Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Yankees Interested in Cueto & Leake?

It seems like the July 31st trade rumor mill begins earlier and earlier every season with the addition of the second Wild Card in each league. Every team almost is on the bubble and hovering between the contender and pretender slot while some teams, like the New York Yankees, are stockpiling talent hoping for a deep October run. Then you have the teams like the Cincinnati Reds who are not fooling themselves into thinking they have a shot this season and are open for business and ready to sell off some high priced talent in order to start a rebuild, that’s where RHP’s Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake come into the picture.

The Yankees recently sent scout Jeff Datz to Wrigley Field over the weekend to watch the Reds starting pitching duo on the mound as Yankees GM Brian Cashman begins compiling his shopping list and checking it twice. Both players will be a free agent at the end of the season meaning both players would be true rentals and likely expensive to acquire in terms of prospects. Cueto is 29 years old and could be an ace on most teams with a $15 million price tag while Leake figures to settle in more as a third or fourth starter with a $9.78 million price tag associated with his services.

Leake is 3-4 with a 4.35 ERA in 13 games in the National League making me lean towards the fourth starter mold while Cueto has posted a 4-4 record with a 2.85 ERA in 12 starts. Leake in his career is 56-46 with a 3.95 ERA while Cueto boasts an 89-61 record with a 3.24 ERA in his career. The Yankees have a ton of starting pitching options but it would still be nice to get greedy and add at least one of these starters. While Cueto would be nice and the ideal choice the acquisition of Brandon McCarthy in 2014 leaves me hopeful for a similar resurgence from Leake in 2015.

The Reds have reportedly scouted the Yankees system and have specifically watched Ramon Flores, Mason Williams and Bryan Mitchell along with the obvious choices of Luis Severino and Aaron Judge leaving some wiggle room for a potential trade. It seems unlikely that New York would trade either Severino or Judge for a rental but you never know, it’s Cashman and he’s unpredictable. You have to think New York would hold onto Severino and Judge rather than trading them away for rentals, especially when those rentals cannot fetch draft compensation after this season by declining a qualifying offer. Whether New York acquires Cueto, Leake, Cole Hamels or any other starting pitcher at the trade deadline remains to be seen but I just hope, as a fan, that the deal at least makes sense for both sides and doesn’t gut the farm system that I have grown so attached to over the past few seasons.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)