UPDATE: Deal is official. Jaime Garcia and cash for Zack Littell and Dietrich Enns.
A starting pitcher appears to be coming to the Bronx, though not the one everyone has been expecting. The Yankees have reportedly finalized a deal to acquire Jaime Garcia from the Twins. Though he's not Sonny Gray, Garcia helps the Yankees rotation depth that has been lacking. In return, the Yankees will send Zack Littell and Dietrich Enns to Minnesota. It's not yet clear how the remainder of Garcia's $12M full-year salary will be covered.
Garcia, 31, made just one start with the Twins before this reported deal. The Twins had initially acquired him from the Braves last week, when I suppose they believed they were contenders. He'll now join the Yankees rotation which is rather thin at the back end. Allowing someone like Caleb Smith to continue starting every fifth day couldn't last much longer, and Garcia will be the one to put an end to that.
In 119.2 innings, Garcia owns a respectable 4.29 ERA and 4.04 FIP, both marks right around league average. The southpaw isn't overpowering, but he does generate a high amount of ground balls, as his 55.0% ground ball rate helps him keep the ball in the yard. Garcia will be a free agent at the end of the season, so the Yankees essentially added 10 or 11 starts from him down the stretch. Ideally, the vast majority of those are 6-innings, 3-run affairs. ZiPS projects a 4.42 ERA and 4.19 FIP, which is in line with what the Yankees are probably seeking from him.
Littell, a 21 year-old righty who the Yankees acquired from the Mariners for James Pazos this past offseason, is the return for Garcia. The Yankees' 22nd best prospect per MLB.com has been brilliant between High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, hurling 115.1 innings of 1.87 ERA ball. That earned him the 99th spot on stat-only KATOH's top 100 prospects. Though the numbers are impressive, Littell's repetoire isn't overwhelming. He's more of a "pitchability" guy with "fringey stuff", as Fangraphs' Eric Logenhagen noted in the Yankees' top prospects list.
Enns, a 26 year-old southpaw who held a spot on the 40-man roster, is the second piece of the deal. Like Littell, Enns has some impressive minor league numbers (1.80 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A since 2016). However, given his age and stuff, he's not much of a prospect. Moving Enns is more to clear a spot on the roster for Garcia.
Ultimately, the Yankees dealt two prospects with iffy repetoires but great numbers for a league average rental lefty. One of the two prospects, Littell, appears to have a legitimate chance to make a Major League impact, though likely as a back-end starter at best. In the short-term, this deal helps the Yankees' rotation depth while doing almost no damage to the farm system, so it's a good trade for the Yankees. Will it be the last move on the pitching front, or is Sonny Gray still in the cards? We'll see.