If there was any remaining doubt about the Yankees' intentions for the rest of the 2016 season, Monday's trade of Carlos Beltran, the team's best hitter, to the Texas Rangers for three minor league pitchers should wipe it out once and for all.
The trade of Beltran for Dillon Tate, a right-hander who was the Rangers' first-round draft pick and the fourth pick overall in 2015, signals the Yankees' official surrender of any playoff hopes for this season. Coming on the heels of the trades of Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller, the Yankees have over the past week divested themselves of not only their three best players, but also pretty much the only three reasons to watch them play during this generally forgettable season.
What they get: Three more arms to add to the stockpile of young players they have received in the past week. Tate, a 6-foot-2, 165-pound 22-year-old, has not had a good season in Class A this year — he is 3-3 with a 5.12 ERA in 16 starts for the Hickory Crawdads of the Sally League — but is considered to have a high ceiling. The Yankees also reportedly acquire right-handers Erik Swanson and Nick Green.
What they're losing: In Beltran, not only the best bat in their lineup — he's led the Yankees with a .304 batting average, 22 home runs and 64 RBIs, and an .890 OPS — but also a mature, veteran presence in their clubhouse. Beltran might not have been much of a fielder anymore — in fact he was a liability in right field — but his influence on the young players on the Yankees' roster was undeniable. He will be missed on several levels.
Unexpected beneficiaries: Alex Rodriguez, who it would appear has won back the everyday DH job if only by default; maybe now we'll get to see how much A-Rod really has left with steady playing time and more at-bats. Aaron Hicks is another winner here, because he probably now becomes the everyday right fielder, unless Joe Girardi decides to platoon him with Rob Refsnyder. Aaron Judge, the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders' right fielder with the big bat, should expect a call-up some day soon.
Kudos to: GM Brian Cashman, who apparently made his case to owner Hal Steinbrenner, and with three trades has replenished the Yankees' thin farm system and now has some pieces to trade or develop for the future.