Red Sox outbid by Yankees in Frazier, Robertson, Kahnle deal

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 09: Todd Frazier
CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 09: Todd Frazier /

At the eleventh hour, the Boston Red Sox were outbid by the New York Yankees for Frazier, Robertson and now Kahnle. Here’s how everything went down.

Right about game time on Tuesday night reports started to surface that the Red Sox were close to acquiring Todd Frazier and David Robertson from the White Sox. The trade was expected after prior reports had indicated that the two sides were “intensely” discussing a deal.

None of that matters now.

The zero-sum world in which the Red Sox and Yankees are both competitive is officially back. Much like Cold War relations between the United States and USSR, neither side is willing to let the other gain an inch, even if that means expending a lot of resources to do so.

In this case, that meant top prospect Blake Rutherford, who the Yankees gave up to acquire not just Frazier and Robertson, but break out reliever Tommy Kahnle. For those unfamiliar with Kahnle, the 27-year-old has a 1.47 FIP over 36 innings with a 0.97 WHIP and 15 K/9. He still has roughly four years of team control left and is making just $500 thousand this season. While not the biggest name in the deal, Kahnle’s success and control makes him the most valuable asset involved.

Somewhere along the way the Red Sox just weren’t willing to pay as much as the Yankees were, though it hasn’t been reported which player was the breaking point. From the outside looking in, the club probably stood their ground over Rafael Devers or Jayson Groome, their top-two prospects respectively.

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Twitter exploded when the early reports came out indicating that the Red Sox were closing in on a deal. Hell, I even wrote a template preparing for all the information of the deal that seemed inevitable. Things went quiet for a moment, though. Then everything began to change.

Here’s how the night played out.

Seems like just a matter of time…

Then everything turned on its head….

Then it got real.

Very, very real.

And finally, the nail in the coffin.

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Well, now we know why the Red Sox backed out of this one. At first glance, this is an incredibly expensive price to pay. At second, third, and fourth glances, it’s even more expensive.

Rutherford is the Yankees’ third ranked prospect, behind Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier respectively. Drafted in 2016, he’s only played in High-A through this stage of his career, but is already 30th on MLB Pipeline’s Top-100 Prospects. He’s also climbed from 46th on Baseball America’s Top-100 Prospects list at the end of the 2016 season to 34th at the midseason update.

Rutherford is a huge draw for the White Sox, whose only regret would have been trading Kahnle. For a Red Sox comparable, Jayson Groome is 34th on the Pipeline Top-100. Upon finalization of the deal, the White Sox would have eight of Baseball America’s Top-100 ranked prospects, second only to the Braves.

Also included are Tyler Clippard and 22-year-old lefty Ian Clarkin. Clippard has struggled to a 4.95 ERA in 40 appearances this season. With $3 million owed this season, his inclusion is likely being used to offset the year-and-a-half left of David Robertson’s $46 million contract.

As for Clarkin, the former first-round pick in the 2013 draft is the Yankees’ 19th overall prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. As a starter in High-A this season, he’s pitched to a 2.74 ERA in 72.1 innings pitched.

Next: The Red Sox lineup needs power

As more details emerge over the next 24 hours we’ll be sure to update the situation and exactly what it means for the AL East. For now, though, it’s as apparent as ever that the rivalry is back on, and neither team is taking the others’ chances lightly.

UPDATE (12:07 am): Tito Polo has been officially announced as the fourth player heading to Chicago. The soon to be 23-year-old outfielder is batting .365 in Double-A this season.