Just minutes after the New York Yankees bolstered their infield with the acquisition of Stephen Drew, the team made another deal prior to Thursday’s trade deadline, acquiring infielder Martin Prado from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for catching prospect Peter O’Brien and a player to be named later or cash.
Prado, who can play all four infield positions and the corner outfield spots, produced a .270/.317/.370 batting line with the Diamondbacks this season in what has actually been a bit of a down year. The nine-year veteran is a career .290 hitter who has stroked double-digit home runs in each of his last five seasons. Prado, 30, will earn $11 million in both 2015 and 2016.
O’Brien, 24, has shown tremendous power since being drafted, and has stroked 33 home runs between High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton this season. However, his defense behind the plate was spotty at best, and he has primarily played first base over the past month. Despite Reggie Jackson comparing O’Brien to himself, scouts have told me he projects to have a similar career to that of former Yankees first baseman/outfielder Shelley Duncan.
Prado will likely play right field against left-handers, platooning with Ichiro Suzuki, and could see some time against right-handers in the infield. However, it is possible that Stephen Drew, who told Joel Sherman that he will play second base for the Yankees, could actually become a left-handed hitting utility infielder while Prado mans second base regularly.
This deal also gives the Yankees some stability long-term. Should Alex Rodriguez struggle in his return from a year-long suspension in 2015 or Rob Refsnyder prove unable to handle major league pitching, Prado could step right in at either second or third base. However, it is unlikely that he factors into replacing the retiring Derek Jeter next season, as he has played just 16 career games at shortstop.
In a corresponding roster move, Yankees GM Brian Cashman revealed that Brian Roberts will be designated for assignment.