Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |
After Gleyber Torres' remarkable sophomore season and the performance he put on Monday night, it's tempting to brand the 2016 trade that brought him to the Yankees as the club's best deadline deal of all time.
Yes, we're still ga-ga over the power display, the sweet glove, and the postgame charm after the Yanks buried the Twins in Game 3 of the AL Division Series. So are his teammates -- while spritzing celebratory bubbly and beer around the clubhouse, Aaron Judge anointed Torres as the "next Yankee great" and it's hard to argue.
Torres is the youngest Yankee to whack three extra-base hits in a postseason game -- take that, DiMaggio -- and never seems overwhelmed.
In stepping back from the moment, though, let's just say that Torres, already one of the best young players in baseball, has a long career ahead of him and plenty of time to perhaps pass David Cone and David Justice and top the list of Yankee deadline trades.
It's a tough group to crack, considering that Cone is one of the greatest deadline deals in MLB history, and Justice helped propel the needed-a-boost 2000 Yankees to a third straight World Series title. There are other boldface names in the bunch, too, and we'll get to those in a moment.
First, Torres: He was the prize in the midsummer trade in which the Yankees sent Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs. It was the rare instance in which the Yankees were selling, not buying. GM Brian Cashman, perhaps, exploited the Curse of the Billy Goat in the deal, since the Cubs were desperate to win the World Series, which they had not done since 1908. Cashman pried Torres, a can't-miss prospect, reliever Adam Warren, and two other hopefuls from Chicago for Chapman.
Chapman indeed helped the Cubs win it all and for that, the trade will always be worth it in Chicago -- even if Torres goes to the Hall of Fame and helps the Yankees win it all, too.
As Cashman put it in a conversation with SNY.tv last month, the Cubs got their payoff on the deal "on the front end and we're getting ours now."
Torres blasted 38 home runs this season and made his second All-Star team. In the sweep of the Twins, he batted .417 with a .462 on-base percentage and .917 slugging. He also scored five runs and knocked in four.
It's an impressive resume, for sure, but it's not long enough -- at least not yet, anyway -- to rank ahead of some other deals from the Yankees past. These two deadlines trades must still rank in front of the Torres deal, since they helped result in championships either that season or quickly thereafter:
1995: Yanks acquired Cone from Toronto for Marty Jantzen, Jason Jarvis and Mike Gordon. Cone was 9-2 in the second half after the trade, as the Yankees reached the playoffs for the first time since 1981. Cone won four rings as a Yankee, authored a perfect game, a 20-win season and two All-Star nods. Hard to compete with that.
2000: Yanks acquired Justice from Cleveland for Jake Westbrook, Zach Day and Ricky Ledee. What started as a phone call so Cashman could arrange for a former Yankee employee to get a World Series ring turned into the key move of a season that was limping along. Justice had 20 homers, 60 RBI, and a .977 OPS in 78 games and carried the team on occasion and was named ALCS MVP.
There are other gems, too: Cecil Fielder came over from Detroit in 1996 and batted .308 in that postseason with three homers; Aaron Boone from the Reds for Brandon Claussen in 2004, even if it was only for that one swing against the Red Sox in the ALCS; Bobby Abreu from Philadelphia in 2006; Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle from the White Sox in 2017.
The Torres' deal probably tucks in third behind Cone and Justice now, though if you want to plead a case to put Torres behind the Fielder deal since the Yanks won it all in '96, OK.
But as Torres continues to bloom, that trade likely will pass them all. Should be fun to watch Torres turn it into the best deadline deal the Yankees ever made.