10:50am: The Diamondbacks have announced the trade — a one-for-one swap of Clippard and Campos.
9:29am: The Yankees have reached a deal to acquire right-hander Tyler Clippard from the D-backs, reports FanRag’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link). The Clippard acquisition signals that in spite of this morning’s stunning trade of Andrew Miller to Cleveland, the Yankees aren’t waving a white flag on the 2016 season just yet. Joel Sherman of the New York Post was first to report that the Yankees were looking for veteran bullpen help even after moving Miller (Twitter link).
Clippard, 31, is in his first season with the D-backs after signing a two-year, $12.25MM contract, so the Yankees will control him for this season and next. He’s pitched to a 4.30 ERA this season, averaging 11.0 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9 in 37 2/3 innings with Arizona. Clippard is an extreme fly-ball pitcher (though he did reduce his fly-ball rate to a career-low 45.9 percent in 2016), which unsurprisingly didn’t mesh well with Arizona’s homer-happy stadium. The seven homers already allowed by Clippard in 2016 are just four shy of his career-high 11, and and his 1.7 HR/9 and 17.1 percent homer-to-flyball ratio are both the highest of his career. In that sense, shifting to Yankee Stadium and its short right-field porch might continue to cause problems for Clippard.
However, Clippard has a long track record of success, having pitched to a 2.68 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 524 1/3 innings from 2009-15. There were some red flags in his 2015 campaign — namely his K/BB ratios going in the wrong direction and his velocity dipping — but Clippard’s track record made him appealing to a number of clubs this winter and likely to the Yankees in this instance. It presumably helped that the Yankee front office is already familiar with Clippard, having originally drafted him back in 2003 before trading him to the Nationals several years later.
In Campos, the D-backs will receive a 24-year-old righty that reached Triple-A for the first time this season and is in the midst of a strong overall year. Campos, originally acquired by the Yankees in the Michael Pineda/Jesus Montero swap, has a 3.20 ERA with 7.8 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9 in 121 innings across three levels this season. MLB.com ranked him 14th among Yankees farmhands on their midseason update of the team’s farm system, noting that he has three potentially above-average offerings but also serious concerns about his durability. The 121 innings Campos has thrown already represent a career-high, and it’s possible that he could head to the bullpen eventually if he cannot prove capable of handling a full workload in the rotation. He has mid-rotation upside but could end up as a power arm in the bullpen when all is said and done.