Russell: With This Trade, The Yankees Are Going For It

They’re going for it.

It turns out the Yankees are buyers, as they acquired Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle from the White Sox. New York sent Tyler Clippard, southpaw pitching prospect Ian Clarkin, and outfielders Blake Rutherford and Tito Polo to Chicago.

Frazier will bring some pop to third base as Chase Headley has struggled mightily at times. Frazier, who stood next to Derek Jeter on the field at Yankee Stadium before a 1998 game, was an All-Star with the Reds in 2014 and 2015, and hit 40 homers in his first season with the White Sox last year. He was only hitting .207 in 81 games but does have 16 home runs.

Robertson returns to the Bronx after pitching for the Yankees from 2008-14. He was an All-Star in 2011, a season in which he went 4-0 with a 1.08 ERA in 70 appearances. He was the setup man for Mariano Rivera, and Rafael Soriano in 2012, and he excelled as the closer in 2014, converting 39 of 44 save opportunities. He signed a four-year deal to play in Chicago, and with the White Sox, Robertson notched 88 saves in two and a half seasons. If everybody stays healthy, the Yankees will have a formidable bullpen with Robertson, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman.

And there’s Kahnle, who has struck out 60 and walked 7 in 36 innings of relief this season. Kenley Jansen and Craig Kimbrel are the only other pitchers with 60 strikeouts and less than 10 walks.

The Yankees say goodbye to Clippard, who pitched very well early in the season but struggled mightily for the last month. Clippard, a good clubhouse presence and veteran who made his debut with the 2007 Yankees, was 1-5 with a 4.95 ERA in 40 appearances.

Clarkin was a first-round pick in 2013, and was 4-4 with a 2.61 ERA in Single-A Tampa.

Polo was hitting .307 between Single-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, and was named to the Florida State League All-Star Game.

A first-round pick in the 2016 draft, Rutherford was hitting .281 in Single-A Charleston and was a South Atlantic League All-Star.

Sure, it can be risky to give up prospects. But the Yankees have overachieved this season and despite a lousy month are in the middle of a playoff race.

And as Chapman and Betances have had issues with location, Brian Cashman swapped Clippard for Robertson.
After trading Chapman, Andrew Miller and Carlos Beltran at the deadline last season, it turns out the Yankees won’t be sellers two years in a row.

New York is only three games behind Boston, and would be in the Wild Card game if the season ended today. The Yankees aren’t a flawless team and the starting rotation still has question marks.

But there’s no question that the Yankees are going for it.

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