The New York Yankees are very close to acquiring Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle from the White Sox, a baseball source confirmed Tuesday.
WSCR 670’s Bruce Levine and Ken Rosenthal first reported the proposed deal.
The Yankees are the team closest to getting a deal done with Chicago Wh Sox Robertson-Frazier and Kahnle going if deal completed— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) July 19, 2017
The move would mark the fourth massive trade made by the White Sox front office since they started to peddle players in December with the trades of Chris Sale and Adam Eaton. The White Sox continued their selloff on Thursday when they traded Jose Quintana to the Cubs for four prospects.
In all, the White Sox have received 11 prospects in return for the three players, an influx of talent that has overhauled their farm system. Seven of those players acquired are highly-touted prospects, including Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez, Michael Kopech and Lucas Giolito, among others.
Given that Kahnle has two-plus seasons before he becomes a free agent and Robertson is under control through 2018, the White Sox should receive a strong prospect package in return from New York, who has one of the top farm systems in baseball. Frazier is a free agent after the 2017 season.
Almost certainly the return the White Sox receive would give them the top farm system in the majors only eight months after they were stuck in the bottom third. Earlier Tuesday, Baseball America editor J.J. Cooper said the White Sox could very well have the best group of prospects in baseball by July 31 if they continued to trade players away.
A baseball source confirmed that 20-year-old outfielder Blake Rutherford, the Yankees' first-round pick in 2016, would be the main part of the package. Bob Nightengale first reported this. Rutherford is ranked the No. 30 prospect in baseball by MLBPipeline.com and No. 36 by Baseball America.
A hot commodity over the last few days, Boston was thought to have the most interest in Frazier, who made sense for their timeline given his recent productivity as well his impending free agency. Frazier would have provided the Red Sox with an answer at third as well as a place holder for top prospect Rafael Devers, whom is expected to take over next season.
But the presumed deal hasn’t materialized. Everyone’s ears perked up 40 minutes before Tuesday’s game when Frazier was removed from the lineup and listed as a healthy scratch.
A former Yankee, Robertson has been strong out of the bullpen this season, striking out 47 batters and walking only 11 with a 2.70 ERA in 33 1/3 innings. Robertson is in the third year of a four-season deal he signed for $46 million. Robertson said last week he wouldn’t be surprised if he were traded, something he also partly expected in each of his first two seasons with the White Sox.
Kahnle has been even better than Robertson, striking 60 batters and walking seven in 36 innings with a 2.50 ERA. Kahnle originally was selected by the Yankees in the fifth round of the 2010 draft before he was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 2014 Rule 5 draft.
Frazier became a more important piece for the Yankees when it was announced first baseman Greg Bird would have ankle surgery on Tuesday. Bird told reporters his season was ‘not over’ but the Yankees are in need of a corner infielder.
Prior to Tuesday’s game, Frazier, who hails from Toms River, N.J. and was a huge Derek Jeter fan growing up, said recent rumors hadn’t been a distraction.
“It hasn’t really bothered me playing wise,” Frazier said. “I’m always going to keep playing the game hard. When I’m out in the field, it’s two different things. You turn into a different player and all for the good. The last three games haven’t been what I know I can be. At the same time, it’s not because of trade rumors. It’s one of those things I’m going through.
“You wish everything could go in a simple manner and go as quickly as possible or just say it’s not going to happen. Right now we are not at that point.”