NEW YORK -- Brian Cashman couldn't help but notice two former Yankees playing major roles in the 2016 postseason, which concluded Thursday morning with the Chicago Cubs' historic World Series championship. He couldn't help notice Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman, in part because of their impressive October performances, and in part because he's the one who traded them.
Speaking to reporters before being honored at the 22nd annual Lou Gehrig Sports Award Benefit Dinner in Manhattan on Thursday night, Cashman praised the pitchers who formerly made up two-thirds of his famously three-headed bullpen. But he stands by his decision to trade the two stars, citing the exciting prospect packages New York received in return from the Indians and Cubs.
"Chapman and Miller gave everything they had and then some," Cashman said. "They went above and beyond for their teams and the cities they were playing for. They were a big reason their teams were where they were and playing in Game 7."
The Yankees traded Chapman before the non-waiver Trade Deadline to the Cubs for Adam Warren and prospects Gleyber Torres, Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford. Chapman recorded a 1.01 ERA and 16 saves in 28 regular-season games with the Cubs, and threw 7 2/3 innings over six World Series appearances.
The Yankees acquired Ben Heller and prospects Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield and J.P Feyereisen from the Indians for Miller, who pitched to a 1.40 ERA postseason ERA with Cleveland while striking out 30 batters in 19 1/3 innings.
"It was pretty impressive," Chapman said. "That's why the Cubs stepped up and that's why the Indians stepped up at the Trade Deadline, when we felt we had to do what we did. To give up the present to have a better future. We have to wait for our future to be delivered down the line, but they certainly got what they bargained for in the present."
"It was an epic world-championship effort by the Cubs and the Indians, although I wish we were in there fighting it out ourselves," Cashman said.
Torres, 19, was one of the several Yankees prospects to perform well in the Arizona Fall League this winter, hitting .308 with three home runs and seven RBIs in 11 games as one of the league's younger players. Sheffield posted a 1.50 ERA in 30 Minor League innings after the trade. Frazier is considered one of baseball's best and most ready prospects, and could be in the Bronx sometime next season.
"Our guys are out there going through the development process," Cashman said. "On the position player side, we have a lot of in-house candidates who are still trying to get their sea legs under them."
Cashman said he's not yet spoken with Chapman's representatives regarding a possible return to the Bronx. Chapman will be one of the most coveted pitchers on the free-agent market, which the Yankees are eager to explore.
"We're going to go through everything," Cashman said. "The areas we want to focus on is pitching -- bullpen and starting pitching. The biggest focus will be pitching, pitching, pitching."