Six early trade deadline targets for the New York Yankees
The Yankees are now 22-10 and are only half of a game back of the Boston Red Sox in the American League East standings. The Yankees have proven they are for real and will undoubtedly be in the playoff picture come October, but this does not mean the team is not flawless. Where do teams typically try to patch up the holes on their roster? The Trade Deadline. I know the season is roughly a month and some change away from prime trade talks, but I wanted to do an early preview of the areas of need the Yankees may have and who they might pursue.
The Yankees are stacked with offensive pieces to point where, once players like Greg Bird, Brandon Drury, and Jacoby Ellsbury return from injury, they have a plethora of very tough decisions to make. I think it is safe to say that the Yankees do not address any positions offensively, unless there are major injuries.
The question marks mainly lie with the pitching staff. The rotation is set with Severino, Tanaka, CC, and Gray going forward. German should fill in nicely for Montgomery in the short-term, but the Yankees may look to upgrade this spot, if Montgomery is out longer than expected or if another starter gets hurt or starts to falter statsically.
The bullpen contains an ample number of strong, proven right-handed pitchers in Chad Green, David Robertson, Dellin Betances (as of late), Tommy Kahnle, and Adam Warren. Warren and Kahnle have missed some time due to injuries, but the Yankees minor league arms have filled in nicely. Chapman and Shreve are the only southpaw options the Yankees have, and this should not be the case. Chapman is delegated to predominantly save situations and, while Shreve started off the season strong, he saw his ERA jump three runs after a disastrous outing on Friday. Left-handed hitters are also posting a .924 OPS off of Shreve, which is a far cry from a lefty specialist.
While neither the rotation nor the bullpen have glaring needs, there are definitely improvements that could be made. Here are six potential pitchers the Yankees could go after.
Probably the least “sexy” name on this list, Santiago is quietly off to a solid start with the White Sox pitching in a swingman role. In 20.2 innings (one start), he has recorded a 3.48 ERA and 20 strikeouts. He is not the left-handed specialist pitcher the Yankees covet, but he has held lefties to a respectable .261 batting average and can pitch multiple innings if needed. The most attractive thing about Santiago is how much he would cost the Yankees. He was signed to a minors deal before the season and is playing on the lowly White Sox. Anything in return for Santiago would be considered a plus deal for the White Sox, so I believe the Yankees could get away with acquiring him for just cash and a low-level minor league player who no one has ever heard of.
Hamels is nowhere near the pitcher he was in his prime, but the 34-year old may have enough in the tank to aid a playoff push. Hamels was acquired by the Rangers back in 2015 in a deal which saw the Rangers empty their system. Now finishing the last year on his mega-contract on a Rangers team destined for a top ten draft pick, Hamels and the Rangers may be looking to part ways. Hamels would add another proven, veteran arm to the Yankees rotation, and the Yankees would have no obligations towards him past this season as his 2019 option is a team option. The concerns with Hamels are his 4.08 ERA that does not jump off the page, and the fact that he is allowing 1.8 HR/9 and 3.6 BB/9, both career worsts. Hamels is averaging a career best 10.7 K/9, so his season has been a mixed bag to say the least. The Rangers may be motivated to move him and his 23.5 million salary at a low cost, if the Yankees help the Rangers out with his contract costs.
The Yankees inquired about Hand last summer, but the Padres’ management would not budge on their asking price, and he remained a Padre. Now it is 2018 and the Padres are in the cellar of the NL West, and they may finally realize they should continue to stock up their top-five farm system. Aside from two rough appearances, Hand is off to a solid start and has held lefties hitless in eighteen at-bats. Hand would be the perfect addition to the Yankees bullpen, but the issue is once again the Padres’ asking price. Hand is not worth any of the Yankees top-tier prospects, and I believe Cashman will not give in to the Padres’ demands. However, if Cashman can pull another wizard-like maneuver and snatch Hand from the Padres, it would be a great addition to an already stacked bullpen.
Corbin was rumored in Yankees’ trade talks over the offseason along with his former teammate Brandon Drury, but Corbin remained in Arizona, where he is flashing ace-like potential. Corbin has a 4-0 record, 2.15 ERA, and sixty strikeouts in only 46 innings. He is locked in, but because of this, the Arizona Diamondbacks will be demanding a king’s ransom for his services. Also, considering the Diamondbacks are in first place and that Corbin is a free agent after this season, a scenario of him coming to New York appears obsolete.
Watson has bounced around a little bit after being a long-time reliever in Pittsburgh. He was traded to the Dodgers during last season’s trade deadline, and is now pitching out of the San Francisco Giants’ bullpen. He has been a stud in the early going, posting a 0.61 ERA. Despite his unconventional windup from the left-side, Watson is actually pitching more effectively against right-handed hitters in 2018, but in his career, he has held lefties to a .576 OPS. Watson could become available, if the Giants fall out of the picture, but may cost a mid-tier prospect or two due to his performance, cheap contract, and the fact that he signed through next season.
The final name on this list is a player who has been victim to trade rumors since Kansas City has fallen out of contention, Danny Duffy. Duffy made it known on Twitter last season that he wanted to remain a Royal, but with Kansas City’s current state of affairs, it would be best for them to capitalize off of his value. Duffy has started the season off horribly, but everyone in the sport knows his number are not reflective of his talent. He is 0-4 with a 5.63 ERA, allowing 2.1 HR/9, and has a 1.49 WHIP. Unless Duffy continue to pitch this terrible, the Royals’ asking price will remain high due to his past success and four years of team control. If the Yankees trust Duffy can regain form and decide to part ways with two or three solid prospects, Duffy could be a solid addition in the Yankees’ rotation for the long-term and short-term.
Article by: Ryan Thoms
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