"Yankees Twitter" was filled with its normal outrage and cynicism after the Toronto Blue Jays acquired Troy Tulowitzki and David Price among others at the trade deadline and the Yankees only acquired Dustin Ackley. We can get a little better picture of what has happened since then. Obviously, this season it has worked out better for Toronto. They went on a huge run to pass the Yankees in the division and they haven't really looked back since. David Price has been amazing for them, while Tulowitzki struggled and got hurt.
Even though the Blue Jays have clearly gotten the better of the Yankees this season we can see why Brian Cashman did what he did. Yes, if the Yankees had Price they would likely be winning the AL East this season. It still would not have guaranteed anything in the playoffs. However, if Price would have left as a free agent anything less than a championship would be a failure. Especially, since it would have cost likely cost both Luis Severino and Greg Bird.
Bird and Severino have already showed you why they had to be kept, as they have been two key cogs that have kept the Yankees afloat and in a great spot in the wild card race.
Bird has shown off his sweet swing and light tower power with nine home runs. He has shown the ability to go the other way and has the second highest off the bat velocity in MLB among players with at least 20 at-bats. Clearly, he cannot continue to strike out nearly 30 percent of the time, but at 22 years old you can accept that with the other things he has done, and you know that with his good batting eye that will improve. Bird's .369 wOBA and 135 wRC+ are awesome for a rookie, and he is doing this while filling in for a player who was the team MVP.
Severino has been just as good, if not better, and he can redeem himself of his only blemish with a good start against Toronto tonight. He has the look of an ace who won't get rattled by anything.
His fastball is one of the fastest among starters in MLB with an average of 95.5 MPH and has shown command of it on both sides of the plate. His slider has generated a lot of grounders, is thrown extremely hard (89.4 MPH), but can use more depth. The changeup has been a viable third pitch and was more hyped coming out of the minors than the slider. Severino has averaged 9.35 K/9 and has induced ground balls at a 45 percent rate. He's doing this all at 21 years old.
Even the much maligned Ackley trade has worked out well since he's returned from injury. It kind of reminds me of when Cashman signed Chris Young to a minor league deal last year and Twitter went crazy for no reason. That worked out pretty well huh? Ackley has hit.357/.367/.714/1.081 in 30 at-bats for the Yankees and has seemed to taken over the second base job from Stephen Drew. The Yankees have no reason not to ride Ackley while he is this hot. He hit a huge three-run homer of R.A. Dickey, a big triple against Noah Syndergaard and a home run Sunday night.
You know the Yankees have liked Ackley for awhile and maybe the change of scenery has helped get some of that potential out of him. If he keeps playing well the rest of the season he will play himself into consideration for the starting second base job next season. Not bad for a guy they acquired for a player they were going to have to release due to a numbers crunch.
The smart thing for the Yankees would be to pursue Price in the offseason and add him in addition to Bird and Severino. That's how you built a contending team going forward, not just for one season. The playoffs are too unpredictable to put all your eggs in the one season basket while giving up Severino and Bird. It's not impossible that the Yankees could win a series and the Blue Jays don't. Even though they're unlikely to win the division, the Yankees' decisions to hold onto to Severino and Bird and to trade for Ackley have been vindicated.