Yankees' Updated Trade Targets with 2021 MLB Deadline Approaching
It's been an up-and-down season for a New York Yankees squad that has battled injuries and middling production from a number of players to fall well short of expectations.
However, they are still above .500 and within striking distance of a postseason spot, and they rarely position themselves as sellers at the trade deadline.
There are three categories of player that would make sense as a deadline addition:
- Controllable starter
- Rental starter
- Center fielder
Ahead we've highlighted one player from each category who fits as a potential trade target while also mentioning a few alternatives.
Controllable Starter: RHP Jose Berrios, Minnesota Twins
The best move for the Yankees might be to target pitchers with multiple years of team control remaining, thus bolstering the starting rotation for 2021 and beyond.
But pitchers like that command a higher return price.
Minnesota Twins right-hander Jose Berrios fits the bill, with one more year of arbitration control remaining in 2022 before he reaches free agency, and he is having arguably the best season of his career with a 3.41 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 96 strikeouts in 89.2 innings.
The 27-year-old would slot nicely into the No. 2 starter role behind Gerrit Cole, and filling that spot would be one less thing the team has to do this offseason.
The Twins are out of the race in 2022, but they still have the talent to contend, so they will likely need to be wowed to part with their ace.
A package built around rising shortstop prospect Oswald Peraza could pique their interest, though it would also take some secondary pieces to get a deal done.
Other Controllable Starters: Matthew Boyd (DET), Michael Fulmer (DET), Kyle Gibson (TEX), Merrill Kelly (ARI), Pablo Lopez (MIA), German Marquez (COL)
Rental Starter: RHP Jon Gray, Colorado Rockies
The Yankees could decide the best move is to simply slap a two-month Band-Aid on to their starting rotation before seriously shopping for long-term upgrades in free agency and on the trade market during the offseason.
If that's the case, Colorado Rockies right-hander Jon Gray figures to be on their radar.
The No. 3 overall pick in 2013 has never quite lived up to his draft status, but he's pitched like a frontline starter at various points in his seven-year career, and he has a 3.97 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 60 strikeouts in 68 innings this year.
The 29-year-old has boosted his stock ahead of his first foray into free agency this winter, and he could temporarily bolster a rotation that will presumably be without Luis Severino or Corey Kluber for the foreseeable future.
The Rockies aren't contenders and should be motivated to flip Gray to the highest bidder ahead of the deadline, and it might not cost more than a few mid-level prospects to acquire him.
Other Rental Starters: Tyler Anderson (PIT), Danny Duffy (KC), Andrew Heaney (LAA), Michael Pineda (MIN), Jose Urena (DET)
Center Fielder: Starling Marte, Miami Marlins
The oft-injured Aaron Hicks has played only 32 games this season, hitting .194 with a 75 OPS+ before undergoing wrist surgery.
Veteran Brett Gardner has seen the bulk of the playing time in center field in his absence, but he too is struggling offensively with a .194/.305/.297 line and minus-0.2 WAR on the year.
His absence has also meant more playing time for the underperforming and defensively challenged duo of Clint Frazier and Miguel Andujar at a corner outfield spot.
Trading for Miami Marlins star Starling Marte would shore up center field and add a potent bat to the lineup. The 32-year-old is hitting .288/.396/.464 with 14 extra-base hits and 12 steals in 42 games, and he is playing out the final season of an eight-year, $53 million contract.
Miami general manager Kim Ng recently told reporters that the team has begun extension talks with Marte. But if they can't come to terms before the deadline, flipping the free-agent-to-be this summer could still be on the table.
Other Center Fielders: Delino DeShields (TEX), Michael A. Taylor (KC), Raimel Tapia (COL)
All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and accurate through Tuesday's games.