Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

No 'White Flag' Yet

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

No 'White Flag' Yet

Article excerpt

HOUSTON -- Aroldis Chapman departed for Wrigley Field on Monday, and the Yankees entered into a new period of uncertainty.

It's a pivotal week, where the club's performance will impact Brian Cashman's trade decisions. And on Monday, the GM struck a significant deal a week ahead of the Aug. 1 non-waiver deadline.

In a five-player swap, the Yankees sent the hard-throwing Chapman to the Cubs in exchange for top Chicago prospect Gleyber Torres, right-hander Adam Warren and two minor league outfielders.

But with the bullpen's Big Three reduced again to a dynamic duo, Dellin Betances struck out the side in Monday night's eighth inning and Andrew Miller saved the Yankees' 2-1 win against the Astros before 30,628 fans at Minute Maid Park.

In seven innings, Michael Pineda (5-9) yielded just a first- inning, leadoff homer to George Springer and the Yanks (51-48) went ahead on Austin Romine's eighth-inning RBI double off lefty Yankee nemesis Dallas Keuchel (6-10).

"This was an easy call and this was the right call," Cashman said of dealing Chapman, the game's most electric closer. "We traded from an area of strength and we're excited about the players we received for someone that was under our control for only two more months."

The Cubs receive a superior bullpen weapon as they aim for their first world championship since Teddy Roosevelt was president.

And the Yankees get a heralded young shortstop plus a key pitcher from their recent past.

Torres, 19, was the key to the deal, a player the Yankees considered "the best international player available" in 2013, when the Venezuelan signed with the Cubs. "He's a really good athlete. For me, he's going to be a really good player," said Starlin Castro, who worked out briefly with Torres in 2015.

But it was the re-acquisition of Warren - traded for Castro last December - that swayed Hal Steinbrenner to green-light the deal.

Cashman supported the managing general partner's stance that his fourth-place club could still contend, while also maximizing their return on a difference-maker with a 100 mph-plus fastball and 20 saves in 21 tries.

"I'll continue to ... assess the trade market [and] make recommendations," Cashman said. And Steinbrenner will "tell me what he wants done, and I'll execute as told."

Like Chapman, Carlos Beltran is eligible for free agency at season's end and is the subject of trade discussion. Starter Ivan Nova is also in the final year of his contract.

Warren could replace Nova in the rotation at some point, or return to his essential role as a multiple-inning reliever -- an area where the Yanks have struggled.

"We've made it evident to them, we're still in this," said manager Joe Girardi. "And we've got to keep fighting."

Chapman was in the visiting clubhouse Monday, saying his goodbyes as the Yankees began a six-game Houston-Tampa Bay road trip ending Sunday, the eve of the trade deadline. …

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