The New York Yankees were going to trade for a starting pitcher this offseason. After being easily bested by the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS this season — only to see their hated rival go on to win the World Series — the Yankees had a clear flaw they needed to fix.
So it wasn’t a secret they would get some big name starting pitcher to fill one of the few gaps they have in their current configuration.
For a time, they seemed like the perfect candidate to grab one of the Indians’ gettable pitchers (assuming the Indians front office isn’t blowing smoke), be it Corey Kluber or Carlos Carrasco. The two front offices even met in person as early as November 6, setting off a firestorm of panic among Indians fans clutching to their two-time Cy Young winner and pizza-loving second-ace.
Today, thankfully, that door was probably slammed shut.
The Yankees opted to go with a big lefty in the Seattle Mariners’ James Paxton with a package of former Indians prospect Justus Sheffield, outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams, and right-handed pitcher Erik Swanson. Sheffield, as you may remember, was sent to New York in exchange for Andrew Miller in the middle of the 2016 season. That trade was one big home run away from being a runaway success for the Indians, but even without a World Series win tied directly to the deal, it’s hard to call it any kind of failure given how he put the team on his back in 2016 playoffs.
Unless the Yankees are completely selling out for starting pitching, and unless the Yankees farm system still has enough to get Kluber or Carrasco, we can probably sleep at night knowing we won’t see either of them in pinstripes in 2019. I’d still put money on them wearing their bright-red Indians forms in 2019 over being on any other team, but if they are indeed shopping two of their brightest stars, their consumer base likely got a little bit smaller.
Besides, if this trade is an indication of the demand out there for starting pitchers, the Indians are probably better off not trading away either pitcher, money savings be damned. They are not teetering on the edge of a rebuild like the Mariners — a Justus Sheffield doesn’t help them much in 2019 and probably not enough in the future to warrant losing the immediate impact of Kluber on the mound.
Just take a minute, breathe, and be happy that we can cheer for Justus Sheffield again. Next step is to get Clint Frazier to a more likable team.