The Yankees made a move Saturday night that satisfied three objectives:
- Cleared roster space for J.A. Happ
- Acquired a righty depth bat in Aaron Judge‘s absence
- Added more cash to their international bonus pool
They traded much-maligned lefty Chasen Shreve and 40-man roster occupying longman Giovanny Gallegos to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for first baseman Luke Voit and international signing bonus pool money.
Voit, a 27-year-old drafted by the Cardinals in the 22nd round of the 2013 draft, is batting .299/.391/.500 in 67 Triple-A games for the Memphis Redbirds of the Pacific Coast League (I omitted his two Double-A games since I believe he was optioned there out of convenience – STL’s Double-A franchise is in Springfield, Missouri). He spends the majority of his defensive appearances at first base (471⅔ innings for Memphis) but has also played one game in left field. He started 43 games as a catcher in 2013 once drafted in the New York-Penn League but has not appeared there since.
I think Brian Cashman has something else up his sleeve because the acquisition of Voit gives Bobby Mitchell, SWB’s manager, three primary first baseman since Tyler Austin and Mike Ford are there as well. It makes one of them expendable, and the platoon difference between Austin and Ford imply that the former is expendable. Time will tell.
The Yankees were likely going to designate one of Gallegos or Shreve for assignment to get Happ onto the roster. They wanted to get something for two pitchers who also would’ve been jettisoned in the upcoming 40-man roster crunch this offseason.
Shreve was emotional after receiving the news, having been with the team since 2015. He posted a 3.92 ERA in 180 appearances with the Yankees. He was incredible in 2015, with a 3.09 mark across 58⅓ innings. He struggled to replicate it going forward, coming closest with a 3.77 ERA in 2017. He was out of options, and pitched as a long-man in 2018 (with a 4.26 ERA).
Gallegos has two minor league options left, so he has some value to the Cardinals. In four big-league appearances in 2018, he has a 4.50 ERA. Across his whole career, he has a 4.75 ERA in 20 games. This season in Triple-A, he has a 3.90 ERA in 17 games and 27⅔ innings.