The Yankees made a trade today: https://twitter.com/JackCurryYES/status/546004390881292288
Pitching prospect Domingo German was also included.
My initial reaction--which I think is representative of a lot of Yankee fans--was disgust. Martin Prado was in a lot of ways the perfect player for the 2015 Yankee thanks to his ability to play lots of positions and Eovaldi posted a below-average ERA in 199 innings in 2014. But the more I think about the trade, the more I like it. Why? Because the Yankees are finally starting to rebuild their roster.
Eovaldi had for years shown a ton of promise, but took a huge step forward in 2014. He's always had one of the best fastballs in the league, but finally improved his control enough to post a 3.37 FIP and 3.0 fWAR. He's only 24 years old, so there is definitely room for improvement. Even without improvement, Eovaldi is a big upgrade over the back end of the Yankee rotation, is under team control for 4 more seasons. I don't think anyone is going to miss 5th starter David Phelps when Eovaldi is on the mound.
Prado would have been a strong player in 2015, but is 31 years old and starting to show signs of decline. The Yankees are probably a better team in 2015 with Prado and not Eovaldi, but not by a ton. Rob Refsnyder is about as solid of a minor league call up as you'll find these days, and should be some kind of positive contributor at 2nd base. Whether that means he's a 2 WAR player or a 0.5 WAR player remains to be seen, but the Yankees aren't throwing Brian Roberts out there again. Plus, Jose Pirela is a decent insurance policy.
On top of that, Domingo German is a legitimately good prospect, comparable to Ian Clarkin. Baseball America has German ranked the #6 prospect in a very good Marlins system, and the #17 South Atlantic League prospect (Clarkin was #16). The Yankees badly need more pitchers in their farm system, and German is about as good an addition as they could hope for.
And Garrett Jones... exists. He'll be a solid platoon bat to stand in for Alex Rodriguez. He's also a terrible defensive player who should only see 1st base time in an emergency. I don't think he matters this much as far as this deal goes, and may be flipped elsewhere soon.
This trade continues to set the Yankees up to contend in 2016 and beyond. Eovaldi is a plausible, if somewhat risky, core piece of the Yankee rotation for a long time. Prado was a strong piece for the current roster about to enter his decline phase. The Yankees have almost made the classic rebuilding trade of sacrificing present value in return for more future value. Today, they did just that. Frankly, I'd be very happy if they continued the trend and tried to turn Brett Gardner into a similar kind of package.
The Yankees are stealthily building a youngish core:
Obviously, the team needs to keep turning the roster over to be truly good, but I think the team is on to something for 2016, especially if some of Judge, Severino, Austin, etc produce a useful MLB player or two.