Yankees Gain Flexibility in Landing Prado, Drew

For much of today, it seemed like the Red Sox were going to be the only active American League East team, but then the Orioles and Yankees got in on the act (you can read all of our trade deadline analysis here). For the Yankees part, they acquired Stephen Drew and Martin Prado. Both could be important to the team, but Prado’s acquisition may affect the 2015 Yankees as well, which makes it a little more interesting.

Of course, the most interesting part of this deal is which Martin Prado are the Yankees getting? There’s a big difference between the .345 wOBA version of Prado and the current .305 wOBA incarnation. Either way, they are unlikely to miss prospect Peter O’Brien, who despite hitting some impressive home runs, was unlikely to find much time behind the plate for the Yankees — if he can even remain behind the plate. O’Brien has played some first base and right field this year, and it’s unclear exactly where he will fit with the Dbacks, if and when he reaches the majors.

Getting back to Prado, both ZiPS and Steamer think that he’ll do better, and it’s possible that Prado’s performance was dragged down by the sinkhole that has been the Diamondbacks’ season. Assuming just for a moment that the change of scenery reinvigorates Prado, he should be able to help in a number of ways. For starters, he is going to right field, which will mercifully push Ichiro Suzuki and his sub-replacement-ness back to the bench. But Prado is probably going to play all over. He’s going to help out in left field on occasion, and at third base as well. Maybe even a little at first base.

The key question, however, is how much time he sees at second base. Carlos Beltran may be ready to resume some work in right field soon, and when he is, there will be an opportunity created to move Derek Jeter to designated hitter — Beltran in right, Prado at second, Drew at short, and the Captain at DH. At this stage, Jeter is never going to play another defensive position, but he has started at DH four times this year, and adding Prado and Drew will give them the flexibility to rest Jeter’s legs more frequently down the stretch without sacrificing offense the way they would have been by starting Brendan Ryan at short.

Finally, there is the consideration beyond this year. When the team traded for Chase Headley, general manager Brian Cashman hedged on whether or not he would be in their 2015 plans, but between Prado being under contract and Alex Rodriguez returning, it would seem that the Yankees now have little to no motivation to retain Headley.

Neither Prado nor Drew is going to make the Yankees a title contender, but they are better than the players they replaced, they help push Ichiro to the bench, and might be able to buy Jeter some easier nights. That’s not a bad bit of work considering all they sacrificed was one fringe prospect, and it should keep the Yankees viable in the AL East for the rest of the way.

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Paul Swydan is the managing editor of The Hardball Times, a writer and editor for FanGraphs and a writer for the Boston Globe. Follow him on Twitter @Swydan.

15 Responses to “Yankees Gain Flexibility in Landing Prado, Drew”

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  1. Balthazar says:

    I absolutely don’t get this trade for Arizona. A straight salary dump in they think Prado’s done, but they got back absolutely nothing of any use. A vindictive shovel-out of one of Kevin Towers’ favorites?? I don’t get it.

    The Snakes are a terribly messed up organization right now. Simply throwing away a still useful asset, even if at a nadir of value, is irrational. And that’s if you have assets to waste, which Arizona patently doesn’t.

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    • Lutz says:

      Well, maybe all they could get was a one- or two-tool prospect, and Power is the single most valuable tool (conventionally.) If you’re going to gamble on one thing…

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    • Shut up, bat sixth and get your arse in left says:

      I think Prado may be declining quickly so I don’t hate it. The Diamondbacks have made some weird/bad deals but given their payroll capabilities this one does not bother me.

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    • KT says:

      Trust the process, I know better than the so-called “experts”.

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  2. Balthazar says:

    “Alex Rodriguez returning” is easily the most hilarious phrase I’ve heard in baseball _this year_. I can’t see Rodrigues ever playing in pinstripes again. The level of rancor between player and team is entirely unmanageable and unendurable. Moving Alex now . . . that’s a difficult proposition. Kemp for A-Rod with some money coming east to balance it out, or a player, would be a solution to the overweening bad bets of moneybags past. Counting on Alex Rodriguez as a Yankees roster presence simply because of the contract doesn’t figure though, to me.

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    • n0exit says:

      Why not? The Yankees won’t throw away ~$40 million because they don’t like him. The deciding factor will always be performance. There is no real ongoing issue with the team per se, he dropped the malpractice suit, probably in a bid to return next year. If he’s better than Dan uggla level he’ll play. Only at dh maybe some 1b though, can’t imagine him fielding at third.

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    • Stank Asten says:

      Kemp for A-rod is easily the more hilarious phrase.

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  3. A Red Sox fan says:

    The Devil Snares Prado

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  4. Michael says:

    i think a-Rod will be back. Releasing him doesn’t make all that much sense, because knowing A-Rod, he would sue them for his incentives. And we mock him, but he actually has talent that doesn’t come out of a bottle. He’s not going to play all the time, certainly not going to play the field very much at all, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he gets into 80-100 games, maybe a dozen HR’s, and a .250/.325/.425 line. Not great, but better than replacement value, and if released, useful to some team for major league minimum. I think the Yankees are stuck with him, unless some other team essentially takes him for virtually nothing. The interesting question is whether MLB will get involved and facilitate a trade. BTW, A-Rod may be an out and out bum, but there’s no place better to hide than a big city. He will become old news after the first few weeks.

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  5. LONNIE says:

    I can’t see AROD ever playing for the Yankees again. It’s a sunk cost and I don’t the Yankees will want to deal with his act anymore. Cashman has liked Headley for years and I think he will be at 3b for them next year.

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  6. Paul G. says:

    Ihciro is sub-replacement? I guess it depends on which version of WAR you are using. bWAR has him at +0.8 on the season. Not exactly outstanding, but tolerable. The problem with Ichiro is he was doing well at the start of the season when he was playing part time. When he was required to play every day the production went down. Whether those are related or coincidental is unknown. I think he’s still useful, but more in a platoon or regularly used fourth outfielder type situation. Adding Prado will help with that, assuming Prado does anything.

    It is difficult for me to see A-Rod playing the field regularly when he returns, assuming he does return. Someone will have to play third. Headley could certainly be back next year. I suspect Prado and Headley are in competition right now, a competition they both could lose given this is the Yankees.

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  7. Mike says:

    I would keep Headly and Prado as 3B and 2B for 2015 then the Yankees need a SS and an every day RF

    Beltran as DH
    No way Rodriguez returns he will be out almost two years by the time he would come back

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  8. Youppi! says:

    if Arod is released he’ll end the Marlins’ 1B because Loria is a cheap dbag who will assume he’ll fill seats in their hideous stadium. but i suspect he’ll go to Spring training with DH as his part time option. Headley has no value now to command what he could have two years ago but somebody will overpay to the tune of 3 or 4 for 48-60.

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  9. BMac says:

    This article bends over backwards trying to look at the potential upside for the Yankees.

    In reality, Drew sucks. Prado sucks. They acquired two very bad aging players. In fantasy, these players are non-rosterable. In reality, they are a sunk cost.

    I do not see The Captain DHing on his victory lap season. Even when Brendan Ryan plays this season, Jeter is at SS. Drew won’t make things any different.

    Yankees could have done so many things to improve themselves, but these guys are subtraction by addition. The Jays & Orioles are breathng a sigh of relief. The Red Sox first trade to their archrivals in a long time is just what you would expect; designed to hurt them.

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