Acquired RHP Dillon Tate, RHP Erik Swanson, and RHP Nick Green from Texas Rangers for OF/DH-S Carlos Beltran. [8/1]
Tate entered the pro ranks as a flame-throwing, athletic pitcher with high upside. After 74 pro innings, the stuff has backed up in an attempt to morph him into a long-term starter. An evaluator can sit on a Tate start this season and see the 22-year-old throw changeups at a 50 percent clip. It was obvious the Rangers were trying to transform the first-rounder, and the early returns weren’t good.
Tate remains very much a raw arm despite coming out of college. His fastball sits low-90s and touched 94 in a recent look with average downhill plane and late arm-side run and sink when on top, but his inconsistent delivery can leave the fastball up and flat, and it only shows fringy life. He flashes an average changeup at 80-84 when he turns it over. He lacks consistent feel for it, but it profiles as a competent third pitch. He never showed feel for his slider in my look, but it’s been graded as high as plus-plus in the past. It lacked bite and depth and only flashed in this start. He mixes an upper-70s curveball with downward action and average depth, and it could become another usable offering with time.
The question for Tate is feel. His delivery needs tweaks to control the upper-half rotation and better sync his arm and body. High-level athleticism and a strong lower half are on his side. But Tate shows below-average command, and combined with a fastball that has backed up, it leaves little room for error. It’s made worse when he struggles making adjustments on the mound to hit spots. He’s still young and has the makings of a major-league starter with a deeper arsenal than he started with, but it’s not the high-end rotation profile the Rangers wanted. His command issues could eventually push him to relief. —David Lee
Swanson, 22, is one of the better pop-up prospects I’ve come across in the 2016 season. A 2014 eighth-round pick out of junior college, Swanson missed most of the 2015 season with elbow problems, only making ten scattered relief appearances across four levels of the system. Converted to the rotation in 2016, he’s posted a 3.43 ERA and 78 strikeouts to 25 walks in 81 ⅓ innings at Low-A Hickory, and the stuff is even a little further ahead than the relatively impressive numbers. His fastball plays well above-average as a starter, comfortably sitting 92-96 and touching as high as 98. The change and slider both flash average, although he needs greater consistency and command. With a burly, durable frame and a good feel for pitching, there’s every reason to expect him to stick in the rotation over the long haul, except for the usual health and developmental caveats. Swanson projects to middle-of-the-rotation potential if things go smoothly, and the velocity does give him a real fallback option as a possible late-inning reliever if things work out less well. Tate is the headline name of this deal, but Swanson has a chance to be the best major-leaguer. —Jarrett Seidler
The Rangers took Green in the seventh round out of Indian Hills Community College in Iowa, a school that has produced a few big-league pitchers. If everything goes right, Green could be next. He will touch 95 mph with his fastball and generally sits in the low 90s with a bit of projection left. The reason to get excited, however, is the curveball: The pitch has ridiculous amounts of spin, and the hard break will give both left- and right-handers fits. There's also a change here, but it's developmental at this point. The command has gotten better in 2016, but he's more of a strike-thrower than a guy who is going to miss a ton of bats. With the fastball and curveball combination, he could be an excellent reliever, but the Yankees will likely give him a chance to start and see if that third pitch/command develops. —Christopher Crawford
Alex Rodriguez, Aaron Hicks, Rob Refsnyder
To the extent that you’re relying on any of these three, there’s more playing time to be had now that Beltran is gone. That being said, A-Rod looks pretty done and Refsnyder has proven himself to be a bench bat at best. If there’s one player who really benefits here I think it’s Hicks. The Yankees have every reason to let him play and see if he can finally put it together. Don’t bet on it, though. —Ben Carsley
Acquired OF/DH-S Carlos Beltran from New York Yankees for RHP Dillon Tate, RHP Erik Swanson, and RHP Nick Green.[8/1]
After the Yankees dealt away relievers Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller, it became obvious that the team was in sell-mode. That signaled the end of the Carlos Beltran era was near.
Beltran, enjoying a productive season at the ripe age of 39, became the most valuable player left for the Yankees to trade. He was of no use in New York; Beltran’s contract runs out at season’s end, and even with 22 home runs, a .301 TAv and 64 RBIs, he would not have single-handedly brought the Yankees a title.
Brian Cashman did all he could, hearing competing offers from the Rangers and Indians and eventually taking a flier on Dillon Tate, a former fourth-overall pick who could turn into an effective reliever in the future. Even if Tate, Erik Swanson, and Nick Green don’t produce at a high level, the fact that the Yankees were able to admit defeat and successfully sell off their three most coveted assets for what is, altogether, an impressive haul, is a giant victory.
The deal clears the way for Aaron Judge, the Yankees’ power-hitting right fielder of the future, to begin mashing in the Bronx. As soon as the 24-year-old heals from his knee injury, he will be on his way to New York.
This also should afford the slumping Alex Rodriguez some more starts at DH to get it together, or at the very least, hit his 700th home run before he is bought out of his contract.
For Beltran, he will be free to once again compete in front of a national audience in the postseason for a Rangers team that looks poised to win it all this season. —Kenny Ducey
It feels boring to just say “good park, better lineup” for Beltran, but that’s where we are. The 39-year-old figures to have more men on base in front of him and more competent hitters behind him. He should see a majority of his time at DH, since Prince Fielder is on the DL and the Rangers lack the corpse of Alex Rodriguez, which also needs to be kept out of the field. And it will be easy for the Rangers to keep Beltran fresh thanks to their depth. It’s about as good a scenario as we could’ve hope for, even if The Ballpark in Arlington plays worse for homers than Yankee Stadium.
Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo
Rua figures to see little if any playing time once (if) Beltran and Shin-Soo Choo are healthy. This should just about do it for Gallo’s playing time in 2016, barring injury to Adrian Beltre. The future is still bright for the latter. You could list Jurickson Profar here too, but there should still be enough opportunity for him to be relevant. —Ben Carsley