In another remarkable piece of work by Rick Hahn, the White Sox sent third baseman Todd Frazier, and relievers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the Yankees in a trade Tuesday. In return, the Sox got the Yanks’ No. 3 prospect (No. 30 overall in baseball) OF Blake Rutherford, No. 19 prospect pitcher Ian Clarkin, pitcher Tyler Clippard as well as AA outfielder Tito Polo (what a name!).
Rutherford is obviously the headliner here. He was backed up in a log jam of outfielders in the Yankees system. But that of course is what makes him a great fit for the White Sox as they address needs in the outfield once again. He’s also a big bat from the left side of the plate, sure to add his share of offensive output.
Reports said that the Sox had their eyes on Clarkin from jump street. He’s a 22-year-old lefty playing in High-A with a 2.62 ERA and 58 strikeouts in roughly 75 innings.
Many are saying Tyler Clippard’s inclusion in the deal is to offset the salaries trading hands, and in the end no money was part of the official deal, clearing roughly $25 million of salary for the White Sox.
Here’s some great info my smart, good Yankees friend Korey Jarrach (follow him @theKoreyStory) had to say about the deal and the players coming to Chicago:
What the Yankees are getting:
Todd Frazier to the Yankees just makes sense. He’s a guy Brian Cashman, Yankees General Manager, has been watching for a while actually. So this isn’t surprising to me that he wanted him included in the deal. How he will be used is a little tricky at this point. The Yankees recently acquired Garrett Cooper from the Brewers and in his short stint he’s actually played well enough to probably platoon with Frazier at first. This is the most logical usage for Frazier in my mind. He’ll also play some third to give Headley some time off and I’m sure the Yankees will enjoy having him as an insurance policy for if (inevitably when) Chase Headley (king of inconsistency) has another one of his horrible stretches. Overall, he fills a need this year and doesn’t stop our prospects in the future.
David Robertson is probably who I’m most excited about. He comes back to the Yankees after being with us on the 2009 World Series championship team. He’ll most likely slide either into the 7th or 8th inning role. It’ll probably depend how Joe Giardi wants to use Dellin Betances. Many see the Andrew Miller mold in Dellin so this could be his chance to prove it and be a fire extinguisher with Robertson sliding into the 8th inning role. I also don’t think Cashman is done dealing and could see him using Robertson as a trade bait for a potential starting pitcher but there’s no substance behind that yet.
Tommy Kahnle seems to be more about the future and less about this season. Don’t get me wrong, he’ll be used and he will definitely impact this pennant race for the Yankees this year. The main reason Cashman wanted him was control. He’s not eligible to be a free agent until 2021 and the Yankees have a big contract in the bullpen with Chapman and another coming up soon with Betances. He’s a cheap long term bullpen solution.
Here’s what you White Sox fans really want to know:
Let’s start with the obvious, Tyler Clippard. He’s got a lengthy major league career and you know what you’re getting. He’s got a nasty change up but struggled at times with fastball command which makes hitters able to sit on the change. The big reason he was in the deal is money. His contract covers about half of Robertson’s I believe. The White Sox were going to have to either take on salary or pay the Yankees part of Robertson’s salary. This solves the money issue, and allows the White Sox to have a major league reliever to take one of the spots by the departing relievers.
Tito Polo is an interesting prospect and one the Yankees needed to get out of the system due to the impending rule 5 draft this summer. He’s got plus plus speed. In his minor league career he’s already stolen 157 bases (including 7 in his 14 games at double-a since his recent call up). Polo has the ability to play center or left but his weak throwing arm would make him a liability in right field for a major league team. My guess is he ends up being a solid fourth outfielder in his career but he has shown a recent power surge and a better plate approach that could turn him into a starter someday.
In the 2013 MLB draft the Yankees had three first round picks. One netted Chapman in a trade with the Reds, another is named Aaron Judge, and the other is Ian Clarkin. He was drafted out of high school so he’s still only 22 years old. The big issue with him will be durability. He’s struggled to stay healthy after long disabled list stints his first few years in the minors. This year has been healthy and pitched to a 2.62 ERA in 15 games in high-a Tampa. He’s a lefty who throws low 90s and has a lot of movement on his curveball. The Yankees have envisioned him as a starter and that’s where he belongs if his health doesn’t get in the way. Back of the rotation guy or if his health slows him down he could end up being a good lefty specialist, middle, or long relief type of guy. If he stays healthy, you got a good one though. Every indication I’ve heard and seen is that he’s a hard worker and a team first type of guy.
The part everyone White Sox fan truly wants to hear so let’s get it over with. Blake Rutherford is an absolute monster. He’s a potential five tool player. He makes solid contact, runs well, plays the outfield spectacularly, and has the potential to fill out to become a power guy too. Honestly, the only reason you’re getting him is because the Yankees have a massive log jam in the outfield and his path to the majors is blocked for a long long long time in their organization. So congratulations. He’s got the chance to be special. He’s 20 years old, so he still needs to develop. Don’t expect to see him in the majors making a huge impact for 2-3 years at least. Blake’s career batting average in the minors is just over .300 and that’s probably around where he will hit in the majors someday. The best thing I can say about this kid is sit back and enjoy the ride. With Moncada, Jimenez, and now Rutherford, you have some future stars on your hands.
The White Sox now have TEN of the top 100 prospects in all of baseball. (1 Moncada, 8 Jimenez, 11 Kopech, 23 Robert, 28 Giolito, 30 Rutherford, 36 Lopez, 59 Fulmer, 63 Cease, 68 Collins)
Rick Hahn’s work to rebuild the Sox has been nothing short of masterful, and he should be in consideration for executive of the year, even for a last place team. Granted, the Sox had prime pieces to deal, and we shouldn’t be totally surprised that teams paid a high price for our good players that we couldn’t win with. Anyways, the plan continues to unfold before our eyes. With guys like Swarzak and Melky still on the roster, it’s possible that the Sox aren’t done dealing just yet either.
Also, HAPPY MONCADA DAY!