Potential Pinstripes: Nate Jones

When most Yankees fans envision a trade with the White Sox these days, one name comes to mind: Jose Quintana. Maybe David Robertson as well. However, Brian Cashman has stated that he is not looking to upgrade the rotation, or add payroll (unless the Yankees trade Brett Gardner). This makes trades for both Quintana and Robertson unlikely, no matter how much sense both of them make for the team. I do still feel that the Yankees will add a starter, just no one that noteworthy; someone like Jorge De la Rosa or Brett Anderson on a cheap, one-year deal. However, one area that I feel like the Yankees would definitely upgrade if they got the chance would be the bullpen, and one trade is another White Sox reliever, Nate Jones.
Photo Credit: Jason Miller | Getty Images

Jones is not necessarily a household name, but that doesn’t make him any less likely a trade candidate. He has been in the league since 2012, and has been a solid piece of the White Sox bullpen when healthy. He spent almost all of 2014 and most of 2015 on the disabled list, recovering from first a back injury, and then Tommy John surgery, but then dominated upon his return last year. 2016 was by far his best season, where he pitched to a 2.29 ERA in 70.2 innings, with 80 strikeouts and 15 walks. He was also pretty good in 2012 and 2013, where he pitched to a combined 3.31 ERA in 149.2 innings, with 154 strikeouts and 58 walks.

Free passes seemed to have been a bit of a problem for him early in his career, but last year his control was much better. He features a two seam fastball that averaged 97 MPH in 2016. His contract is also extremely affordable: $1.9 million in 2017 and $3.95 million in 2018, and then team options in 2019 and 2020 and a mutual option for 2021. This contract is one that the Yankees could easily afford, even with their efforts about trying to stay beneath the luxury tax. Adding a mere $1.9 million in 2017 is not going to be that big of a deal.

For the trade, I would imagine the White Sox would ask for a good bit. A solid reliever on a very team friendly contract, in an age where Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman both netted top prospects, the Yanks would probably have to overpay a little. 

Jones is not nearly as valuable as Miller and Chapman, however, so an asking price of top prospects Clint Frazier or Gleyber Torres is out of the question. However, if the White Sox asked for a top-ish prospect, along with one or two lower level prospects, I could see a deal getting done. How about Jorge Mateo and Dustin Fowler for Jones? 

Naturally, I could be completely off. I never though three months of Chapman could get the Yankees Torres, who was the Cubs number one prospect, so the asking price could be way higher. However, Mateo is the Yanks number three prospect (which really surprised me, I expected him to be in the 5-10 range), and Fowler is the Yanks number 13 prospect, so I think this could definitely be at least the frame work for a trade. Jones makes as much sense for the Yankees than Quintana and more so tahn Robertson at the moment, and if there was someone for them to make a trade with the White Sox for, I would hope it would be him.

Article by: Alex Weir


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