It’s November. Baseball games are over and the burner on free agency is still set on low, which leaves us…hmmm…not too many matters to discuss.
Tony LaRussa? Been there. Alex Cora? Hard pass. Bauer over deGrom for the Cy Young? Yawns…
I noticed the other day that it’s five years ago this week that the Yankees acquired Aaron Hicks, which got me thinking: What’s been the best trade for the Yankees over the past five years? Acquiring Hicks? Stanton? Voit? Let’s crunch some numbers and discuss.
First, yes I’m aware there are multiple factors that are difficult to account for when determining how successful a trade was or was not. There are financial considerations, depth chart considerations and sometimes the newly acquired player is then moved for another player who has a different impact – I get it. For brevity’s sake, let’s keep it simple and look only at the production of the players swapped for each other since the trades.
Which leads me to…
I know I shouldn’t have to continue saying this, but experience has taught me I have to. Yes, I’m aware that Wins Above Replacement is not the be all end all tool to measure player production – but it is a good start. So again for the sake of brevity, let’s look at the WAR of the traded players involved to start our little chat.
Disclaimer #3: Gleyber Torres is not part of the discussion. There were more than a few whispers that Brian Cashman wanted Kyle Schwarber for Aroldis Chapman – Theo Epstein told him “no, you can have Gleyber (or Eloy Jimenez)”. I’m not passing out credit for that one.
So which trade has been the best for the Yankees – acquiring Voit, Stanton or Hicks?
Luke Voit for Giovanny Gallegos and Chasen Shreve:
WAR since the trade: Voit 4.1, Gallegos/Shreve 2.8.
Obviously a good trade for the Yankees. Even though Gallegos and Shreve have been productive, the Yankees dealt from strength to address the hole Greg Bird was making. But it definitely wasn’t the steal of the century that the talking heads on the YES network would have you believe it is.
Giancarlo Stanton for Starlin Castro and Jorge Guzman:
WAR since the trade: Stanton 4.6, Castro/Guzman 3.7.
At the time of the trade I wrote that this would go down as one of the most lopsided trades in MLB history. It hasn’t been quite that yet, but it still falls in the category of you’d do it 100 times over if you had 100 opportunities to do it over. Nothing could possibly have gone worse for Stanton since the trade and he’s still out-produced those for whom he was traded. When you factor Stanton’s post-season impact, which has been enormous, and the fact that Castro has been a below average player for six seasons now into the equation, this is a steal in all bold caps.
Aaron Hicks for John Ryan Murphy.
WAR since the trade: Hicks 9.6, Murphy -0.8.
There’s really nothing else to consider past that. Hicks has been in the top 20% of MLB center fielders since and the Yankees have him for five more seasons. Murphy didn’t have a future with the Yankees even if he had turned out to be a productive MLB player – the fact that he did not makes this even more of a landslide deal.
Obviously, you’d do the Voit and Stanton trades over again if you had the chance – but neither were the lopsided production swaps that Hicks for Murphy was. That’s been Cashman’s best trade of the past five years and the best since acquiring Nick Swisher.
Did I miss something? Let me know.
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