This story was excerpted from Bryan Hoch’s Yankees Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to receive it regularly in your inbox.
As he decompressed from a frenetic trade deadline, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman made sure to thank his staff from top to bottom for the blood, sweat and tears they put in for weeks, from their pro researchers to front-office executives. analysts and medical teams.
They floated an untold amount of concepts and proposals in the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s 6 p.m. ET deadline for outside acquisitions, feverishly pursuing some options that were rejected at the line of scrimmage and turning their noses up at others, so how a small child asked him to take a bite of Brussels sprouts.
“All we’re trying to do is make it better, no matter what time of year it is,” Cashman said. “We feel like we’ve added impact and it’s come at a price, but we’ve been on top of it. We’ve certainly pursued a lot of different avenues and feel good about what we’ve been able to pull off.”
Trade 1: Acquired OF Andrew Benintendi from Royals for LHP TJ Sikkema, RHP Beck Way and RHP Chandler Champlain
Benintendi boarded a jet to New York on July 27, expecting it to be his last trip with his Kansas City teammates. All-Star was right, but at least he was heading to the right destination.
“Ultimately, he brings athleticism, contact and really good bat-to-ball skills,” Cashman said. “Whenever he’s available for us — hopefully it’s all or most of the time — I think we’re a better team with him than without him.
Trade 2: Acquired RHP Scott Effross from Cubs for RHP Hayden Wesneski
Effross’ name has been floating around the Yankees’ backroom since April as the right-hander was in the midst of a stellar rookie season. Effross, 28, provides depth following season-ending injuries to Chad Green and Michael King and has five years left in control of the club. Wesneski was the Yanks’ No. 7 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, and is now the Cubs’ No. 8 prospect.
“That was a big plus because we really took some hits when we lost Green and King,” Cashman said. “I’m trying to find ways to fill it [the bullpen] and consolidation was certainly an important part of our discussions. … Effross is a guy who’s young, we’ve been paying attention to what he’s doing. He’s funky from a different angle, hits the strike zone, doesn’t walk guys and gets a lot of ground balls. It’s something anyone would want to gravitate toward.”
Trade 3: Acquired RHP Frankie Montas and RHP Lou Trivino from the Athletics for LHP Ken Waldichuk, RHP Luis Medina, LHP JP Sears and 2B Cooper Bowman
Once righty Luis Castillo was off the board, traded by the Reds to the Mariners, the Yankees turned their attention to Montas. The 29-year-old had a 3.18 ERA in 19 starts for the Aces and was widely viewed among the top pitchers available at this year’s deadline. According to MLB Pipeline, Waldichuk was the No. 1 prospect. 5 to the Yanks (No. 3 with the A’s), Medina was No. 10 (now No. 7), Sears was No. 20 (No. 19 in Oakland), and Bowman was No. 21 (now No. 29).
“I wouldn’t say it was a natural pivot [from Castillo to Montas], but we had a lot of simultaneous conversations about a lot of different options that were out there,” Cashman said. “Certainly, there were very few superior options available than [Montas], so I was able to end the dialogue with the Oakland A’s. We’re excited about what he’s able to offer us along with what we already had.”
Trade 4: Acquired RHP Clayton Beeter for OF Joey Gallo
The Yankees acknowledged they needed to find a change of scenery for Gallo, who hit just .159 with 25 homers and 46 RBIs in 140 games with New York after being acquired before last year’s trade deadline. Instead, they took Beeter, a curveball artist who had a 5.75 ERA in 18 games (16 starts) at Double-A Tulsa this year but had 15.33 strikeouts per nine innings at the time of the trade . He is ranked as the Yankees’ No. 10 prospect.
“It didn’t work out here, but I appreciate that Joey never stopped trying, never stopped working, never stopped caring,” Cashman said. “I think our team saw all of that in the clubhouse. They were rooting hard for him to succeed. All you can ask for is sincere effort and maximum commitment, and we got that. We know what caliber of player he is, but in the window of time we had, we couldn’t unlock that for whatever reason.”
Trade 5: Acquired OF Harrison Bader for LHP Jordan Montgomery
It was a move that sent shockwaves through the clubhouse, with a red-eyed Montgomery making the final comments with “NY” interlocked across his chest. A Gold Glove-winning center fielder who grew up in Bronxville, N.Y., Bader has drawn interest even though he is currently wearing a walking boot because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot and may not be able to play until September.
“Harrison Bader is one of the elite center fielders in the game,” Cashman said. “It provides a lot of lanes for our manager when he’s healthy. We certainly took a deep dive into his medical studies and there is a lot of optimism and faith that sometime in September we will be able to unwrap that gift and send it… whether it comes from the bank to steal a bag or as an option starting. in the outer field. It’s hard to get your hands on someone of that caliber and unfortunately it cost us one of our players in Jordan Montgomery.”