Ecstatic to be headed to the New York Yankees, Todd Frazier had an idea something was in the works the minute he learned he was scratched from Tuesday’s game.
Frazier stayed in the White Sox dugout for almost the entire 1-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers save for several trips to the clubhouse. The third baseman said he learned more and more with each trip back. Frazier had heard all of the rumors about where else he might be headed but it wasn’t until shortly after Tuesday’s game concluded that he, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle learned they would be headed to the New York Yankees in a deal that netted the White Sox four players, including highly touted prospect Blake Rutherford and veteran reliever Tyler Clippard.
“It’s kind of surreal here right now because it all happened at once and you hear the rumors, it could have been a different team, here and there,” Frazier said. “But it’s the Yankees so I’m pretty excited.”
Kahnle had a similar reaction to Frazier. Perhaps the most critical player the White Sox gave up in the deal, Kahnle has had a strange, albeit successful season. He originally didn’t make the team’s Opening Day roster only to be promoted after an early bullpen injury.
Once he arrived, Kahnle took off and dominated. The right-hander posted a 2.50 ERA and struck out 60 batters while walking only seven in 36 innings. Kahnle isn’t just dominant, he’s under team control for another two and a half seasons. That status made Kahnle very appealing to many clubs, not just the Yankees, who selected him in the fifth round of the 2010 amateur draft only to lose him in the Rule 5 Draft in 2014.
“This season’s been pretty wild,” Kahnle said. “Last year, too, was pretty crazy at the beginning. This year, definitely — I’m kind of lost for words. I felt like I’ve figured it out. I’m gonna keep doing what I’ve been doing.”
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Robertson has sensed it for two years now that the White Sox might deal him away. He only hoped that a trade would come after his wife, Erin, gave birth to the couple’s second child. The baby was born July 3.
Still, Robertson seemed a little surprised by the news he’s headed back to the Yankees where he spent the first seven seasons of his career. The former White Sox closer didn’t officially learn about the deal until after the conclusion of Tuesday’s game.
“I found out probably 20 minutes ago,” Robertson said. “But obviously you know there's rumors flying around, everybody sees it online now. I can't speak high enough about (the White Sox). We had a great opportunity here, we played hard, won some ballgames, we just were never able to really get it done here. I know that now I'm part of the rebuilding process and they're sending me out, but they're getting some new pieces and I'm going to help a team compete and hopefully get to the playoffs.”
Though caught in the middle, Frazier seemed to understand the move was coming. Even though he preferred to stay long term earlier in the season, the Toms River, N.J., native sounds as if he’s ready to embrace a chance to win.
“It’s very difficult,” Frazier said. “Goodbyes are tough. They’re real tough. Saying bye to guys like the management, Jose Abreu, to everybody. Timmy Anderson, who has been my locker mate for a year and a half. It’s tough. There’s a lot more to it, but we understand the business and I’m going to the Yankees. Pretty excited to see what happens.”