5 Starters New York Yankees Should Target to Fix Rotation
The New York Yankees rotation isn't in good shape thanks to injuries to Ivan Nova, CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda, but there could be help on the way come the trading deadline.
The Bronx Bombers are notorious for making moves midseason to improve their chances at reaching the postseason. Hal Steinbrenner has already alluded to the fact his team will be active yet again at the deadline, via Ken Davidoff of the New York Post:
"[We’re] always willing to look at options come July. Come the trade deadline," he said.
Now that we know the Yankees will look at rotation options, it's worth examining which arms are attainable. Identifying teams that will likely sell or teams that have a glaring need is key when assembling trade packages to bring in new talent.
There are five arms in particular that should interest Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. These five arms will help make quality outings much more common in the Bronx.
1. Jason Hammel, RHP, Chicago Cubs
Jason Hammel is a well-traveled veteran who has found success with the Chicago Cubs during the first few months of the 2014 campaign.
Given the nature of the Cubs organization, that could prompt a trade.
Ken Davidoff of the New York Post pointed out on May 20 that Hammel is someone who could certainly help the Yankees:
Hammel, with a lesser pedigree and a shorter contract [than Jeff Samardzija] — he’s making $6 million this season — should cost less. He now owns a 2.91 ERA in nine starts totaling 58 ²/₃ innings, and he pitched most recently for the Orioles (2012-13) and started his career with the Rays (2006-08). Based on what the Yankees witnessed Tuesday, Hammel can help them.
Davidoff's post came shortly after Hammel outdueled Masahiro Tanaka—who was still undefeated—in a 6-1 Cubs win over the Yankees.
Hammel would presumably have about $3 million left on his contract by the trade deadline. The Yankees could offer to pay the entirety of his salary while also chipping in a prospect that would entice Chicago.
While far from an ace, Hammel would do well as the team's No. 4. With Tanaka, Hiroki Kuroda and CC Sabathia headlining the rotation, adding Hammel would make their staff much deeper.
2. Jeff Samardzija, RHP, Chicago Cubs
Jason Hammel's teammate, Jeff Samardzija, has been linked to rumors for quite some time now. That's what happens when you're a good pitcher on the disappointing Cubs.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports listed the Yankees as the No. 1 destination for Samardzija back on May 21:
They no doubt have the need, and now they are said to have the ammunition. Dellin Betances, who's dominating as a set-up man, isn't one the Yankees would presumably want to deal, but Manny Banuelos is back healthy and a nice new stash of hopefuls includes Luis Severino, Abi Avelino plus the usual strong catching selections and three No. 1s from last year with potential -- pitcher Ian Clarkin, slugger Aaron Judge and third baseman Eric Jagielo.
Chicago's offense has failed its ace on far too many occasions this season. The Yankees would presumably provide him with more opportunities to rack up victories, but even their offense has proven to be stagnant at times this season.
Samardzija's impact on the rotation would be enough to potentially change the outlook of the American League East. That is, of course, if the Yankees aren't completely out of it by the deadline.
He would line up nicely behind Masahiro Tanaka both this season and in the future.
3. Justin Masterson, RHP, Cleveland Indians
Masterson hasn't been great in 2014, but that should help the Yankees to pry him away from Cleveland for cheap. Brendan Kuty of NJ.com thinks a deal between the two clubs is possible:
Hasn't pitched great this season, having lost some of his fastball heat. That's hurting his stock. With Masterson about to become a free agent in 2014, the Yankees might actually have the talent to pry him from the Indians, who might just want to get something before losing him for good.
With poor peripherals and an expiring contract, Masterson shouldn't cost all that much. I'd say one prospect that is nearly MLB-ready should be enough to entice the Indians.
Masterson has always been an inconsistent pitcher, even during his better seasons. Walks have plagued him at times, as have stretches of appearing extremely hittable.
That said, he's a clear upgrade over Chase Whitley and Vidal Nuno, and possibly even David Phelps.
4. Kyle Kendrick, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies
Kyle Kendrick's win-loss record as of June 9 of 1-6 doesn't look great, but that's a result of a couple of games in which his offense let him down.
His 4.30 ERA isn't bad for someone expected to pitch like a guy at the back of a big-league rotation. His WHIP of 1.381 is also expected, as his career mark is 1.369. He has always pitched to contact, and his season-ERA is right on par with his career-ERA of 4.37.
In the last year of his contract, Kendrick should be expendable. The Philadelphia Phillies are going nowhere fast. The team is aging and the inconsistencies in both the lineup and staff are undeniable.
Getting something for Kendrick before he inevitably moves on would be smart. While he wouldn't net a huge bounty, Kendrick is worth a mid-level prospect as well as some cash.
Kendrick is a guy who can act as the No. 5 starter and long reliever for the Yankees.
5. Bronson Arroyo, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
The Yankees were interested in Bronson Arroyo at the Winter Meetings, but the Arizona Diamondbacks ultimately inked him to a two-year deal. Given how bad the D'Backs are, though, they could look to deal off their veterans to rebuild.
That's what Brendan Kuty of NJ.com thinks, anyway:
The Diamondbacks' 37-year-old righty has pitched well in the first year of a two-year, $23.5-million deal. So far, Arroyo's put up a respectable 4.15 ERA in 47.2 innings. But Arizona is terrible and might look to jettison the new guy at first chance. The Yankees had reportedly discussed signing Arroyo - no stranger to big lights, having played in Boston early in his career - in the offseason.
Arroyo would be a fabulous acquisition. Sure, he's hittable. But he consistently gives his teams 200 innings and knows how to work deep into ball games. I don't need to see quality starts from him, but I'll be more than content with seven innings and four runs allowed every fifth day.
The right-hander might cost more than everyone on this list not named Jeff Samardzija, however. He's under contract for 2015 as well, so that immediately makes the return the D'Backs will ask for larger.
Even still, he's worth the price if it isn't ridiculous.