Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |
So Dallas Keuchel ended up in Atlanta instead of the Bronx. It's not the end of the (pitching) world for the Yankees.
If Brian Cashman decides his club needs rotation help, there ought to be plenty available as the MLB calendar flips from the amateur draft to the trading season.
How's this for choices? According to scouts and executives, the following pitchers are already on the market: Madison Bumgarner, Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman. Teams such as Kansas City and Seattle are putting out the word within the industry that they'll listen to offers on many of the players on their rosters, which could add potential inventory.
One executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there was still plenty of time for the standings to sort out before the July 31 deadline. More sellers could emerge as clubs plummet in division and wild card races. But that also could mean we might not see big action for weeks.
Still, it's fun to think about who the Yankees could add. And there's a lot going on with their starting pitchers.
Domingo German has been a revelation, but he's never throwing more innings than the 123.2 he tossed in 2017. He's already at 64, so he'll likely bump against innings limits. There are always health concerns for CC Sabathia. James Paxton is dealing with a knee issue.
They could get help from a Luis Severino return after the All-Star Break. Jonathan Loaisiga and Jordan Montgomery could return from injuries, too.
If going outside is how the Yankees plot their rotation fixes, here are some things to wonder about:
The beast with the big postseason rep: Giants' lefty Madison Bumgarner won both the NLCS and World Series MVPs in 2014 and has a 2.11 ERA in 16 career postseason outings. Some fans believe he's the key to a deep Yankee run this October. He's a free agent after the season and turns 30 in August, but he only made 34 starts from 2017-18 because of injuries. This season, he's 3-5 with a 4.05 ERA in 13 starts and his average fastball velocity is actually up to 92.1 miles per hour, according to FanGraphs. The previous three seasons is was 91.7, 91.3 and 91.4.
"Is he the same pitcher he was? No," said the executive. "But his fastball velocity has come back. If you're looking at someone for a stretch run - it's his free agent year. If he's got a nick here or a strain here, he's going to pitch through it. You don't worry about that. He checks a lot of boxes. Any club, I think, that'd be a guy to acquire…I know the acquisition price is high right now."
The local guy: Getting Long Island native Marcus Stroman would be a deal for 2020, as well as 2019. He's under control beyond this season and eligible for arbitration. The 28-year-old righty is 3-7 with a 2.84 ERA in 13 starts and has always been expert at getting ground balls - he has a 59.8% career ground-ball rate. The executive wonders if he's really a lock to be traded and if the rest of baseball agrees with the Blue Jays' regard of Stroman.
"The price is high on him, too," the executive said. "Inconsistency is one of the warts on him. If you really like him, you think No. 2 starter and that's what he was. He has enough stuff to fall into that category."<
The ex-ERA champ: Aaron Sanchez, a 26-year-old righty, won the 2016 AL ERA title and is 3-6 in 13 starts this season with a 3.95 ERA. "Always liked him," remarked one scout. He only made 28 starts combined in the previous two seasons and left a May 27 outing because of a nail issue, but made his next start.
Cleveland stars: The Indians are 10.5 games behind the Twins in the AL Central, but only two games out in the wild card race, so their fortunes bear watching for potential impact on trades. If they fall out of it, perhaps RHP Trevor Bauer (3.93 ERA) and RHP Corey Kluber (5.80 ERA) become available. While neither is soaring right now, Kluber is a two-time Cy Young Award winner and Bauer had a tremendous 2018.
The executive notes that Cleveland's front office is "good at reassessing and not being emotional." Maybe that means those pitchers are available if the Indians fade.
Fantasy baseball: OK, this is not going to happen. But, man, is it juicy. What if the Nationals decided to start over and made Max Scherzer available? (He isn't right now). Mad Max in pinstripes could be legendary. Of course, the Yankees didn't sign him when he was a free agent and he's probably been the best pitcher in the game since. Could our executive offer any hope? "I can't imagine that happening," he said. "I find the idea hard to believe." Oh, well.
Other names to watch: Seattle's Mike Leake could offer an innings-eater type. The danger for the Yanks is that he's prone to allowing homers, a no-no in the short-porch Bronx…Mariners lefty Marco Gonzalez profiles as a depth addition…Would the Tigers deal 28-year-old slider master Matthew Boyd (3.01 ERA, 97 strikeouts in 77.2 innings)?
A word or two about cost: Folks in the game say the Yankees have the kind of young players to make a trade happen. One opposing scout speculates Clint Frazier's showing on offense this year "could get them a pitcher."…Infielder Thairo Estrada emerged in his 25-game MLB stint, too, batting .280 with an .841 OPS. "I love that kid," the scout said. "Had him as a top prospect for years. Solid all around, athletic, toolsy." Estrada, the scout added, could be an effective everyday player…Center fielder Estevan Florial played this week for the first time this season and homered in his return. He suffered a fractured right wrist in Spring Training.