The Indians are going for it. The Yankees are, at long last, truly rebuilding

Associated Press

This morning’s trade between the Indians and the Yankees represents a definitive statement for both the team acquiring the superstar and the team giving him up. For the first time in recent memory the Cleveland Indians are truly pulling out all the stops and are truly going for it. For the first time in the Brian Cashman era the Yankees are truly sellers who are entering rebuild mode.

Andrew Miller is arguably baseball’s best relief pitcher and, once you account for the fact that he’s under team control through 2018 he’s undoubtedly the most valuable relief pitcher in the game. There is not a single contender who would not have loved to have him. The fact that the Indians were the ones who pulled the trigger represents a sea change in organizational philosophy. Cleveland has, in the past, tried to make do with what it had, even when the playoffs were in reach. They have eschewed taking on any big contracts, even if they were sensible ones like Miller’s is. They have a 4.5 game lead in the AL Central and none of its divisional competition appears to have a higher gear with which to run them down, but they are taking no chances. This is how a major league team with its talent should operate. It’s a way the Indians have rarely if ever operated in recent years.

The Yankees too are doing something new: rebuilding. Not simply shuffling a few deck chairs while paying lip service to championships still being their only goal, but truly selling like they have never sold in the Brian Cashman era. The deal of Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs might’ve signaled that for most teams, but even after it, the Yankees could’ve said “hey, we still have a lights-out closer in Miller” and pretended that they were truly shooting for the playoffs. But giving up Miller any words they offer in that direction — and just this morning Joe Girardi denied that this is a “white flag” trade — are really just words. Make no mistake: this is a selloff.

But it’s a damn good selloff. J.P. Feyereisen, Clint Frazier, Ben Heller and Justus Sheffield — the players New York got for Miller — is an outstanding package that, along with the haul they got for Chapman, instantly catapults the Yankees’ farm system to the upper echelon. Frazier, who has excelled at levels where he was far younger than the competition, is probably the most projectable young position player the Yankees have had since Robinson Cano. Sheffield, a 20-year-old pitcher who is also facing older competition, is a top-100 prospect who most scouts think will be a mid-rotation starter. Heller can throw 100 miles per hour. Feyereisen has averaged 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings in three minor league seasons and projects to be a solid major league reliever.

It wasn’t long ago that baseball’s critics lamented that teams like the Yankees will always have a competitive advantage and teams like the Indians will never be able to compete. Maybe that’s still true when it comes to the financial ledger, but it’s certainly not true on the field. At the trade deadline, in 2016, the Cleveland Indians have landed one of the biggest fish in the lake. The Yankees have cut bait.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.