Updated: Aug 27, 2020
As the summer comes to an end, so does the MLB regular season. August 31st marks the official date for the Trade Deadline. It is very unsettling to have players be traded across the country during a national pandemic and social uncertainty, but unfortunately, baseball is a business.
It seems that the past few seasons, the Yankees find themselves in a similar position as they currently are in; battling for the first place in the AL East and possess a thin pitching staff that is underperforming or injured. After being swept by the Rays and postponing the Subway Series due to a Mets COVID scare, the Yankees currently sit at 16-9. They are back and forth in first place with Tampa Bay. Although they have had their struggles and a disgusting amount of injuries to high preforming players, New York still holds one of the best records in Baseball.
In terms of pitching, the Yankees have been fortunate to have had one of the best bullpens in the Major Leagues. Chapman has returned and is looking SWOLE. Ottavino and Chad Green are absolute gems. Other players including Holder, Loaisiga, and Heller have held their own. They are still very deep in that department even with Kahnle out for the season and Britton most likely being sidelined into September. The starting rotation, however, has not been playing exceptionally well. Gerrit Cole is the only saving grace. The remaining pitchers have seen their fair share of “woes”. Obviously, Luis Severino and Domingo German were lost for this season from the start. James Paxton, prior to heading to the IL, has been shaky. His loss in velocity was not a pretty sight. Tanaka hasn’t thrown more than 70 pitches in a start. Jordan Montgomery has been so-so, and J.A. Happ has been pitiful. There is more drama with him now.
On top of that, the team has lost some major players on offense to nagging injuries. It is crazy to lose guys like Aaron Judge, DJ LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gleybar Torres and still have the season they are having. On top of that, Gary Sanchez, Aaron Hicks, and Brett Gardner are not performing as well as the expected. Luke Voit and Gio Ursehla are keeping the offense alive and afloat. The "next man up" mentality can only take the team so far. Clint Frazier and Mike Ford have been phenomenal when they are up to bat. They also still have players like Mike Tauchman, Tyler Wade, Miguel Andujar, and Thairo Estrada as backup bats, the team may look for some insurance policies.
If the Yankees want to compete in the postseason, they are going to need to add some pieces to “Chase for 28”. Brian Cashman is one of the best in the business. We have seen the GM make some trades for some big-name pieces to help compete after the deadline in recent years. Those include the likes of Andrew McCutchen, Cameron Maybin, Edwin Encarnacion, Todd Frazier, Sonny Gray, David Robertson, and Lance Lynn, just to name a few. Cash has also acquired players of late, that nobody expected to pan out. Gio Ursehla, Luke Voit, Mike Tauchman, the list goes on. This season, even with everything going on, is world series-or-bust. Aaron Boone is being questioned with some of his media antics regarding injured players and dubious play calling during games. We know the Yankees need pitching, and they most likely will address this, even with Clarke Schmidt and Devi Garcia waiting in the wings. Who could the Yankees acquire?
-Taijuan Walker, SP Seattle Mariners
This is a trade that is very possible for the Yankees to maneuver. Walker is on a one-year, $2 million dollar deal in Seattle this season and has pitched to a flat 4.00 ERA with a 25-to-8 K/BB ratio in 27 innings. Walker can slot into a consistent starting role with the club and make a for sure impact. Cashman and Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto already have a rapport. The Mariners have dealt James Paxton and Edwin Encarnación to the Yanks in recent times. The Mariners also have given the Yankees a bountiful amount of players of the years. Tino Martinez, Ichiro Suzuki, Ken Phelps, Michael Pineda, plus multiple other smaller trades on top of that. This could be another one to add to the list.
-Kevin Gausman, SP San Francisco Giants
The Yankees called the Giants and are interested in the right-handed starter. He is on a very friendly deal (1 year - $9million dollar contract). The 29-year-old Gausman has posted a 4.65 ERA over five starts and one relief appearance. But he has 42 strikeouts in 31 innings. He also has an above-average in fastball spin and velocity and induces more swings and misses than 80 percent of the league. The Giants are still in the expanded playoff hunt, so they might not sell, but his name has been coming up in the trade deadline rumors.
-Mychael Givens, RP Baltimore Orioles
You would think that an AL-East rival would not trade an impressive relief pitcher to the Yankees, but Baltimore already did that move once with Zack Britton, who says they won't do it again? Baltimore started hot, but have since fallen off. They are in no way in any form to compete this year (or season years to come), so they will most likely be sellers this deadline. Givens has been quite impressive this year, posting a 0.77 ERA with 16 strikeouts in over 11 innings. He has never been one of the MLB’s best arms, he’s been consistently well above average. Over his six years in the majors, he’s posted an ERA of 3.31. The Yankees need starting pitching, but if that is not an option at the deadline, they should bolster their bullpen even more.
"Trading for the Name"
-Johnny Cueto, SP San Francisco Giants
Giants ace Johnny Cueto could be the biggest name on the trade block, but San Francisco's current success could take him off the market. He is having an ok season, throwing 27 strikeouts with a 4.35 ERA. He does boast a decent resume, as a two-time All-Star, 2014 NL Strikeout leader, and 2015 Royals World Series Champion. Despite injuries and age, Cueto has been a consistent pitcher not only on the Reds but the Giants as well. The money is the biggest downside of this possible acquisition. Cueto is owed $26 million after this season when you include a buyout of the 2022 season. The Yankees should give San Fran a call to see what it would take to bring the righty to the Bronx.
-Lance Lynn, SP Texas Rangers
Lance Lynn was once traded to the Yanks back in 2018 from the Twins. He wasn't used correctly and didn't provide staggering numbers in his time in pinstripes. Since signing a three-year, $30 million dollar deal with the Rangers before 2019, Lynn has pitched to a 3.30 ERA over 253 innings. Lynn was an American League Cy Young contender during his first season in Texas, and will probably be a contender this season as well. This season, he holds a major league-leading 45 1/3 innings pitched with a 1.59 ERA. The Rangers are entertaining offers and a reunion to the Bronx could be something fans wouldn't hate.
"Not out of the question, but a stretch"
- Mike Clevinger, SP Clevland Indians
Clevinger is a name to keep an eye on and definitely one of the most intriguing pitchers for the deadline. Cashman has reached out to Clevland to check in on him. The Indians are open to offers, especially after Clevinger broke team protocol. He was exiled to the alternate site for violating health-and-safety protocols and taking a flight with the club before the team learned of his actions. The Indians have traded their pitching before due to different antics, while still trying to compete. He too could be shipped off. However, it will take a pretty penny. The 29-year-old has been excellent dating back to 2017, possessing a 2.97 ERA and a 10.2 K/9 in 464 2/3 innings. He has two years of club control after this season as well.
-Trevor Bauer, SP Cincinnati Reds
Although they have three really great pitchers in Sonny Gray, Luis Castillo, and Bauer, the Reds are once again are experiencing a disappointing season and figure to be sellers at the deadline. Trevor Bauers's name came up in rumors last year, and this season it would cost the Yankees more to obtain him. Besides his outspokenness and highly opinionated commentary, Bauer is the proud owner of a 1.65 ERA with 49 strikeouts and a 0.73 WHIP. This would be no cheap acquisition. Supposedly, Bauer and Gerrit Cole were not the best of friends while at UCLA, but if Cole is the epitome of a professional, and would put any differences aside to bring home a World Series ring.
"No shot, but one could dream"
- Didi Gregorius, SS Philadelphia Phillies
#BringDidiHome should be trending by now after both Torres and DJ hit the IL. The Phillies are dead last in the NL East with their own pitching problems and lackluster playmaking. Didi is on a 1-year contract and a reunion added with some unfinished business would be the perfect story for the World Series DVD.
-Fransico Lindor, SS Clevland Indians
A name that has been linked to the Bronx for years, Lindor to the Yanks would shake up the league. Lindor is a top-notch short-stop in this league and it would be a dream to see him as a Yank. The only reason the Indians would even consider dealing Lindor is that he due to be a free agent after the 2021 season. This trade would take a lot, and it is not truly necessary right now, but if we are talking dream trades then this would be at the top of the list.
-Yasiel Puig, OF Free Agent
This is not a trade option nor is there any chance of this happening, but Yasiel Puig is a player the Yankees should check in on. He has a great track record of the remaining free-agent outfielders, and he could likely be had on the cheap. One year for less than $10 million? Puig is a wild and electric player, who has a rocket arm and a career .277 average. He can smack home runs, just like Yankee way, and has postseason experience with the Dodgers. If the Yankees do trade an OF for a pitcher, Yasiel Puig would be an intriguing option to fill that void.
**Other names that have been tied to the Yankees and could be possible trade acquisitions include Robbie Ray, Mike Minor, Matt Boyd, Ian Kennedy, Shane Greene, and Jeff Samardzija.
All of these players are “somewhat” available. Cashman has the touch to spice things up, but who will he have to dish to obtain these guys?
Who are our Trade Chips?
We have seen this in the past, especially last season, Cashman is not going to trade the house for a rental. The Yankees did not acquire a big name arm last year, even though names like Mike Minor, Robby Ray, and Michael Fulmer were being thrown around. The ask on those pitchers was way too high. Gleyber Torres is NOT a slapstick prospect on the market, he is the future of the team. However, we do have some players that can be moved around, for the right price.
- Aaron Hicks
Hicks as a trade chip is unlikely, but not out of the question. Aaron Hicks is due $50.5 million from 2021-25. The Yanks signed him on a team-friendly deal and have been a stellar outfielder, but average hitter. The team could take on a larger short money contract and get out of Hicks’ longer contract with an eye on having to pay Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres in the near future.
Miggy is in a weird spot with the Yankees. After a very productive rookie season, he lost his position after his injury. He has a phenomenal bat but developing and mediocre defensive ability. Andujar had the chance to win back his position, but Gio proved he wasn't a one-season wonder. Andujar has low trade value now, but if teams feel his bat is worth more than his third baseman skills, and they think he can play a competent left field, perhaps he’d be of interest in a deal.
It has been a while since the Yankees had a stable option for first base. Luke Voit has been one of Cashman's biggest finds, and Mike Ford is no slouch during his tenure in pinstripes. Mike Ford is a valuable lefty to platoon with Voit at first. They both are meaty power hitters, talented first baseman, and great locker room guys. Ford has been a consistent batter and reliable pinch hitter when needed. It would sad to see the "Pride of Princeton - Hefty Lefty - Babe Ruth Reincarnation" be dealt, but he could be a piece to secure a desperately needed pitcher.
Clint is a player the Yankees need to decide whether he is a keeper or trade bait. It is not fair to him or his growth what the Yanks are doing. You have to feel bad for the guy, in the past few seasons have shuffled in between the minors and the big leagues, even though he produces every time he is called up. This season, he owns a .333 BA with 8 RBIs. He is also improving his defense, which was always the factor in question, never his bat. The Yankees should hold on to Clint, especially as Brett Gardner's contract is expected to expire at the end of this season. But if a Judge and Stanton are fully healthy, and a trade for an Ace comes to fruition, then expect Frazier to be part of that package.
Without a doubt, the Yankees will be buyers in the next few days. Let's see what is in store for the Bombers and their "Chase for 28".