MAYBE SOONER THAN LATER
When baseball trades are made, most people think it cannot be judged for several years. Usually that is the case, but one deal made at the trading deadline last season is coming closer to clarification.
The Cleveland Indians felt like they needed left handed bullpen help it they were going to make a postseason run in 2016. They went out and acquired perhaps the best left hander in the league by getting Andrew Miller from the New York Yankees. Miller played a huge role in propelling the Tribe to within one game of a world championship. For the short term, it would appear, the Indians made a great deal.
But again, a trade of this nature cannot truly be judged until the prospects that are given up reach their potential. Let’s look at who the Indians gave up to get Miller. The big name was outfielder Clint Frazier. The Yankees feel like Frazier may be the next Mike Trout. If that is true, they may yet get the better of this deal. The Yankees also got left handed starting pitcher Justus Sheffield and relievers J.P. Feyereisen and Ben Heller.
Most people do not realize that another player was nearly a part of the deal. Discussions involving outfielder Bradley Zimmer took place. The Yankees wanted Frazier and the Indians did not want to part with Zimmer. I got to see both of these guys play at Lynchburg when I went to visit my daughter a couple of years ago. Ashley is entering her sixth season as the Director of Promotions for the Hillcats and the deal created a lot of interest in the Hill City.
Ashley told me that the Hillcat staff and front office felt that Zimmer had a bigger upside than Frazier. They thought the Indians kept the better prospect. Though projecting a minor leaguer’s chances is a bit of a guessing game, both Zimmer and Frazier have been called up to the big leagues. Zimmer has been brilliant in the field and has hit pretty well with some pop.
Frazier made his big league debut this week and was an instant success. A game winning home run yesterday in a performance that included 4 RBI’s was followed up with another home run today. These two guys – the one that was traded, and the one that wasn’t – will have a lot to say about who gets the best of this deal. The final judgment may come sooner rather than later.
The view from my seat suggests that following the careers of Zimmer and Frazier will be fun. You might want to keep in mind that sometimes trades work out for BOTH teams.