The Yankees have traded Jake Cave to the Twins for minor league right-hander Luis Gil, the team announced. Cave was designated for assignment to clear a 40-man roster spot for Neil Walker earlier this week. Twins executive Derek Falvey told Phil Miller they originally asked about Cave during Jaime Garcia trade talks last year.
Cave, 25, hit .305/.351/.542 (145 wRC+) with 20 home runs in 437 plate appearances between Double-A and Triple-A last season. He started selling out for power last year — his previous career high was eight home runs — after his old slash-and-dash approach wasn’t getting him anywhere. I ranked Cave as the 23rd best prospect in the system a few weeks ago.
The 19-year-old Gil does not rank among Minnesota’s top 30 prospects, according to MLB.com. He spent last season in the Dominican Summer League, throwing 41.2 innings with a 2.59 ERA (3.34 FIP). This is similar to the Nick Rumbelow trade. The Yankees got Juan Then, another DSL pitcher, in that deal. They’re trying to get a young prospect before he really breaks out.
The Yankees are quite deep in outfielders, even with Jacoby Ellsbury (oblique) and Clint Frazier (concussion) sidelined. Billy McKinney is Triple-A depth and of course the Yankees have Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, and Giancarlo Stanton at the MLB level. Cave was the odd man out.