A Top Secret “Under the Radar” Deal (Guest Post from Cary Greene)
A Top Secret “Under the Radar” Deal Hidden Within Brian Cashman’s Desire to Fix the Yankees Shortstop Situation at the Deadline.
Guest Writer Cary Greene has some fun and explores how the Yankees and the Rockies might match-up as trade partners.
July 13, 2021
While we enjoy the All-Star break – which unfortunately amounts to meaningless festivities these days, a far-cry from what the MLB All-Star Game used to be, let’s continue to identify ways for the Yankees to improve their club at the deadline.
Last week we identified teams that may be or are potential “smaller-scale” sellers: The Cubs, Nationals, Cardinals and potentially the Braves and Phillies.
However, the teams in full-scale tear it down and rebuild it mode are the Tigers, Royals, Twins, Rangers, Orioles, Marlins, Rockies, Pirates and Diamondbacks. Last week we dissected the bottom tier of these teams, the Diamondbacks, Pirates, Orioles and Royals as one would think they’d be most amenable to either jettison contracts or trade their most tradable assets because, indeed, they are “extremely far” from putting contending teams on the field.
Continuing on with that logic, let’s use today to determine if the Rockies make sense as realistic trade partners should the Yankees find themselves in a buying mood at the deadline.
Colorado is the proud architect of the MLB.COM’s #27 Farm System. Hard to believe a rebuilding team, 12 games out of the Wild Card by mid-July is this bad. The Rockies don’t even have a single, highly rated prospect anywhere near being able to help the team. Suffice it to say that they absolutely do need to restock their system with quality players. They could also use free-agency to help fill in holes but that’s putting the cart before the horse. They need prospects!
This begs the next logical questions – do they have players that could help the Yankees right the ship and would they continue to work with Brian Cashman, as there is definitely a history of willingness to partner on deals they perceive can help them. For example, before the start of the 2019 season, Cashman sent then 25- year-old lefty Phillip Diehl, a former 27th round Yankees draft pick for 2013 10th round pick, outfielder Mike “the Sock-Man” Tauchman who did have great upside. He once led all college players in batting average during his senior year at Bradley University, batting .425!
The Rockies have contracts it seems that they’d love to dump. Heading the list is 35-year-old light hitting left-handed right fielder Charlie Blackmon. We’ll pass here because Blackmon is expensive and has player options next year and the year after. No thanks!
Moving along, 26-year-old, righty German Márquez would be the Rockies most valuable trade asset. I believe the Yanks would absolutely love to add him to the rotation. Márquez is signed through 2023 and at $8.6 million a year with a team option for 2024, he’s quite a bargain from a contractual standpoint. Marquez fits the profile of the kind of starting pitcher the Yankees like. He limits hits and has a high strikeout rate, at 9.1 strikeouts per 9 innings, which would obviously come down a bit in the AL.
The Rockies also have 28-year-old impending Free-Agent, right-hand hitting shortstop Trevor Story to offload this season. The Rockies would save $6.9 million if they could use him as a trade chip at the deadline so that’s an obvious play for Rockies acting GM Greg Feasel. Story is a similar hitter to Gleyber Torres. I imagined Torres would be far superior offensively to Story by now, but Gleyber is having sophomore growing pains this year.
Story is a very good defensive shortstop, and if the Yankees did acquire him as an upgrade to Torres for this season, he’d absolutely solidify the position. One thought might be to make a play for Story this year, as a rental, moving DJ LeMahieu to 1B, Luke Voit to DH, Giancarlo Stanton RF and Aaron Judge to LF. Mind boggling as that sentence just was, it is a pretty brilliant idea!
I’m not super keen on DJ LeMahieu not playing 2B so I’d rather see the Yankees trade Gleyber Torres for – ohhh, I dunno: Ketel Marte? That said, acquiring Story at the deadline is realistically possible. Getting Marte is a really looonnnng stretch and a very imaginative one as well.
The Rockies also have a “sleeper” under-the-radar trade that Cashman could quietly expedite. Former 2016 3rd round Draft Pick, 26-year-old right-hand hitting centerfielder Garrett Hampson is an above average defensive player who does a little bit of everything – except get on base well enough . Still he’s under team control through 2024 and would be a defensive upgrade for the Yankees. He’s also a right-handed hitter so he could platoon with Brett Gardner if worse came to worse. Bottom line is he probably could help and he’s a far better hitter than say, Tim Locastro.
The Rockies could live without Hampson because they actually play the defensively challenged but offensively gifted Yanathan Daza a lot in leftfield. He can play all three outfield positions including center. Daza gets on base a whole lot better and he has gap to gap ability but I don’t see the Yankees wanting such a suspect fielder running around where Joe DiMaggio & Mickey Mantle once patrolled.
Let’s examine realistic trades for Story and Márquez and Hampson.
First we’ll tackle Márquez. He’s as astronomically valuable and hard to trade for as a player could possibly be. The Yankees have two ways to get him – trade Aaron Judge or Jason Dominguez. It’s that simple. Trading Judge isn’t happening if the Yankees want to make the playoffs this year, so my trade below uses Dominguez as a conversation starter. This trade is a tiny overpay on the Yankees part.
Yankees Get: German Márquez Rockies Get: Jason Dominguez, OF-Rookie Ball, Luis Gil RHSP-AA, Oswald Peraza SS-AA & Clarke Schmidt RHSP-AAA
In short, that isn’t happening.
Now that we’ve established that the Yankees aren’t trading for German Márquez as they have zero shot of getting him without talking Judge or Dominguez, let’s look at what a Trevor Story trade might entail.
First off – it’s an easy peazy trade for Cashman. All he’d have to do is lead with either Deivi Garcia or Ezequiel Duran. I chose Duran because it feeds a solid second base prospect into a Rockies system bereft of prospects and because Garcia is every so slightly more valuable presently, though his value is declining. I think the Rockies do this deal and Cashman can always upgrade a player like Anthony Garciain at the 11th hour, ever so slightly, if the Rockies have a better offer on the table.
Yankees Get: Trevor Story Rockies Get: Ezequiel Duran 2B-A+ & Anthony Garcia, OF-Rookie Ball
Now for our under-the-radar Yankees-Rockies deal. The Rockies can live without Hampson for the remainder of the season and their system is oddly lacking middle infielders. Obviously, the Yankees don’t lack these types of assets, so we’ll start there and work into the system to complete what would be deemed a very fair trade for both teams with the Rockies getting slightly better upside and the Yankees getting the help they desperately need in centerfield – and on the cheap no less. Here’s the crafty trade that both parties surely would sign off on:
Yankees Get: Garrett Hampson Rockies Get: Trevor Hauver 2B-A, Ryder Green OF-Rookie Ball
Who knows. Anything is possible. Right?
As always, we’re very interested to hear your thoughts on these deals and also, whether Colorado would be a preferred team to deal with based on the returns I propose.