Last Updated on November 2, 2023 at 9:42 am by Inna Zeyger
The Texas Rangers captured the first World Series title with Wednesday’s 5-0 Game 5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Five former Yankees players were instrumental in powering the Rangers to their biggest achievement in their 63-year history.
Aroldis Chapman (Played for the Yankees in 2016, 2017-2022)
Aroldis Chapman signed a one-year deal with Kansas City last January after seven seasons with the Yankees featuring four playoff trips and three All-Star selections. The Royals then traded him to Texas in late June.
With Jose Leclerc as the closer, Chapman entered Game 5 having given up two earned runs over 7.1 postseason innings for a 2.45 ERA, five strikeouts, and 1.50 WHIP. He then tossed 2⁄3 scoreless frames in Wednesday’s clincher.
Despite a setup role, the flame-throwing lefty contributed key outs in the Rangers’ first World Series victory after achieving immense success as New York’s relief ace.
Nathan Eovaldi (Played for the Yankees in 2015-2016)
Nathan Eovaldi earned the World Series-clinching win in Game 5, grinding through six shutout innings despite allowing four hits and five walks while fanning five.
The Yankees acquired Eovaldi in a 2015 trade with Miami, sending Martin Prado and David Phelps for Eovaldi, Domingo German, and Garrett Jones. Eovaldi went 14-3 with a 4.20 ERA for New York in 2015 before a 9-8, 4.76 ERA campaign in 2016.
After 2017 elbow surgery, Tampa Bay signed Eovaldi, later dealing him to Boston where he was key in their 2018 title. He inked a 2-year, $34 million Rangers deal before 2022, going 12-5 with a 3.63 ERA during the season.
Eight years after joining New York, Eovaldi capped his World Series redemption by leading Texas to victory.
Andrew Heaney (Played for the Yankees in 2021)
The Yankees acquired Andrew Heaney via trade from the Angels in 2021. Over a brief 35.2-inning stint, he went 2-2 with a bloated 7.32 ERA, allowing 29 runs with 37 strikeouts for New York.
Heaney started reviving his career with the Dodgers in 2022, going 4-4 with a 3.10 ERA over 16 starts. As a Ranger rotation back-end this season, the 10-year vet was 10-6 with a 4.15 ERA. He won World Series Game 4, yielding just one earned run over five innings.
After disappointment in New York, where the Yankees designated Heaney eventually rebuilt himself into a key World Series starter for the title-winning Rangers.
Ian Kennedy (Played for the Yankees in 2007-2009)
Drafted 21st overall by New York in 2006, Ian Kennedy was envisioned as a rotation cornerstone. But after three rough seasons, he was traded to Arizona in a deal for Curtis Granderson.
Kennedy has now played for seven franchises over 17 years. At 38, he went through a second Rangers stint in 2022. After 11 bullpen outings, Texas DFA’d him, but later re-added and placed him on the 60-day IL for a rotator cuff injury.
Though Kennedy never panned out as hoped with the Yankees, he persevered through a lengthy career to reach a World Series, even if not participating on-field.
Jordan Montgomery (Played for the Yankees in 2017-2022)
During his sixth season with the Yankees in 2022, Jordan Montgomery, who had been a fourth-round pick in 2014, was traded to the Cardinals for Harrison Bader. The Yankees hadn’t considered him part of their postseason rotation plans.
At this year’s trade deadline, the Rangers acquired Montgomery in a five-player deal with the Cardinals. He made 11 starts for the Rangers, recording a 4-2 record with a 2.79 ERA. In the postseason, encompassing six appearances (five starts), he posted a 3-1 record with a 2.90 ERA, significantly enhancing his potential value as he approaches free agency after the season.
The Yankees front office must be lamenting letting go many of these players who fueled the Rangers’ title quest.
What do you think? Leave your comment below.