Eight days remain until the thirty major league teams can no longer make trades. And this year, it’s a hard deadline. The August waiver deals are no more; teams will need to commit to buying or selling now rather than kicking the can down the road.
So with the new rule in mind, let’s take a look at what teams the Yankees could partner with in the upcoming days. From the definite sellers to teams on the fence, the Yankees undoubtedly will be diligent surveying the market. Can’t imagine that Brian Cashman will get much sleep.
Miami Marlins: To no one’s surprise, Derek Jeter’s ballclub sits at the bottom of the National League. They’re still a long way from contention, so theoretically anyone on their roster could be available. The problem? It’s slim pickings.
Perhaps the most interesting piece would be ex-Yankee Caleb Smith, a southpaw who’s found his footing in Miami. Since last year, he’s made 30 starts for the Marlins and owns a 3.89 ERA with high strikeout totals. However, he gives up his fair share of homers (1.45 per nine) which could be a problem moving from Marlins Park to Yankee Stadium. At any rate, it sounds like the Marlins want to keep him.
A healthy Austin Brice would be an interesting bullpen target. He’s broken out this year (1.88 ERA) and has strong peripherals. Nick Anderson, a 29 year-old rookie reliever, has posted monster strikeout numbers.
Cincinnati Reds: The Reds have a positive run differential but have fallen out of contention recently. They’re nine games under .500 and 7 games out of the second Wild Card spot. Cincinnati is a talented club that probably will contend over the next couple years, so they’re probably looking for close to major league ready young talent to help them take the next step.
Expect the Reds to trade Tanner Roark, who’s been solid for them this year (3.97 ERA, 4.26 FIP). He’s not an impact arm, but could help the Yankees back of the rotation eat innings in order to keep the bullpen rested. The Yankees are probably aiming higher, but he’d be a decent fallback.
The dream acquisition would be Luis Castillo, but let’s not kid ourselves here. Sonny Gray has been incredibly effective for the Reds, and probably will draw a lot of interest from other clubs, but obviously the Yankees have been there and done that.
David Hernandez and Raisel Iglesias appear to be the Reds’ two most likely bullpen chips to go. Neither have had good results in terms of ERA, but both offer high strikeout totals. Iglesias has more upside and is under contract through 2021, so his prospect cost could be high even though he’s developed a home run problem over the last two years.
Now that Brett Gardner’s knee is barking and Giancarlo Stanton is far from returning, it wouldn’t be stunning to see some positional depth targeted. Although Derek Dietrich is more of an infielder, he has outfield experience and left-handed power that could fit.
New York Mets: The Amazin’s are nine games under .500 and are certain to deal guys like Todd Frazier and currently injured Zack Wheeler, though the Bombers would only have interest in the latter. That said, Wheeler’s shoulder impingement will make it a lot harder for him to be moved to any team, let alone a crosstown rival.
I can see Omar from my seat. https://t.co/cYk3qjFPFY— Conor Foley (@RailRidersTT) July 15, 2019
Noah Syndergaard‘s name has come up in rumors of late, particularly when Omar Minaya attended one of Deivi Garcia’s starts recently. Still, it’s pretty hard to envision the Mets dealing Thor. Perhaps the Mets would entertain offers for Edwin Díaz, who although has pitched better lately, has not been the guy he was in Seattle.
The Mets have plenty of interesting pieces, but consummating a deal with the Yankees just doesn’t seem likely.
Baltimore Orioles: Similar to the Marlins, Baltimore’s trade block is lacking. That’s no surprise for a team with a 31-67 record, of course. They’ve already started dealing; the O’s traded Andrew Cashner to Boston last week.
The only other starting pitcher that I’d be remotely interested in is John Means, but Baltimore has little reason to trade the rookie. Even if they were, I’m skeptical of his results to date. In relief, perhaps the Yankees could try to get Mychal Givens back on track. He lost his closer role after a horrific start to the season, but has pitched better since June. He won’t be a free agent until after the 2021 season, so he’d be a long-term relief option too.
Detroit Tigers: Dead last in the Central, the Tigers should be active at the deadline. The most bandied about name has been Matt Boyd, a lefty starter who Bobby profiled a few weeks ago. He’s had a breakout season and is under team control for three more years, though I’d be hesitant because of his high home run totals.
The other names most rumored are Shane Greene and Nick Castellanos. Greene, who the Yankees dealt in the Didi Gregorius trade, has been excellent in Detroit’s closer role this year. He can be retained for 2020, too. On the other hand, Castellanos is merely a rental option who can really hit but is lackluster in the outfield.
Kansas City Royals: The Royals aren’t much further ahead of Detroit. The Yankees already pulled off one deal with them; the acquisition of speedster Terrance Gore.
Matt profiled Ian Kennedy yesterday, who’s found success as a reliever. Coming back to the Yanks would bring his career full circle, too. Elsewhere in the Kansas City bullpen, hard-throwing southpaw Jake Diekman could be a fit. Starting pitching-wise, there’s really nothing enticing. Danny Duffy would have interested me a couple years ago, but this is now his second poor season in a row.
If the Yankees decide they need more outfield depth as we wait to hear more about Gardner, Alex Gordon could be a target (though he is a 10-and-5 guy). Aside from June, he’s been resurgent offensively and is well known for his defensive chops despite his age.
Toronto Blue Jays: We’re starting to see the Jays’ core reach the majors, and I must admit, it’s a little scary. They’re still a few years away and need pitching help badly, but they’re going to hit. But for now, they’re still in the latter stages of rebuilding.
One would think Marcus Stroman would be a part of Toronto’s future, but that seems unlikely. Bobby wrote Stroman up recently, and he seems to make a good deal of sense for the Yanks. As an added benefit, it sure sounds like Stroman would embrace being a Yankee.
Marcus Stroman, Messing with Timing (regular windup, Stro mo and double leg pump), Overlay. pic.twitter.com/VjYdos0zSV— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 14, 2019
Aside from Stroman, Ken Giles has come up in rumors quite a bit. He’s been fantastic this year and has made his down 2018 look like a blip on the radar. Giles will probably fetch one of the bigger trade packages over the next week. Moving down a rung in the bullpen; Daniel Hudson or David Phelps would be helpful middle relief options.
Seattle Mariners: Remember when the Mariners were 13-2? Well, they’re 27-60 since then. Their playoff drought will last another year, so selling at the deadline is the club’s only sensible route. Of course, the Yankees have already made one deal with them this season; the Edwin Encarnación trade.
Unfortunately, the Mariners really don’t have any pitching that lines up well with the Yankees’ needs. Marco Gonzales and Mike Leake are the two best starters, but neither is inspiring.
Chicago White Sox: The South Siders had been hovering around .500 until a recent spell, but they would probably have been sellers anyway. The Wild Card in the American League was never going to be obtainable for them.
Former Rays closer Álex Colomé is Chicago’s most likely to be moved player. He’s been good in terms of run prevention this season, even though his strikeout numbers have cratered. His velocity is still good, at least. Elsewhere in the bullpen, lefty Aaron Bummer would be a nice get.
With Lucas Giolito untouchable and Carlos Rodón out for the season, the ChiSox don’t have anything that could bolster the Yankees’ rotation.
Not far out of a playoff spot, but could sell
Pittsburgh Pirates: Things don’t look great for the 46-52 Pirates, but they are only 5.5 games out of a Wild Card spot. They’d have to leapfrog a bunch of teams, but they aren’t necessarily out of the hunt. Still, one would think they’re leaning toward sell-mode.
Since his acquisition, Chris Archer has been a disaster for Pittsburgh. A year ago, I’d have been interested in the righty for the Yankees, but no thanks now. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Pirates tried to shop him though.
The Pirates have a few relief options that would fit well in the Yankees’ bullpen. Obviously, Felipe Vázquez would be an incredible addition, though Neil Huntington has put the kibosh on rumors about his closer. Michael Feliz and Francisco Liriano are significant steps down from Vázquez but would be useful.
On the position player side, Corey Dickerson would be a fantastic offensive fit in Yankee Stadium. The problem is that he’s a liability in the outfield. He’s a hitter I’ve liked for a while, but the fit just might not work even if Gardner is out for an extended period.
San Diego Padres: Similar to the Pirates, San Diego is on the outside looking in of a playoff spot. At 47-52 with a negative run differential, it probably makes sense to retool and prepare for next year (especially with its strong young core), but they could make a run for the Wild Card this year too. At any rate, they’ve already been highlighted in the rumor mill, most recently with reliever Kirby Yates connected to the Red Sox.
It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Yankees pursue Yates, who previously donned pinstripes in 2016. Yates has been remarkable for the Padres over the last two seasons. Otherwise, San Diego doesn’t have much to offer in the relief department.
The Padres do have a number of talented starting pitchers, but there’s almost no way they’ll be dealt. So aside from Yates, there really isn’t much to target here as the Padres already have the makings of a team ready to contend within the next year or two.
Colorado Rockies: After dropping two of three at Yankee Stadium, Colorado sits even with San Diego in the standings. They feel more like sellers than San Diego, though that’s just my sentiment. They dealt Mike Tauchman to the Yanks earlier this year, by the way, so there’s recent trade history.
I’d have to imagine the Yankees would be interested in Jon Gray, who they drafted in the tenth round of the 2011 draft but did not sign him. It’s always really hard to evaluate pitchers coming from Coors Field, but Gray has put up solid peripherals there annually. The results haven’t always come, particularly last year, but his stuff is tantalizing (and he’s regained some lost fastball velocity). Gray isn’t a free agent until after 2021, so the Rockies won’t necessarily be motivated to move him.
If it’s bullpen help the Yankees seek, Scott Oberg would be a swell pickup. He’s been excellent since last season, strikes out his fair share of opponents, and generates plenty of ground balls.
In the hunt, but could sell if things go awry this week
San Francisco Giants: Thanks to a recent surge, the Giants reached .500 over the weekend. Before that, it sure seemed like they would be sellers. Longtime Giant Madison Bumgarner would be the team’s primary chip, but now things are a bit more dicey. Entering Monday, they were just 2.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot, so it would be hard to justify selling. Still, maybe a rough week ahead convinces them to break things down. Again, Bumgarner would be the big name to go (who Bobby wrote up previously).
If not MadBum, the Giants have a litany of relievers who could be difference makers. Will Smith, Mark Melancon, and Tony Watson have been sturdy in the back end of San Francisco’s bullpen. Melancon, yet another former Yankee, is signed to a fairly large deal through next season and probably would be the most difficult of the trio to deal.
Arizona Diamondbacks: The Snakes are even with the Giants in the standings, putting them in a precarious position as well. Starter Robbie Ray has already been linked to the Yankees in recent days, though his control and home run rate scares me. He’s also lost a couple ticks on his fastball over the last two years.
Zack Greinke would be a whole lot of fun, but his contract would probably be prohibitive for the Yankees. Further, the Yanks are one of the teams included in his no-trade clause.
In relief, southpaw Andrew Chafin could be obtainable, though he’s more in the lefty specialist mold. For outfield depth, Jarrod Dyson would make for a great fit. Not only is he stellar defensively, but he isn’t horrible at the plate and could excel as a pinch-runner.
Texas Rangers: At 50-49, the Rangers have fallen back to Earth after they played over their heads all season, thanks to unexpected performances from guys like Hunter Pence.
Mike Minor is the Rangers’ most talked about player in the rumor mill, and for good reason. The southpaw owns a 2.86 ERA in 20 starts this year and is on a very team-friendly deal through next season. I suppose old friend Lance Lynn could be had as well, though I can’t imagine anyone really wants to run that back. Still, he’s been awesome this year. A sticking point could be that he’s signed through 2021, though.