Why Justus Sheffield Isn’t a New York Yankee Anymore
Tonight in Seattle, the New York Yankees will see a familiar face take the mound opposite them.
That face is 25-year old Justus Sheffield, who will start against the Bombers nearly three years after New York traded him away. A first round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians, Sheffield joined the New York organization in 2016, and made his MLB debut with the club two seasons later. At the end of that same season, however, he was traded to his current club, the Seattle Mariners.
So, here's what brought him to New York, and what the Yankees received for trading him away.
On Trade Deadline Day in 2016, Sheffield was brought to town along with J.P. Feyereisen, Ben Heller, and some kid named Clint Frazier, while left-handed pitcher Andrew Miller was sent to the Cleveland Indians. The Yankees ended up missing the playoffs that season, and were looking to bring in young players to replace their aging veterans.
Then 20 years old, Sheffield would continue to progress with the Yankees, eventually making his Major League debut in 2018, against the Boston Red Sox. Sheffield would struggle in his three appearances in 2018, giving up three runs in 2.2 innings while not striking out a batter. As the Yankees looked to re-load for a championship run, Sheffield became the odd man out, and was traded again, this time to the Seattle Mariners. The Yankees would package him with two other players in exchange for then-ace pitcher, James Paxton.
Justus Sheffield's time with the Yankees is a great example of how quickly the tides can change for a major market team. The Yankees wanted to "re-tool" and build their farm system in 2016, when Sheffield was brought in. By 2018, they were ready for another championship run, and Sheffield became a trade chip through which they could accomplish that goal.
Were the trades successful? That's a story for another day.