NEW YORK -- Just when you thought the Yankees were taking a timeout, having (somewhat) bolstered their rotation and settled on a starting infield, boom -- Trader Cashman strikes with a deal I feel safe in guessing no one would have predicted: sending Martin Prado and David Phelps, both of whom the club spoke highly of just two days ago, to Miami in exchange for right-handed starter Nathan Eovaldi, veteran 1B/OF/DH Garrett Jones and right-handed pitching prospect Domingo German.
Who are these guys? Eovaldi, who will turn 25 in February, has pitched in parts of four major league seasons with the Dodgers and Marlins. An 11th-round draft pick, Eovaldi was part of the 2012 trade that sent Hanley Ramirez from the Marlins to the Dodgers. He has thrown a total of 460 big-league innings in 83 appearances (79 starts), has a record of 15-35 and a 4.07 career ERA. Last year he went 6-14 for the Marlins with a 4.24 ERA. The book on him is a blazing fastball (average: 96 mph), but a disproportionately low strikeout total (142 K's in 199⅔ IP last year, or 6.4 K's per nine innings) because his location -- he throws a lot of fastballs over or near the middle of the plate -- resulted in a low swinging-strike percentage. He also allowed more hits (223) than any other NL starter last season. Still, he has a livelier arm than the 28-year-old Phelps, who probably has shown us all he has, and the Yankees are gambling on Eovaldi's upside.
Jones, who will turn 34 in June, didn't become a full-time major leaguer until 2009, when he was 28. He batted .293 with 21 homers for the Pirates that season, and has averaged 19 home runs and 66 RBIs in his six full seasons, although his batting average has plummeted; he is a career .253 hitter who hasn't come close to .293 since 2009. He's a left-handed hitter, always a plus at Yankee Stadium, and has played most of his games at 1B, which means he immediately becomes Mark Teixeira's backup, something the Yankees did not have last season. He also can play the outfield (mostly right field) and could get some DH at-bats as well.
German is 22 and just completed his first season in Class A, going 9-3 with a 2.48 ERA for the Greensboro Grasshoppers of the Sally League.
Nicknames, anyone? "Jonesy" is obvious, even if we just had one two years ago. I'm betting Joe Girardi will soon be referring to his new pitcher as "E-O." He's got a couple of years to think of one for German.
Martin, we hardly knew ye: While the trade of Phelps is hardly surprising -- it was a hot rumor last winter, too -- the Yankees' decision to part with Prado comes as a bit of a jolt. Prado, who hit .316 with seven HRs and 16 RBIs in 37 games for the Yankees after being acquired in a trade deadline deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, was expected to be the Yankees' starting second baseman after the Yankees re-signed Chase Headley to a four-year deal to play third. Why, it was only Monday that Cashman was thanking the heavens for placing Prado on his roster because of the versatility he gave the Yankees. Apparently, among Prado's many assets was his trade value.
What's on second? Until the next unexpected move, it appears that the Rob Refsnyder/Jose Pirela spring training experiment is back on. But who knows? To paraphrase Yogi, the Yankees' offseason ain't over until it's over.