Six early trade targets for the New York Yankees

The Yankees currently sit at 32-17 and are on top of the AL East. Despite this, the team has some areas it could improve in; however, Brian Cashman will not have to dig into his pocketbook or pick up the phone to get all the help this team needs. The team is expecting reinforcements off of the IL on both sides of the ball over the course of the next two months, which should give this already successful team an even bigger boost. However, this does not mean the Yankees will be silent on the trade market as more injuries could amount, setbacks can happen, and other teams will acquire big pieces resulting in the Yankees not wanting to fall behind. The Yankees are coming off two consecutive successful regular seasons followed by postseason failures, and still have the minor league talent to swing some game-changing deals. With this in mind, here are six early candidates to keep an eye on as the major league season transitions into the summer months.

Photo Credit: Baltimore Sun

Madison Bumgarner
Based on journalism and Twitter alone, Madison Bumgarner should have been on the Yankees last summer, but the Giants opted to hold on to their franchise southpaw, despite his looming free agency this offseason. With the Giants currently sitting in the cellar of their division, 2019 may finally be the year they move their ace pitcher in order to help the team build for the future.

Bumgarner has already been linked to the Yankees a few times this season. He placed the Yankees on his official no-trade list, which once thought about, means the Yankees are a team he would be interested in going to, under the right conditions. Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported earlier today that the Yankees had scouts in attendance of his previous start as well.
Photo Credit: Sportscasting

Mutual interest aside, MadBum’s numbers have been lackluster this season, and knowing the Giants, they will not let those numbers undervalue what they think he is worth. He currently has a 3-4 record with a 4.21 ERA, and -0.1 WAR, but his periphery numbers suggest he could improve. He has an ERA-FIP differential of -0.68, and his K/9, K:BB ratio, and WHIP are all either better or right at his career marks.

The most enticing accolade Bumgarner possesses is his postseason pedigree. He has the potential to completely takeover a postseason series on the mound, and this is something the Yankees severely lack. James Paxton and Domingo German have never pitched in a playoff series, Severino has been bad in his first two go-arounds, Happ has been extremely inconsistent this season, and Sabathia has the knee that could flare up at a moment’s notice.

Max Scherzer and Anthony Rendon
Nationals fans did not picture their ace and All-Star third baseman falling into trade talks coming into this season, but their team’s play has warranted it. The Nationals sit at 19-31 and have a -40 run differential. There’s still plenty of time to catch up, but the post-Bryce Harper era in the nation’s capital appears to be on a decline.
Photo Credit: NBC Washington

Let’s start with Mad Max. Scherzer is arguably the best pitcher in the entire sport and has racked up honors over the past six seasons. In that span, he is a six-time All-Star,  three-time Cy Young award winner, four-time MVP vote getter, and has led the league in strikeouts, WHIP, K:BB, K/9, innings, starts, complete games, shutouts, wins, and the list goes on. He is a fantastic, generational pitcher, which means two things. First, the Nationals will not part with him unless they completely stink over the course of the next few months. Second, it will take an absolute haul to get him. Scherzer still has team control for the next two seasons, making the package needed to net him steep. Scherzer would immediately become the Yankees’ most dynamic pitcher and provide them with some much need consistency both with performance and health.

Anthony Rendon is in the last year of his contract and is set to become a free agent at the end of this season. The Nationals have been said to want to keep him in DC, but according to 106.7 the FAN in DC, Scott Boras recently said that the Nationals have missed the boat for an extension with Rendon. If this is the case they may seek to get something for Rendon, rather than see him walk away for nothing more than a draft pick. Rendon does not have an obvious fit like the two aforementioned pitchers, but if Urshela fails to maintain his miraculous production, the season-long absence of Andujar creates a need at the hot corner. Rendon is off to another scorching start as his OPS is north of 1.000 and he leads the sport in doubles. Rendon would be a rental for the Yankees, one that would likely cost a top-5 prospect.

Ken Giles
The infamous hitting himself moment is what every Yankees fan remembers when they see Giles’ name, but many forget he’s a pretty talented pitcher, aside from last season. Giles has been impressive thus far in 2019 as the Blue Jays’ closer has a 1.31 ERA, 13.9 K/9, and a 1.02 WHIP. The Blue Jays have not been shy about dealing players they do not see as part of the future, see Kevin Pillar, and Giles makes sense as a guy that will not likely be playing north of the border come August. Giles has emerged as a leader for the Blue Jay bullpen, coining a “never back down” attitude and has seemingly fixed what was causing him issues in Houston. Giles would not close in New York, so adding him to a middle reliever mix that has seen some ups and downs this season would only improve the team. Giles comes with two extra years of team control.
Photo Credit: Sportsnet

Nicholas Castellanos and Alex Gordon
If Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton’s return gets set back and Gardner’s play declines, the Yankees could be in the market for an outfielder similar to Andrew McCutchen last season. The Tigers and Royals are both off to horrendous starts, so it is expected that they will sell off some of their expiring players in return for young talent.

The career Royal, Alex Gordon is hitting more like his former All-Star self. He has a .903 OPS, and 34 RBI to go along with his gold glove defense. Similarly to DJ Lemahieu, Gordon’s addition to the lineup would further balance a power heavy lineup. Gordon’s ability to work counts and get on base at a high clip would be the perfect fit in the Yankees’ lineup. There are two issues with Gordon, however. First, as I mentioned before, Gordon has not hit above league average in a few seasons, so the next few weeks will be telling as to whether or not this is an extended hot streak, or a contract year revelation. Second, the Royals may just hold onto Gordon. Gordon has only played in Royal blue, and has a 10-5 no trade clause. He wants to retire a Royal, but his scorching-hot play may change some minds.

Also in the midst of a contract year, Castellanos was rumored in a plethora of deals last year, but remained in Detroit. Once again out of the playoff picture, the Tigers should be actively seeking to deal the up and coming free agent. Unlike Gordon, Castellanos is not playing up to his caliber. Castellanos is in the midst of back-to-back seasons of at least 20 home runs and 80 RBI, but is hitting 20 points below his career average and 30 points below his career slugging percentage. Castellanos has experience at both third base and in the outfield meaning he could cover two potential positions of need, but his defense rates low. An acquisition of Castellanos would likely only happen if he turns his hitting around and the Yankees continue to see setbacks with their injured position players.

Article by: Ryan Thoms


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