Yankees GM Brian Cashman's search for starting pitching is set to heat up over the next two and a half weeks.
The Red Sox made the first move ahead of the July 31 deadline, acquiring Orioles starter Andrew Cashner for two low-level prospects. A relatively quiet deal, the trade could be a foreshadowing of what is to come -- an arms race. This years crop of back-end options is shaping up to feature names like Mike Minor and Jason Vargas, while the high profile arm search has focused on Trevor Bauer, Zack Wheeler, Marcus Stroman and Madison Bumgarner.
Bumgarner, who turns 30 on August 1, has frequently been linked to the Yankees and Twins. According to Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic, one scenario the Giants have discussed regarding a potential Bumgarner deal is to acquire "players at roughly the same level as their top prospects at High A - catcher Joey Bart, outfielder Heliot Ramos, etc."
Rosenthal notes that Giants' President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi has been looking at "guys at the upper levels" as well as "prospects close to the majors." For New York, what would that mean?
Clint Frazier is an obvious example of a player who could fit San Francisco's needs if they target a player who is big league ready. The Giants have long sought outfield help, and Frazier would provide youth and a legit bat in a full-time role. The Yankees, however, have been reluctant to include him in any deal for a rental, according to SNY's Andy Martino.
If the Giants seek prospects in the lower levels of the minors, the Yankees would have a much more comfortable route in attempting a potential trade. Given that it's unlikely top prospects like Estevan Florial and Deivi Garcia are dealt for a soon-to-be free agent, Cashman could look deeper in the system.
23-year-old Albert Abreu could be attractive to San Francisco, a flamethrower who could reach the majors by next season. Perhaps it could be Luis Gil, a 21-year-old with a 2.38 ERA across 16 starts in Single-A Charleston.
Who exactly the Yankees want remains to be seen. They've scouted Bauer and have shown interest in Wheeler. Regardless, possibilities await for Cashman & Co, who have the chance to add much needed stability to an inconsistent Yankees rotation.