The Yankees acquired relievers David Carpenter (above) and Cashen Shreve from the Braves in exchange for pitching prospect Manny Banuelos Thursday.
By Brendan Kuty
Many spent New Year’s Day nursing a hangover. But Brian Cashman? The Yankees’ general manager instead was talking trade.
The Yankees sent once-promising pitcher Manny Banuelos to the Braves in exchange for relievers David Carpenter, a righty, and Chasen Shreve, a lefty, on Thursday.
Here’s what it means for the Yankees:
1. A hole filled
The Yankees dealt effective righty reliever Shawn Kelley, 31, to the Padres Monday.Acquiring Carpenter, 29, gives the Yankees a younger, cheaper arm who won’t become a free agent until 2018. Kelley is due to become a free agent next season.
Carpenter throws hard — his fastball reaches the upper-90’s — and he’s got a sharp slider and cutter. He had been a big part of the Braves bullpen the last two years and has a strong relationship with catcher Brian McCann. He’ll immediately take over Kelley’s spot as a righty who has held righties and lefties to the same .260 average.
At least six spots seem clinched in the Yankees’ bullpen: Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, Justin Wilson, Adam Warren, Esmil Rogers and Carpenter. So, what about Shreve? Is he No. 7? Maybe.
Shreve, 24, made his major-league debut last season, pitching a solid 12.1 innings. He was quite good between Double-A and Triple-A, posting a 2.67 ERA while notching career bests in strikeouts per nine innings at 12.2 and walks per nine innings at 1.7.
3. So many lefties
The Yankees already have two big-league lefties in Miller and Wilson. Shreve might give them a third. Add him to promising minor-leaguers Jacob Lindgren, Tyler Webb and James Pazos, and that’s a lot of potential impact southpaws.
That’s in addition to just a ton of overall bullpen depth. The team also protected righties Branden Pinder and Danny Burawa from the Rule 5 draft. Nick Rumbelow, Jose Ramirez and others are intriguing too.
4. Killer B’s down to one
Remember the Killer B’s? That was the combination of Betances, Banuelos and Andrew Brackman, a trio of hard-throwing young starters that were supposed to rocket through the Yankees’ minors.
But injuries sidetracked Brackman, who recently gave up baseball for a try at European professional basketball. Betances became an All-Star reliever. But what of Banuelos?
The Yankees clearly have lost confidence in the 23-year-old. They must not have been inspired by the 4.11 ERA he posted over three levels of the minors last season while returning from Tommy John surgery, which held him out of all of 2013. But Baneulos is a former top prospect and the Braves clearly doubt that he’s finished. In fact, they likely expect the Mexican to compete for a rotation spot out of spring training.