Hot Stove Report: Youth brings rebirth to Yankees

Youth brings rebirth to Yankees
By Chris Saunders
Many Yankees fans have  a “World Series or bust”  mentality and GM Brian Cashman knows all about that. Going into the offseason Cashman had his shopping list consisting of a second baseman, reliever, outfielder, and possibly another starting pitcher.
This off season, Cashman not only orchestrated two trades one day apart from each other but he also acquired his outfielder as well. First he traded from a surplus of catching depth, John Ryan Murphy in a swap for  Minnesota Twins outfielder Aaron Hicks. The Twins didn’t have a need for Hicks as they themselves had an excess of Outfielders in top prospects Bryan Buxton, Eddie Rosario, Oswaldo Arcia, and Miguel Sano.
Next Cashman traded right-handed reliever Adam Warren to the Chicago Cubs for Shortstop/second baseman Starlin Castro. Not even twenty four hours later, Cashman flipped left handed reliever Justin Wilson to Detroit in exchange for minor-league prospects Luis Cessa and Chad Green. For people to label Warren as a “throw in,” let’s pump the brakes for a second. The Yankees’ pitching staff was like a circus act spiraling out of control with inconsistency and decimated with a ton of injuries, Warren gave the team everything it could have asked for. When Joe Girardi called on him to fill in and be a starter, Warren performed exceptionally well to the tune of a 3.66 ERA, which ranked second amongst all New York starters.
And when you consider all the adjustments that came from being stretched out as a starter
and returning to the bullpen, a cycle that continued over the course of the year, Warren had a solid season overall, 7-7 with a 3.29 ERA.Believe it or not, Warren was one of the most valuable Yankees last year and Girardi expressed that a bevy of times during the season.
But the Yankees had their sight sets on two things: getting younger and more athletic. After watching the young and athletic Kansas City Royals win back-to-back pennants and close the deal this year, there’s no question changes had to be made.
Altogether you might say “what’s the good news with all these trades?” IT MAKES THE YANKEES MORE ATHLETIC AND YOUNGER!
Castro is 25 -years old and in his young career has shown some promise.  The bad news, ,he’s been inconsistent ever since his rookie campaign where he hit .300 and only struck out 71 times. Since then, however, the batting average has fluctuated and the strikeouts have increased from year to year. The Yankees are certainly hoping he becomes more consistent while playing a solid second base, a relatively new position for him after coming up as a shortstop. If this comes to fruition, the Yankees can solidify their up the middle-infield tandem for years to come with Didi Gregorius and Castro. One thing noticed, as the season progressed ,is that Didi looked a lot more comfortable, maybe taking the pressure off himself and stopped trying to live up to the “post” Derek Jeter era.
Secondly the acquisition of Aaron Hicks and two pitching prospects from Detroit helps give the Yankees much needed depth at two positions they have lacked over recent years. For the most part, Hicks is insurance if  Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury and Bret Gardner, all known for their rash of injuries cannot play at certain points of the season. Beltran in particular is more of a DH type player now, which brings Hicks into play. The reasons? He’s only twenty six years old with young legs and plus bat speed can make up for an injury to one of the big three.
By and large the Yankees needed starting pitching depth, and with the trade of  Justin Wilson while he was a major piece in their bullpen, acquiring those two pitching prospects helps fill the Triple A rotation as well with reliever and fastball artist Aroldis Chapman on the team helping to soften the blow a bit.
In conclusion, when it was time for overhaul, the front office would target the big name free agents, but things have changed. The Yankees are looking to acquire young talent for cheap and develop the farm system. The key to getting better is to just meticulously address the areas of need. Going into next season, second base won’t be a question mark. The hope is that Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and a few others have bounce back years.
The Yankees aren’t satisfied with first-round exits and they’re looking to build a contender for 2016 – and beyond
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