By Zach Bernard
The latest trade out of the Winter Meetings has the Cubs sending three-time All Star shortstop Starlin Castro to the New York Yankees in exchange for pitcher Adam Warren and infielder Brendan Ryan. Here are three takeaways from this trade:
The Yankees Are Committed To Getting Younger
An old team, the Joe Girardi filled out his Yankees lineup card with names like Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran and, every fifth day, CC Sabathia. These guys were lights out on the MVP 05 video game, and that was a decade ago. Needless to say, the Yankees need to get a lot younger, and their failure to muster any sort of offense or chemistry against the Astros in the AL Wild Card Game was evidence of that. They saw a nice youth movement mid-summer, when guys like Greg Bird and Luis Severino filled roster spots due to injuries and impressed for the rest of the year.
Still, there’s more work to be done in the Bronx, and that starts with Starlin Castro who will no doubt fill a gaping hole at second base occupied by Stephen Drew and Dustin Ackley throughout 2015. Castro’s second half of 2015 (he slashed .295/.319/.464, with an absurdly productive September) is evidence that he still has the ability to play like a star, and he’ll fill out a fine double play combination with Didi Gregorius. And he’s signed through 2019 with an option for 2020, so he gives the Yankees stability.
The biggest concern with Castro will be his propensity to make mental mistakes. They barely tolerated them on the North Side of Chicago, they absolutely won’t handle them well in the Bronx. But Castro is a likeable guy, the kind that’s very hard to root against, so his arrival in New York should be well-received.
The Cubs Fared Well, And Cleared Salary
Adam Warren will be 28 through most of the 2016 season, still a young pitcher by MLB standards, and he’s proven to be an effective one. Last season, Warren pitched in 43 games (17 starts) and posted a 3.29 ERA and 3.59 FIP over 131 1/3 innings. Across 289 career innings since 2012, he has a career 13-15 record with an impressive 3.39 ERA and 2.58 strikeout-to-walk rate. Given the Cubs’ need for another starter and bullpen arm, he fits the need for either, and one has to think he’ll do well in Chris Bosio’s system.
Another key factor to this trade is the $38 million the Yankees will take in from Castro’s contract. This affirms the suspicion many have on Cubs Twitter that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer aren’t done just yet. There are other holes to fill, but the front office can be unpredictable (just look at how they swooped in on Joe Maddon last year), and who knows where that money will go. But it does give the Cubs breathing room.
Yankees Need To Shore Up The Bullpen
Indeed, getting to Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller is daunting for any lineup, but considering the injury problems many Yankee starters faced in 2015, they need to be prepared for the bullpen to go deep into games. Yes, Chasen Shreve and Justin Wilson were very good last year, but Warren is still a tough loss for a team with uncertainties in the starting five.
They could very easily build from within or go on the cheap and sign a few arms and hope one of them lands. Bullpens are generally a crapshoot, after all, and it’ll be interesting to see how the Yankees fill that hole.