Anticipating the Deadline: Buying
The Trade Deadline is less than a week away; I'm evaluating 3 fan-made trades with the Yankees buying from over at BaseballTradeValues.com.
Trade #1: "Paying for Padres Pitching"
Submitted By: JRSwag15 (Link)
Padres Get: Elijah Dunham (OF, +2.2 MTV), Randy Vasquez (RHP, +5.5 MTV), Will Warren (RHP, +5.6 MTV) = Total of +13.3 MTV
Yankees Get: Josh Hader (LHP, +2.9 MTV), Blake Snell (LHP, +7.2 MTV) = Total of +10.1 MTV
Though reports are coming out from Alden Gonzalez (ESPN) that the San Diego Padres are not going to be putting either of Josh Hader or Blake Snell on the market at the deadline, I am not inclined to believe the reports. Both Hader and Snell are having phenomenal seasons, could be the best players at their positions- reliver and starting pitcher respectively- on the market, and are each in the final years of their current contracts. Currently, the San Diego Padres are currently a sub-.500 team with a 48-53 record, sit 6 games back of the final NL wild card spot, and have odds sitting at a less than 25% chance of making the playoffs.
Understandably, the San Diego Padres have been a team making big acquisitions for some time now under General Manager A.J. Preller and they are likely hoping on some positive regression in the final 2 months of the season. They do have a league-worst -8 "Luck" (in terms of the difference between their actual and Pythagorean record) which, if corrected to 0, would give them a 56-45 record, good for 2nd in the NL West and comfortably in the wild card race. However, I believe that trying to mount a comeback of that caliber, in a huge sellers market, would be a mistake. Instead, I'm going to play with the idea that those reports are being laid out to demand a higher rate for the two pitchers when they get traded away.
Blake Snell has started 20 games for the Padres with a 6-8 record, 2.67 ERA (an NL-leading 153 ERA+), 108 innings, and 143 strikeouts to an MLB-leading 59 walks. He has a +3.0 bWAR/+2.2 fWAR.
Josh Hader has pitched in 39 games for the Padres while recording 24 saves, a 0.97 ERA (423 ERA+), 37.0 innings, and 55 strikeouts to 19 walks. He has a +1.9 bWAR/+1.4 fWAR.
If the Yankees were to acquire both of these arms, it would solidify a Yankees rotation that has had to deal with many injuries (Rodon, Cortes, Severino) and comfortably cement a huge Yankees strength in their bullpen.
In the proposed trade, the Yankees would be dealing away 3 of their Top-30 prospects, and though nobody in the MLB Top-100, all of whom are in the upper levels of the minor leagues.
Will Warren is a right-handed pitcher and the Yankees #7 prospect and looks to be a promising bet to become a starting pitcher at the MLB level. He's been pitching in Triple-A and Double-A this year to solid results just a year after being drafted.
Randy Vasquez is another right-handed pitcher and the Yankees #12 prospect. He has already had a few starts in the MLB to positive results when the Yankees needed a spot starter, though his numbers in Triple-A haven't been great and his future looks to be questionable between being a starter or reliever. He's already broken past the hardest barrier to break (getting into the MLB at all) which will serve well for raising his floor.
Elijah Dunham is an outfielder, the Yankees #16 prospect, and is currently in Double-A. He's played in Triple-A to little success this year, but in his 2nd year in Double-A he's had an OPS over 1.000. He has an all around average skill set though his effort and motivation have continued to showcase himself above them. He's got a shot to make the MLB.
The numbers from BaseballTradeValues add up that the Padres would be getting a clear win in terms of value over the Yankees in this deal and I'd also be hesitant to agree to it. Ultimately, this is a move for a team that is in total win-now mode. And, while that could (or should) be the Yankees, I'm not sure all of that could happen. I am very intrigued by the idea, and I'm always okay with getting pitching help for a postseason run, but the Yankees need bats and this would greatly hurt their ability to do so by trading away a number of solid prospects.
I'd also be weary about the price for each of Hader and Snell to start with an ask for a Top-100 prospect as they'd be the clear favorites on the market. Especially with A.J. Preller's penchant for making a splashy move, I can't image they would be traded together for players with high floors and moderate ceilings. A.J. Preller would want high ceiling players in return, which the Yankees won't deal, while many other teams have many Top-100 prospects to move (like the Baltimore Orioles, with 8 (!) players).
Ethan's Reaction: A sound trade to boost the Yankees starting pitching and bullpen, but I don't see a match to be made here. (Maybe this could be a good framework for a trade with Juan Soto included, however.)
Trade #2: "Simple Pitching for Hitting"
Submitted By: coltonsulley (Link)
Nationals Get: Randy Vazquez (RHP, +5.5 MTV) Yankees Get: Jeimer Candelario (3B, +5.5 MTV)
A much simpler deal than the one above as this trade clearly signals out a team that will be in the market to sell (the Nationals), with a player who will be available (Candelario), and in a deal that involves just 2 moving parts.
I don't need to explain it, but the Washington Nationals are sitting comfortably at the bottom of the NL East with a 41-59 record. Thus, they have the option to move players who are on expiring deals to help them rebuild. One perfect player is that of Jeimer Candelario.
A former fringe Top-100 prospect with the Chicago Cubs in 2017, he was traded to the Detroit Tigers that deadline for Alex Alivia and Justin Wilson and became a familiar face in the line-up with high promise in his bat. Unfortunately however, Candelario has been inconsistent with his bat. He's put up two great seasons- in 2020 and 2021- with OPS+ that best 120 (137 and 121, respectively), though has also had two terrible seasons- in 2019 and 2022- with OPS+ that fall below 85 (70 and 82, respectively). This led him a 1-year "prove-it" deal with the Washington Nationals this season where he is hitting well again with a .257/.335/.486/.821 (128 OPS)+ extended quadruple slash-line over 90 games and 16 home runs (46 XBH's) to 50 RBI's.
The Yankees need an everyday third baseman with Josh Donaldson going down until mid-September. Candelario would fill a ton of needs as he'd add an immediate positive bump to the line-up, help with batting balance as a switch-hitter, and be able to fill in at third while not being a defensive liability.
We discussed Randy Vasquez above, but to reiterate, he's a promising arm with potential in the rotation but a much higher likelihood of ending up in an MLB bullpen who has cracked into the MLB and been solid in a few showings.
This trade is a perfect match to me. Perfectly balanced in terms of BaseballTradeValue's MTV, a team believing to be in the playoff race needing hitting help with a short-term rental, and a rebuilding team that could a long-term prospect with a high floor to stay in the MLB.
Ethan's Reaction: I'm in 100% for this deal. It hits a big need for the Yankees and it doesn't require a huge price to pay for.
Trade #3: "A Little Bit of Both"
Submitted By: cactus1017 (Link)
Cubs Get: Trey Sweeney (SS, +4.2 MTV), Drew Thorpe (RHP, +5.6 MTV) Yankees Get: Cody Bellinger (OF, +4.3 MTV), Drew Smyly (LHP, -6.4 MTV), $8M
It was announced recently that the New York Yankees are believed to want to to get under the $273 Million luxury tax threshold. Currently they sit a few million above the mark, which would make any trade deadline acquisition quite difficult to pull off.
This trade idea seems to have that idea in it's target when trying to find a way to get the Yankees some needed outfield and offense help, while also throwing in a depth pitcher and getting most of the remaining contracts for 2023 covered.
Cody Bellinger is a former MVP winner, who absolutely fell apart in 2021 and 2022, had to sign a 1-year "prove-it" deal and has made good on his promise. So far in 2023, he's hitting to a .319/.369/.549/.918 (145 OPS+) extended quadruple slash in 68 games with 14 home runs (30 XBH's) and 44 RBI's. He's been worth +2.7 bWAR/+2.8 fWAR on an expiring contract on a Cubs team that isn't quite "out" of it, but is firmly looking to sell. As a former center fielder with solid defensive numbers too, he'd very clearly fill a hole the Yankees had going into the season in left field.
Drew Smyly is a veteran left-handed pitcher having a decent year with a 7-7 record over 20 games (19 starts), 103.2 innings, a 4.59 ERA (96 ERA+), and 91 strikeouts to 36 walks.
Between Bellinger and Smyly, the two are making $17.5 Million and $8 Million this year respectively. That means that with the added $8 Million in cash from the Cubs in this deal, they'd likely be covering all of Bellinger's remaining salary.
Smyly's contract is an interesting one, with a 1 year/$8.5 Million contract after the season and an additional $10 Million mutual option with a $2.5 Million buy-out for 2025. At 34 years old, he could opt-out of his contract following the season, but also may not given a guaranteed $11 Million coming to him even with a terrible 2024 campaign.
For the Yankees, they would be trading away their #5 and #6 prospects in this deal with Trey Sweeney and Drew Thorpe respectively.
Trey Sweeney was the Yankees 1st round pick in 2021 and is a player who I believe is sitting just below the Top-100 as a player with all around average to above-average tools and skills. He's currently a solid-hitting shortstop in Double-A, but his future seems to be much more aligned to third base given his defense and bat. As a left-handed bat and potentially gearing up for a position that the Yankees will need to fill next year, he'd be a tough candidate to trade away for me.
Drew Thorpe was the Yankees 2nd round pick in 2022 and has all the promise in the world as a future starter in the MLB. He had over 200 innings of college experience and is currently in High-A ball and I believe he'll be in Double-A shortly. He's an extremely athletic player (and was a two-way player in college) whose floor is that of an MLB starter but little ceiling to be more than a #3. Still, a very interesting piece.
This deal works so well for the financial ends of the Yankees, of which I hate to have to even consider as they make more than enough money and just sold out for another $25 Million pay day to add a patch to their jersey. They don't need to take on an aging pitcher to help them save some money on the back-end by taking on another negative asset and getting money in exchange.
I'm also not sold 100% on Cody Bellinger and I wouldn't want to get stuck with Drew Smyly for another season if he decided to opt-in for 2024.
Ethan's Reaction: Maybe there is a trade to be made between the Yankees and Cubs for Bellinger- maybe for a guy like Yodendrys Gomez and a lower-end arm- and I think being cute with a deal (i.e. money & Smyly) is what will cost and hurt the Yankees more than not. Just make simple, smart, deals. It's nearly there, but needs some restructuring.