Friday, January 26, 2018

Turning My Attention To The Trade Deadline

Remain calm! All is well!

It's been said that the Yankees will want to leave about $10 million available for possible mid-season acquisitions, which tells me two things...

1. The team would be willing to spend around $12 million before Opening Day.

2. They have their eyes on somebody that may cost up to $10 million if he were acquired at mid-season. Which means that, due to the fact that the acquiring team would only pay said player's pro-rated salary, the player to deal for currently makes about $20 million a season.

As for the first point... the Yankees are not going to spend on a pitcher.

Yu Darvish is not going to sign for less than $20 million, especially since I believe there are a handful of teams that are willing to go significantly higher than that (at this point I think it's the years that are holding things up, not so much the money).

As for other top of the rotation free agent starters, Jake Arrieta is unlikely to come cheap as I'm sure all the teams that don't get Darvish will offer Jake $20+ million a season to come their way. Alex Cobb would also be a nice get, but he will likely be offered a contract paying him just under $20 million a season... or just a bit too rich for the Yankees.

Furthermore, the Yankees are not going to sign a pitcher that would accept a deal worth just $12 million a season.

For proof, look at things one year ago. Back then the Miami Marlins signed Edinson Volquez to a two-year deal that paid him $11 million a season. That was after Volquez threw to a 5.37 ERA. Also, during the last offseason, the Atlanta Braves signed Bartolo Colon to a one-year deal that paid him $12.5 million, and that was after Bartolo's age 43 season. Volquez looked like someone the Marlins could count on to throw 190-200 innings (sadly, that didn't quite happen), while Colon could also throw around 190 innings with solid production (that also did not happen).

However, the Yankees already have enough starters to fill innings, so they don't have to sign an "Edinson Volquez" or "Bartolo Colon". Should anyone currently seen as a starter go down they have Luis Cessa and Domingo German that are already on the 40-man roster, or Chance Adams is ready for the call. Would you feel better about someone like Edinson Volquez starting instead of Cessa, German, or Adams?

Taking things further, I don't believe the Yankees will use that $12 million to sign someone to play third or second base, either. There's nobody out there that should get Cashman and Company excited enough to hold back Miguel Andujar or Gleyber Torres, or avoid playing the Tylers or Torreyes. I seriously think they will give Andujar the third base job on Opening Day, and fill second base with one of Tyler Wade or Ronald Torreyes until Gleyber Torres is promoted to the big leagues after a month or two in AAA.

Sure, I've talked about Todd Frazier returning to the Yankees, but I'm at a point in which I think "why?" Todd could give the team league-average production, and I see no reason why Andujar couldn't at least do the same. The key part of that being "at least". The Yankees aren't the only ones that are very high on Miguel, therefore I see no way they let an average player stop them from finding out just what Andujar can do for them.

"Thanks, bro!"

So onto the second point...

The Yankees may not spend the entire $10 million they set aside on a pitcher. Greg Bird could get hurt... again, making them want a first baseman. Gleyber Torres may aggravate his elbow and not be there to help the team out this season, making them want a second baseman. I could go on and on with possible position player needs. The point is that the team may want to make more than one move at mid-season, which makes holding onto that other $12 million a smart move.

With that said I will talk about infield targets later should the need arise, but since the Yankees seem keen on a starter at some point, how about we look at possible mid-season targets?

EDIT: I don't mean to step on Daniel's toes, who has brought up Trade Deadline targets. I just wanted to add a few ideas is all.

Jeff Samardzija
The Yankees have been connected to Samardzija many times over the years, so it's not "out there" to guess he would be on their radar yet again. Jeff signed a contract with the San Francisco Giants for five years at $90 million, making his pro-rated salary at the mid-point of the season a shade under $10 million. Personally, I'm not a big fan of Samardzija. I mean, he's not a bad pitcher, but if the Yankees have to depend on him to start a game in a postseason series, we're in a tough spot.

Scott Kazmir
Kazmir missed all of 2017 due to injury, but he's in the last season of a three-year deal that pays him $16 million a season, and I'm sure the Braves will look to get something for him before he becomes a free agent. He was a good to very good starter for the Oakland A's in 2014 and 2015, and before he was dealt to the Braves he was okay for the Dodgers last season. If he has a good first half of 2018 then we're likely to hear his name quite a bit in trade rumors.

Danny Duffy
I talked about Duffy earlier this offseason as somebody the Yankees could acquire now. Danny just signed a five year contract worth $65 million, which is a bargain for somebody as good as Duffy is. There should be no question about Duffy's effectiveness, as can be seen by his career ERA of 3.73. The question here is in regards to his durability. 2017 was his first season as a starter only, having been a starter and reliever the previous three years, but he did go on the disabled list twice for an oblique strain and elbow impingement in his pitching elbow. I don't anticipate the Royals selling somebody under control for three more years at below-market money, but if they will listen Brian Cashman should be calling.

Wei-Yin Chen
Let's get this out of the way... Chen was diagnosed with a partial UCL tear last year, which in many cases leads to Tommy John surgery. However, his doctor said he'd only need a PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) injection, and would be ready by Spring Training. If he is healthy by mid-season there's no doubt he will be talked about in trade rumors as he currently plays for the Miami Marlins, who seem to be shedding payroll as much as possible, and would certainly want to avoid Chen picking up his player options for $42 million over the 2019 and 2020 seasons. By the way, when he's healthy, Chen can be a good to very good pitcher, as seen by his career ERA of 3.90. And while those last couple of years would be a little expensive (there is a vesting option for 2021 based on health, too), his deal being worth $16 million a season puts him under that $10 million mark at mid-season.

In order to trade for a top starter mid-season it's not going to be cheap, especially since the Yankees are probably not going to be the only team looking. Which is why I think Cashman decided weeks ago to keep trade bullets like Clint Frazier. I've said it dozens of times before, and I'll say it again... prospects like Frazier are to be dealt for a team's need, not a team's want. And the fact is the Yankees don't need a starter right now. But since that may change by mid-season, it's imperative to hold onto as many trade bullets as Cashman can.

We have to get it out of our heads that a lack of news is a bad thing. I see so many fans clamoring for a trade, or to sign Darvish, and it's not necessary. If we acquired Giancarlo Stanton last month I'm sure nobody would mind going into Opening Day as is. But the lack of moves/news has people going insane. And the last thing the Yankees, who are World Series contenders, need to do is something insane.

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