Friday, December 19, 2014

Yankees’ youth movement continues with trade

The New York Yankees announced Friday that they acquired RHP Nathan Eovaldi, INF/OF Garrett Jones and RHP Domingo German from the Miami Marlins in exchange for INF/OF Martin Prado, RHP David Phelps and cash.

The trade continues the Yankees trend of getting younger on the roster. Eovaldi is just 24 and German is 22. It seems to, for the moment, free up a battle for the second base job between Rob Refsnyder, who turns 24 in March, and Jose Pirela, 25. Earlier this offseason the Yankees received Didi Gregorius, 24, from the Arizona Diamondbacks via trade.

It’s hard to see the 31-year-old Prado go, but I’m very intrigued by the Refsnyder and Pirela angle here. The deal, at least for now, signifies the Yankees are interested in testing them out this season. Stay tuned on that front.

As for Eovaldi, he’s a hard thrower who gives up a good number of hits – 9.5 per nine innings pitched across 460 major league frames. He can touch 98 mph with his fastball, but he’s been beaten a lot by his changeup. Eno Sarris over at FanGraphs suggests here that he simply ditch the pitch and compares him a bit to Garrett Richards of the Los Angeles Angels. That’s good upside if the Yankees can figure out how to calm Eovaldi down when he's rattled, which has been an issue.

Losing Phelps is not such a big deal in my view. He was a swingman at best, and totally unspectacular. I’d rather see any innings he had coming to him delivered to Bryan Mitchell or Manny Banuelos.

In Jones the Yankees receive a bonafide backup first baseman for Mark Teixeira, something that was sorely missing in 2014. Jones has hit at least 15 home runs in each of the last six seasons and his lefty swing could thrive some in Yankee Stadium. Jones, 33, can also play right field which gives them additional protection for Carlos Beltran than Chris Young provides as the fourth outfielder.

Finally, the Yankees brought in a legit prospect to the mix in German. He excelled in 2014 at Single-A Greensboro making 25 starts (123.1 innings) with a 9-3 record, 2.48 ERA, 113 strikeouts and just 25 walks. already lists German as the seventh best prospect in the Yankees system.

In all, I like the Yankees deal. It sticks with the theme of the offseason and that is to build a franchise with strategic free-agent signings while infusing the roster and system with youth. They receive some help for the rotation, open up some space for prospects already in the organization and added to a farm system that is slowly but surely becoming better.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance sports writer and sports media strategist. His baseball commentary has also been published on Yahoo Sports, the FanSided network, Sportsideo and linked multiple times on MLB Trade Rumors’ Baseball Blogs Weigh In. He is a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and the BYB Hub.