Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

MLB News

5 questions after Yanks-White Sox blockbuster

July 19, 2017

The Yankees and White Sox stunned the baseball world with their seven-player blockbuster Tuesday night, capping a day that felt more like July 31 than July 18.Hours after the D-backs cut a deal with the Tigers for right fielder J.D. Martinez, the Yanks sent three prospects and right-hander Tyler Clippard

The Yankees and White Sox stunned the baseball world with their seven-player blockbuster Tuesday night, capping a day that felt more like July 31 than July 18.
Hours after the D-backs cut a deal with the Tigers for right fielder J.D. Martinez, the Yanks sent three prospects and right-hander Tyler Clippard to the White Sox for third baseman Todd Frazier and right-handed relievers Player Page for David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle.
The move bolsters a shaky Yankees bullpen, while adding a power bat to the corner infield. Which corner? That's only one of the unanswered questions that need to be addressed following the trade. Let's take them one-by-one.

1. How will the Yankees use Frazier?
The 31-year-old has played 742 of his 853 career games at third base, but Frazier has some experience at first base, too. He started 36 games for the Reds there in 2012, then started 37 more in '14. The Yankees have had dismal production from the first base spot all season, their .686 OPS at the position ranking 29th out of 30 teams.
So Frazier could very well become the Yanks' new first baseman, though there's another intriguing idea. Make Frazier the everyday third baseman and move Chase Headley to first, where he can platoon with rookie Garrett Cooper.

Frazier hits both lefties and righties well, but Headley's splits have been extreme -- he entered Tuesday with a .790 OPS against right-handers and a paltry .534 OPS against left-handers. Cooper has hit lefties well in the Minors and could split time with Headley at first base.
2. Are the Yankees done dealing?
The unspoken losers of this trade could very well be the Athletics and Mets, who no longer have their biggest suitor for Yonder Alonso and Lucas Duda, respectively. The Yankees seemingly have addressed their first-base void and filled their bullpen holes, but that doesn't mean they're finished dealing.
The rotation still has problems, and they only got worse when Michael Pineda was diagnosed with a torn UCL last week. After making a run at Jose Quintana and dealing No. 3 prospect Blake Rutherford in the White Sox deal, it seems unlikely that GM Brian Cashman would part with the prospects it will take to land Oakland's Sonny Gray -- unless he was willing to create a package around infield prospect Jorge Mateo, who slides up into Rutherford's No. 3 spot on MLB Pipeline's Yanks Top 30 Prospects list.

Other starters the Yankees could kick the tires on include Trevor Cahill and Clayton Richard of the Padres, Jaime Garcia of the Braves and Dan Straily of the Marlins.
3. Are the White Sox done cleaning house?
Since last December, the White Sox have traded Chris Sale, Adam Eaton, Quintana, Frazier, Robertson and Kahnle, adding seven of MLB Pipeline's top 63 prospects to their system, giving them a total of 10 in the Top 100.
White Sox stacked for future, call up Moncada
So what's left in the cupboard? Melky Cabrera, who is in the final year of his contract, could be attractive to a team looking for an outfielder. Derek Holland could also fetch a prospect, while Clippard can likely be had for practically nothing if a team wants to roll the dice on him.

Mike Pelfrey, Anthony Swarzak and Miguel Gonzalez are also slated to become free agents after the season, leaving all as potential trade chips. That's a total of a half-dozen players that could still be dealt, though none will bring back the type of prospects GM Rick Hahn scored for his top names.
4. How will the Yankees' bullpen shake out?
Robertson has been one of the game's top closers since he succeeded Mariano Rivera in New York in 2014, saving 110 games over three seasons with the Yankees and White Sox. He's converted 13 of 14 save chances this season, his 14 save opportunities ranking 26th in the Majors -- fewer than any other full-time closer this season that hasn't spent time on the disabled list.
But the Yanks didn't pay Albertin Chapman $86 million to be a setup man, so the flame-throwing left-hander will remain in the closer's role. But four-time All-Star Dellin Betances figures to be replaced by Robertson in the eighth inning, where the latter first made a name for himself setting up for Rivera.
As for Betances, Robertson's arrival should allow Joe Girardi to utilize him in the "fire extinguisher" role that Andrew Miller has filled for the Indians, giving Girardi a dangerous weapon to use at any time.

The addition of Kahnle, who is having a breakout season with 60 strikeouts and only seven walks in 36 innings, gives the Yankees another solid option out of the 'pen. According to an American League executive, it was Kahnle, not Frazier or Robertson, who was drawing the biggest asking price from the White Sox during trade talks.
5. What do the Red Sox do at third base now?
You didn't think we were going to forget about the impact this deal has on Yankees' biggest rivals in all of this, did you?
When word first spread Tuesday evening that the White Sox had held a healthy Frazier out of the lineup, speculation immediately turned to Boston, where the Red Sox have had a Panda-sized hole at third base all season.
Social media began blowing up with Frazier-to-Boston rumors, though that quickly turned about 200 miles south when it was reported that the Yankees were about to deal for Frazier, Robertson and Kahnle. Not only did it fill some holes for the Yanks, but the deal kept both Frazier and Robertson out of Boston, leaving the Red Sox looking for answers.

Kansas City doesn't appear inclined to trade Mike Moustakas, while Miami's Martin Prado landed on the DL with a right knee injury on Monday, taking another potential trade target away from the Red Sox.
Oakland's Jed Lowrie has been a second baseman this season, but the former Boston first-rounder has played 30 or more games at third base three times in his 10 big league seasons. San Francisco's Eduardo Nunez is also likely available.

Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined as a reporter in 2001.