To paraphrase Brian Cashman, the Yankees declared where they stand this season in loud fashion Sunday morning by trading Andrew Miller to the Indians in a four-prospect deal headlined by Triple-A outfielder Clint Frazier.
The Miller trade comes six days after the Yankees sent Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs for three prospects, including the gem of the Chicago organization, Class A shorstop Gleyber Torres. At that time, Cashman would not characterize the Yankees’ position as buyers or sellers, saying that trading Chapman was the “easy call and the right call.”
In moving Miller, however, roughly 30 hours before Monday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver deadline, the Yankees have made it clear they’ve switched into rebuild mode, something they haven’t done in almost three decades. Homegrown Dellin Betances, the seventh-inning reliever when the season began, will now take over as closer, with more moves anticipated before the deadline. Carlos Beltran, a free agent at season’s end, is likely to be traded. Ivan Nova, Nathan Eovaldi and Brian McCann also reportedly have been drawing serious interest from other teams.
Frazier, 21, was the Indians’ first-round pick (fifth overall) in the 2013 draft and Baseball America rated him at No. 21 on this season’s best-prospect list. This year, in 94 combined games between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus (5 games), the righty-hitting Frazier is batting .273 with 13 home runs, 48 RBIs, a .350 on-base percentage and .811 OPS.
The Yankees also acquired a second Indians first-rounder in lefthander Justus Sheffield, 20, the 31st pick overall in the 2014 draft. Sheffield is 7-5 with a 3.59 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 95 1/3 innings over 19 starts at Class A Lynchburg this season. In addition, the Yankees got a pair of hard-throwing righty relievers in Ben Heller and J.P. Feyereisen.
Heller, 24, was the closer at Triple-A Columbus, with 12 saves in 13 chances, a 1.73 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings. Feyreisen, 23, had a 2.23 ERA and five saves to go with 56 strikeouts over 40 1/3 innings for Double-A Akron.