between two youngsters Rob Refsnyer who is 23 years old and Jose Pirela who is a little bit older. Pirela is also a younger cheaper version of Prado so it is possible he could be a bench player who backups multiple positions. He may also be at AAA ready to step up if anything happens with Refsnyder as the second baseman which I think the Yankees and most of the fans want. It is also possible the Yankees don't risk this at all and they sign a veteran such as Stephen Drew or Asdrubal Cabrera to play second base. The Yankees now have their rotation set with Eovaldi slotting in behind Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia. The fifth starter job right now looks like it belongs to Chris Capuano but by May or June Ivan Nova should be returning from Tommy John and figures to slot in the rotation as well. The Yankees bullpen seems set as well with Betances and Miller at the backend and Shawn Kelley, Justin Wilson and Adam Warren in front of them. They also have Esmil Rogers who can serve as the longman and there could be a battle for the last spot between recent pickup German from the Mets and youngster Jacob Lindgren.
The Yankees have clearly gone the youth rout this offseason. They could have a double play combination that is 25 and 23 years old and have them for years to come if it works out. They are also clearly setting up 1B and RF for the next couple of years to be taken over by youngsters Aaron Judge and Greg Bird and Headley although not a youth is in his prime and signed for four years. They have McCann and a young backup behind him who could take over when McCann is ready to go. Gardner and Ellsbury in the outfield are also in their prime and most importantly to them is the pitching with four of their five starters being under 30 when Nova comes back and their bullpen also filled with young guys and more coming behind them. We will see how this all works out but the Yankees have decided to change business and go the way that they built their late 90s dynasty. They will go with homegrown talent and then the right trade or free agent signing that won't kill them.