On Sunday, the New York Yankees put themselves in full ‘sellers’ mode for the first time in memory as they traded away their second big-name reliever in a week, this time Andrew Miller, to the Cleveland Indians for prospect outfielder Clint Frazier and pitching prospects Justus Sheffield, Ben Heller and J.P. Feyereisen. Here are the SportsZone Trade Grades for both teams:


At 59-42 entering action on Sunday, the Indians are so close to their first playoff appearance in three years they can taste it. Backed by one of the strongest starting rotations in the American League- Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, Trevor Bauer, and Josh Tomlin- and a solid lineup headed by Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor and Mike Napoli, they have a legitimate shot at their first World Series berth since 1995. This trade puts them one step closer to that goal, as adding Miller fortifies their middle relief situation, which was one of their lone weak spots. Miller can close or serve as the eighth inning bridge to incumbant closer Cody Allen to form a dominant end game combination, while allowing current setup man Bryan Shaw in the seventh inning.

Miller is considered one of the elite relief pitchers in the game, with two consecutive seasons of over 100 strikeouts in less than 63 innings each heading into this season, which has already seen him record 77 in 45.1 with a 1.39 ERA through 44 games thus far. He is under contract for two more seasons and owed a mere $21 million, which is a bargain in this day in age. While the Indians paid a steep price in prospects for him, this is a solid move for a player who will only increase the chances of keeping Cleveland in contention over the next two seasons. With the failed attempt at landing Jon Lucroy from Milwaukee, they still have a solid farm system, and could add another piece before the trade deadline comes on Monday.


It’s weird to see the Yankees in anything that even remotely resembles a ‘rebuild mode’ or approaching the deadline as ‘sellers’ for a change, but the fact is this is something they, as an organization, have put off for about four years now. The trade of Aroldis Chapman last week for prospects Gleyber Torres and Billy McKinney was a solid start, and this deal is a strong move that could give them their next superstar in Clint Frazier, who many scouts consider to be a future All-Star. The fifth overall pick in 2013, Frazier is ranked as the 24th best prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline, and was recently promoted to Triple-A after hitting 13 homers with a .276 batting average and 13 stolen bases in Double-A at the age of 21. His power is still blossoming and his plate discipline keeps improving, while he also plays solid defense in center field, making him a possibility for the Yankees outfield as soon as next year if all goes well. The idea of a future outfield with Frazier flanked by McKinney and Aaron Judge should make Yankee fans swoon for the foreseeable future.

They also get Sheffield, a first round pick in 2014 and the 95th best prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline, who at age 20 has already made the jump to advanced Class-A ball and is 7-5 with a 3.59 ERA this season while facing older competition. He profiles as a potential mid-rotation starter with a potentially plus curveball and a developing change-up, which could leave room for him exceeding the projection. In Heller and Feyereisen the Yanks could have two potential key cogs for their bullpen as both players have shown excellent results in Triple-A and Double-A respectively. So general manager Brian Cashman got both the quantity and quality he was hoping for in return for Miller, and they big league team is still competitive this season with Dellin Betances now the closer, and Adam Warren and newly acquired Tyler Clippard manning the middle innings for the rest of the season.

I have one reason why I can’t give this trade an A though, and some may disagree, but my problem with this trade is what they didn’t get out of it. On Saturday, NBC Hardball Talk reported that the Washington Nationals were willing to give up prized pitching prospect Lucas Giolito for Miller in a straight up deal that the Yankees turned down because they wanted more. Now, while I understand the need for them to get more in terms of quality for Miller, the fact is that Giolito is considered one of the top five prospects in the game, and would have been the front line starter the Yankees can only dream of having at present time. At 22, Giolito’s first few starts in the majors have shown that he still has some work to do to reach his potential, but given the Yankees current rotation struggles, getting him and maybe one other prospect for Miller would have been a major coup. If Frazier and Sheffield become key components to the next Yankee dynasty nobody will remember what they could have had, and they still got a quality return, but neither Frazier or Sheffield has the ceiling of a Giolito, so for that, the Yankees get a B+. Even if it a good return that shows that the rebuilding effort is entirely on the right track.

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1 Comment

  1. When I first read the B+ grade, I immediately thought that this trade should’ve been an “A to A-” across the board. But, as they say, a prospect will forever be a prospect until they make the leap to the big leagues. MANY so-called prospects never make it to The Show no matter what sports you’re talking about. Andrew Miller has proven to be a Top 5 reliever in MLB this season and that’s a proven commodity. But if Clint Frazier (what a baseball name, huh!) becomes the star that’s he projected to be, maybe the Yankees just saved themselves hundreds of millions of dollars going after Bryce Harper in a few years. Sheffield and McKinney should be major leaguers and with the glut of stud shortstops in the minors, the team also has viable, future trade pieces too.

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