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The Tuesday Discussion – Trade Targets

This week we challenged our writers with the following:

Please list your Top 3 to 5 trade targets for the Yankees this year –

and why you chose each.

The writers responded with the following:

Ed Botti – The 2020 trade deadline is going to be different than any other in the sport’s recent history. The primary reason being the expanded playoff system. As a result, there will be far fewer sellers and trade partners available. Throw in the fact that it’s the Yankees, and trade partners dwindle even more. I doubt the Red Sox or Mets will want to help the Yankees.

As the Yankees 2020 version of a MASH unit unfolds once again, adding offensive depth seems like an obvious choice. However, with Tauchman and Frazier spelling the often injured Stanton and Judge, the outfield seems to be in pretty good hands, and an upgrade would seem very difficult and/or very expensive. Not knowing when DJ will return and what he will be like (I had the same injury twice, and it is not easy to come back from quickly) and not knowing if Gleyber is hurt, makes the decision tough, as of this analysis.

Keep in mid folks, there are no David Cones or David Justices available. Many teams that would normally be sellers, are now going to hold their cards, or even become buyers.

A blockbuster trade is possible (Frankie Lindor, Kris Bryant), but I doubt it from the Yankee perspective.

It’s going to be more along the lines of Graham Lloyds and David Weathers type acquisitions, in my opinion. The offseason, may be different.

Losing Britton and Kahnle clearly established a need for bullpen help. If Paxton is hurt, there is now a hole in the middle of the rotation as well.

Bullpen wise, I think a good pick up would be San Francisco lefty Tony Watson, an immediate upgrade over Luis Avilán, and someone that can in fact handle high leverage situations.

From the right side of the bullpen, I’d make a call to Kansas City and inquire about Trevor Rosenthal, who is putting together a nice comeback season on a team with little chance to make the playoffs. He is also a pitcher that has experience in high leverage situations, and I think would fit nicely into the Yankee bullpen.

Another possible righty I would look into is the Angels Cam Bedrosian. He does not have the high leverage experience, but would be an upgrade, and who can argue with his pedigree?

If these failed to materialized, my back up plans would include right handers Keone Kela from Pittsburgh, Joe Jimenez from Detroit and lefty Steven Brault from Pittsburgh.

If the Yankees are looking to add a starter, I would make a call to Derek Jeter and try to re-acquire Caleb Smith. He has a decent 3 pitch repertoire and could fill in adequately in the rotation. If they include Francisco Cervelli, I’d work out a deal immediately, as the backup catcher spot needs an upgrade as well.

Matt Boyd of Detroit could be a backup option, although I think he is over rated, and do not like his affinity to giving up home runs. He does have a much improved slider this year. He has 2 more years left on his contract, so he could be a back end starter in 2021 and 2022.

If Cincinnati falls out of contention, I’d check in on Trevor Bauer.

The Yanks need pieces, and the league knows it. So the prices are going to be high,

Infield depth wise I may ask the Angels to expand the Bedrosian trade and include Tommy La Stella. This would add a lefty bat to my bench and insurance for DJ at second base.

Let’s not forget that Matt Duffy is technically still a Yankee, so they can also add him to the infield mix as well.

I know these are not exactly blockbuster deals, but with limited partners and added contenders, this is what I would address for the playoff push, and hope some of my regulars (Judge, Stanton, DJ, Torres) come back soon.

I’d also keep a very close eye on Aaron Hicks, as it is about time that he has his annual injury.

***

Mike Whiteman – Left-handed reliever Tony Watson of San Francisco has a lifetime 2.79 ERA in this tenth season. He’s been durable and good, and at age 35 on a last place team, as a free agent after the season, should be very available, and not cost too much.

Whit Merrifield would cost much more, and may not be actively shopped by Kansas City, but I think the Yanks should inquire about him. In 2019 he started games at first and second bases along with all three outfield positions while batting .302 and leading the AL in hits for the second consecutive season. In what is materializing into another “Next Man Up” season, he would be a handy guy to have around!

Mike Clevinger was brought up as an option by EJ Fagan on the most recent episode of the Bronx Beat podcast. Most know that he has run afoul of the Cleveland management and his teammates by violating COVID protocol. Is he “afoul enough” to be offered at a discount? He’s apologized, but would there be baggage that Yankee players would object to? A lot of things to consider, but he is a 29-year old pitcher with a career 141 ERA+.

We all know and are fond of Austin Romine’s history as a Yankee. This past winter, he left as a free agent, signing a one-year contract with Detroit, assuming because the Yanks didn’t want to invest that kind of money in a backup catcher. With the Tigers going nowhere this year, would they deal the soon again to be free agent to the Yanks for a low level prospect? Romine has continued his offensive renaissance with Detroit, batting over .300 thus far on the season. Romine gives the Yanks the flexibility to DH Gary Sanchez on occasion and not lose much offensively, good flexibility to have as Aaron Boone wrestles with lineups while injuries pop up everywhere.

***

Paul Semendinger – The Yankees need pitching. They need pitching badly. They need starting pitching this year, and next. Gerrit Cole was a start, he’s not the end. He is going to need help.

If the Cleveland Indians are selling, I go in big for Francisco Lindor and Mike Clevinger. I want Lindor because he’s great, he’s a switch hitter, and he’s durable. The Yankees need players like Lindor. They also need happy players and Lindor is called, “Mr. Smile.” Yes. Get him. Mike Clevinger is a top notch pitcher who is in the dog house. Bring him to New York. He’ll compliment Gerrit Cole very well.

The Mariners are in last place and going nowhere. Even in a season where everyone makes the playoffs, the Mariners won’t. Austin Nola is their catcher who can also play first base and second base. Versatile guys are good. The Yankees also need a viable back-up (and maybe alternative) to Gary Sanchez. Nola is 30-years-old. He’s not part of the Mariners’ future.

I want to find a good pitcher on a poor team to, at least, strengthen the back of the rotation. Danny Duffy (Kansas City) is an interesting possibility. Would the Phillies deal Jake Arrieta? Maybe in a few more days a few more teams will drop into the lowest parts of the standings and be sellers…

***

Ethan Semendinger – In the process of trying to generate more excitement for the 2020 playoffs by increasing the pool of teams from 10 to 16, the MLB has also taken away the excitement that comes with the Trading Deadline. With many more teams in contention for a back-end spot in the playoffs, that eliminates many potential sellers- often filled with players who won’t move the needle much- and increases potential buyers- increasing prices for players across the league. It was tough to find three moves that would be smart for the Yankees to make, but I think I found a good selection.

Trevor Bauer (SP) His numbers before his start last night against the Brewers (6.1 IP, 4 ER) were insanely good and completely unsustainable (0.68 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, etc.), but it shows a serious improvement from the other years in his career. The Cincinnati Reds have a very good team on both sides of the ball and were expected to do very well in 2020, but their 11-15 record does not reflect this so far. With Bauer becoming a free agent this off-season, the Reds may consider moving on from him as they continue to fall in the NL standings and a playoff spot (~39% according to 538 projections). He’d be my #1 starting pitcher to grab now. Let him learn NY this season and hopefully he’ll enjoy it enough to sign again next year.

Mike Clevinger (SP) – I think just about everyone else here agrees that getting Clevinger, especially if the Indians are looking to get rid of him, is a good idea. The Yankees need starting pitchers and the Indians desperately need some players who can actually hit the ball. There is a scenario out there where this can work perfectly, especially if the Yankees also were able to get Bauer from the Reds. They seem to have a strong friendship from their time in Cleveland together and a combination of those two would do wonders for the team. This would also negate any need to sign one of (or both) Tanaka, Paxton, and Happ, all of who come with their own concerns. Just imagine a 2021 rotation of:

Cole -> 2. Bauer -> 3. Clevinger -> 4. Severino -> 5. Montgomery -> 6. Schmidt

Joc Pederson (OF) – This is a completely unconventional (and seemingly unnecessary) player for the Yankees to go after. However, I personally think that the Yankees need to get more left-handed bats into the line-up, and Pederson provides a perfect profile to do so. The Yankees outfielders (Judge, Hicks, and Stanton) have proven to be injured at length every year, so having 3 solid players in the back (Pederson, Tauchman, and Frazier) may prove to be more than worthwhile. I’ve also wanted him for a while now too and I think his price tag is likely pretty low.

***

James Vlietstra – Realistically, most trade proposals are unrealistic and this year in particular minor league assets are impossible to put a value on. This will make teams less likely to trade some of their assets. In addition, the trade deadline is going to be impossible to predict because only 3-4 teams are out of playoff contention. Finally, I think teams will be hesitant to add players that may not be taking the pandemic as serious as they are.

I see promotions from within as a way to improve the Yankees. Clarke Schmidt and Deivi Garcia are going to be the big players the Yankees acquire. Domingo Acevedo might be a long-shot call-up who adds a big spark to the pitching staff.

***

Derek McAdam –

1. Josh Hader: The Yankees have been linked to Hader for well over a year now and should get him to bolster the bullpen. He’s got several years of team control and is the most dominant reliever in baseball. The Brewers might be looking to sell him for the right price.

2. Trevor Rosenthal: If the Yankees are not willing to go for a blockbuster deal, they can definitely go with a lesser known reliever to still be effective. After all, the Yankees did sign him to a minor league deal in late August of last season.

3. Ken Giles: He’s off to a terrible start in 2020, but has had some problems with injuries. This could be good news for the Yankees as he’s in the final year of his contract. They could get him for a cheap price and not have him stuck on the roster long-term if he did not work out.

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