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Breaking: Yankees acquire LHP James Paxton in exchange for LHP Justus Sheffield, RHP Erik Swanson, and OF Dom Thompson-Williams

The Yankees have made their first splash of the offseason by acquiring the Big Maple, James Paxton, from the Seattle Mariners. Fresh off his second-consecutive season at the top of the Mariner’s rotation, Paxton did not come cheap as the Yankees traded away their top prospect, Justus Sheffield, along with breakout prospects Erik Swanson and Dominic Thompson-Williams.

The Yankees’ interest in Manny Machado stems from the lack of a true ace on the trade market


Yankee fans are used to having an embarrassment of riches on their roster. Brian Cashman added Giancarlo Stanton to an already stacked outfield over the 2017 offseason via trade, and the Yankees’ bullpen has four or five pitchers that could be closers on other teams. Where the team needs depth badly is in the starting rotation. However, despite this obvious need in improvement, the Yankees have been reported to be a player in the Manny Machado sweepstakes. To many, this makes zero sense. Miguel Andujar is a frontrunner for Rookie of the Year in the American League and Didi Gregorius is having another solid season in the Bronx and is vital to the team’s chemistry. The answer to why the Yankees would even consider upgrading their infield lies in the fact that the market for a top-of-the-rotation arm is simply scarce.
 
Photo Credit: NY Post


If this was MLB the Show or another virtual baseball world, a trade for an ace would be easy with the Yankees’ surplus of trade chips on both the major and minor league roster. We’ve discussed in great detail on our site how the Yankees have the pieces to make the move for a deGrom or Mad Bum, but the reality is, they’re either not available at all, or the exchange is extremely unrealistic. Every Yankee fan that likes to play General Manager on Twitter doesn’t understand why Cashman doesn’t pull the trigger for a one of the Mets’ aces or another player of that caliber. Instead of Ken Rosenthal reporting the Yankees are a frontrunner for Syndergaard, he reported last night that the Yankees are a prominent team in the Manny Machado buzz.

The way the trade market is set up right now, the most obvious available starting pitchers that have been linked to multiple teams including the Yankees are JA Happ, Cole Hamels, Nathan Eovaldi, and Michael Fulmer. None of these pitchers are bad, by any means, but none of them are particularly dominant either. In fact, Eovaldi is the only pitcher with a sub-4.00 ERA out of the bunch. These pitchers are the “cream of the crop” in terms of who’s available and has a reasonable price tag. Sure, deGrom and Thor are “available,” but for the price of Gleyber Torres, which the Mets consider a starting point, they’re not going to be Bronx-bound anytime soon. 

Other ace pitchers like Blake Snell and Madison Bumgarner have somehow been labeled as “available” by fans, but no actual reports have been made backing this up. A report from MLBTR yesterday proclaimed that an NL executive was told that Snell would require a major haul and that any report saying the Rays were avidly shopping him was “fictional garbage.” MadBum is the Giants’ franchise ace and with the NL wide open, any hope at landing him is foolish.
 
Photo Credit: Getty Images
With that being said, the Yankees would not be smart to trade away the farm system to acquire a Michael Fulmer or a Cole Hamels just out of pure desperation for a starter, especially since they would likely have to overpay due to the low quantity of pitchers available. This is where the Machado news comes in. With a big name starting pitcher not being shopped and the Yankees having a surplus of talent, the Bronx Bombers have a few options: overpay for a mediocre starter, do nothing, or make a move for some other area on the team.

The Yankees are set in the outfield, middle infield, and at catcher, so the most glaring holes are at the corners. Andujar has been solid at third base, but the Yankees haven’t said he was untouchable for an upgrade at the position, like Machado. First base has been a disaster this season, but with Mike Moustakas being the only other player to have been linked to possibly being an option for the Yankees, a move that would shift Andujar to first and have Machado take over duties at third isn’t an insane idea. However, the issue lies with the fact that Machado is adamant that he is a shortstop and that’s where he wants to play.

Maybe he would change his mind if he left the cellar dwellers of the east, but that type of attitude is likely to carry over to New York. This would essentially put the Yankees out of the sweepstakes with Didi entrenched at shortstop, but somehow, the Yankees are still linked to the Orioles’ all-star shortstop. Machado’s bat would no doubt improve the Yankees already vaunting offense, but would still leave the pitching staff a weakness.

Cashman has not been shy of the blockbuster with this group of players intact, but he may not be able to execute a deal for the star pitcher the Yankees desperately need. Because of this, a deal for a player like Machado is coming into the picture, and to many people’s surprise, is becoming more and more realistic by the day. If Brian Cashman cannot upgrade the rotation, upgrading an already potent offense could be an option he would be willing to go for.

Article by: Ryan Thoms

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