2017 Trade Deadline Open Thread: Saturday

(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty)
(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty)

As of this writing, we are 54 hours away from the 2017 non-waiver trade deadline. The Yankees have already made one big trade that is paying immediate dividends. They’ve won seven of nine games since acquiring David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, and Todd Frazier from the White Sox. The two bullpen arms in particular have been a big help. The Yankees still need a starter though. Big time.

Yesterday we learned Sonny Gray talks with the Athletics are at an impasse because the A’s keep demanding either Gleyber Torres or Clint Frazier. The Yankees insist those guys will not be traded. They could turn their attention to Cardinals rental righty Lance Lynn instead. We’re again going to keep track of the days Yankees-related rumors right here, so many sure you check back for updates. All timestamps are ET.

  • 3:30pm: Torres and Frazier are not the sticking point in Gray talks. The Yankees said no to those two, the A’s moved on to other prospects, and now the clubs are trying to find common ground. [Jerry Crasnick]
  • 1:32pm: Hal Steinbrenner said the Yankees are looking for a starter and acknowledged they will take on money to facilitate a trade. Prospect cost is a biggest obstacle. [Hal Steinbrenner]
  • 11:31am: The Yankees continue to balk at the asking price for Sonny Gray, and if the price doesn’t drop, they’re prepared to move in a different direction. We’re going to hear lots of posturing like this from both sides over the next two days. [Jerry Crasnick]
  • 10:00am: The Giants are receiving trade interest in Jeff Samardzija and the Yankees are one of eight teams he can be traded to without his consent. There’s been speculation about a Jacoby Ellsbury for Samardzija bad contract for bad contract swap, but I can’t see that happening. The Giants could probably get prospects from another team. Pitching is in demand. [Andrew Baggarly]

Reminder: Your trade proposal sucks.

2017 Trade Deadline Open Thread: Friday

(Rich Schultz/Getty)
(Rich Schultz/Getty)

The 2017 non-waiver trade deadline is 4pm ET next Monday, and already the Yankees have made one significant trade. They acquired Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle from the White Sox for three prospects (and Tyler Clippard) a week and a half ago. That one has paid dividends already. The Yankees have made two smaller trades (Tyler Webb for Garrett Cooper, Rob Refsnyder for Ryan McBroom) as well.

At the moment the Yankees are a half-game back in the AL East and 2.5 games up on a wildcard spot, so they’re very much in the race. Adding is the way to go. The White Sox trade answered any “buyer or seller?” questions. A starting pitcher is the obvious priority following Michael Pineda‘s injury, though another bat and a lefty reliever shouldn’t be ruled out either. We’re going to keep track of all the day’s Yankees-related rumors right here, so keep coming back for updates. All timestamps are ET.

  • 3:44pm: The Yankees had a scout (Brandon Duckworth!) on hand to watch Yu Darvish’s most recent outing, so if nothing else, they’re doing their due diligence. Darvish got hammered by the Marlins on Wednesday night (3.2 IP, 9 H, 10 R, 10 ER, 2 BB, 5 ). [George King]
  • 3:42pm: The Yankees have interest in Lance Lynn and the Cardinals have been scouting New York’s farm system. Lynn is a pure rental. Here’s my Scouting The Market post. [Derrick Goold]
  • 1:41pm: During talks with the Mets about Lucas Duda, the Yankees offered a similar relief prospect to Drew Smith, who the Mets acquired from the Rays in the trade yesterday. I wonder if that means Ben Heller or Jonathan Holder? Either way, since the Yankees were only offering a similar prospect, the Mets opted not to send Duda across town. [Sherman]
  • 12:00pm: Talks with the Athletics about Sonny Gray at an impasse because they’re asking for either Clint Frazier or Gleyber Torres, and the Yankees won’t include them in any deal. Oakland also likes Jorge Mateo, James Kaprielian, and Estevan Florial. Despite the impasse, the Yankees are still believed to be in the lead for Gray because they’re offering the strongest package. [Jon Heyman, Bob Klapisch]
  • 12:00pm: The Yankees are among the teams in the mix for Tigers lefty Justin Wilson. Tons of teams are after the former Yankee. I’d be surprised if the Yankees go all out to win a bidding war for Wilson after adding Robertson and Kahnle. [Anthony Fenech]
  • 12:00pm: The Yankees remain engaged with the Braves about first baseman Matt Adams, though a starting pitcher remains their priority. Atlanta is playing Freddie Freeman at third base in deference to Adams, which is crazy, but it’s not my problem. [Joel Sherman]
  • 12:00pm: There have been no recent talks with the Cubs about Bryan Mitchell. Chicago has liked him in the past and the Yankees are trying to clear up the back of their 40-man roster, though the two clubs haven’t touched base. [Sherman]

Reminder: Your trade proposal sucks.

The Yankees reportedly checked in on Giancarlo Stanton and it’s not as crazy as you may think

(Mike Ehrmann/Getty)
(Mike Ehrmann/Getty)

According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees have checked in with the Marlins about slugger Giancarlo Stanton. The two sides aren’t close to a deal and it’s unclear how serious the Yankees are about a potential trade. This could have been a due diligence thing. That said, the Marlins are selling and the team itself is in the process of being sold, so it stands to reason everyone is available. It never hurts to listen, right? Right.

Stanton, 27, is hitting .271/.356/.578 (137 wRC+) with 30 home runs this season, most among all non-Aaron Judge hitters in the big leagues. He’s right smack in the prime of his career and he’s averaged 45 home runs per 162 games since Opening Day 2014. The guy is a monster. He’s also owed $295M from 2018-27. Goodness. The contract includes an opt-out after 2020, though Stanton would be leaving $218M on the table by walking away. Opting out is far from a guarantee, even if he continues to stay healthy and play well.

There’s a few interesting angles to the reported Stanton interest. For starters, the Yankees seem to be pretty well set on the outfield corners going forward with Judge and Clint Frazier. They’re definitely set in right field. We know that much. The jury is still out on Frazier, as impressive as he’s been early in his MLB career. I suppose there’s also the designated hitter spot, though tying that up with a big money player signed long-term isn’t a great idea (See: Rodriguez, Alex).

Secondly, Stanton’s contract would hurt the team’s chances to get under the luxury tax threshold next season. The original 13-year, $325M contract came with a $25M average annual value and luxury tax hit. That’s not the luxury tax hit the Yankees would assume, however. They’d take on a luxury tax hit closer to $30M once you adjust for the timing of the trade, assuming they didn’t change the calculation in the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement.

And third, the Yankees would have to give up some pretty damn good prospects to get Stanton. The Marlins are not going to take okay-ish prospects in a straight salary dump. It would be shameful. MLB should just fold the franchise if that happens. If the Marlins are going to trade Stanton, literally the greatest player in franchise history and someone who is still in the prime of his career, they’re going to do it because they get blown away with an offer.

My guess is the Yankees checked in because they check in on everyone, and hey, there’s always a chance the Marlins offer Stanton on favorable terms. You’ve got to ask to find out. That all said, what about looking at this through the Bryce Harper lens? Harper, another prime-aged superstar, will be a free agent after next season and the Yankees are expected to be very involved. Players that good and that young are hard to find. You go all-out to get them.

Harper is going to smash contract records and will almost certainly be the first $40M per season player in baseball history. He might get a $500M contract. It’s very possible. Compared to Harper’s upcoming contract, taking on Stanton at $295M from 2018-27 could be a downright bargain. Harper is the better player, but is he $10M+ per year better? Peak Harper and peak Stanton might not be so different, and peak Stanton is available right now (in theory).

I don’t think the Yankees have serious interest in Stanton right now. I think they made the call because they make every call. They wouldn’t be doing their job if they didn’t. Ultimately, I think the luxury tax plan and keeping the top prospects is too important to swing a Stanton trade right now. Harper will cost a ton of money, but it is just money, and the Yankees have plenty of it. They could wait a year to sign Harper for nothing but cash whereas Stanton costs money and prospects.

Scouting The Trade Market: Lance Lynn

(Justin K. Aller/Getty)
(Justin K. Aller/Getty)

The 2017 non-waiver trade deadline is exactly one week away, and already the Yankees have swung a pretty significant seven-player trade with the White Sox that, more than anything, added high-end depth to the bullpen. I know Todd Frazier is the biggest name, but that trade was about Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson. Adding those two has already paid dividends.

With the bullpen addressed, the single biggest item left on the shopping list is a starting pitcher. Michael Pineda is done for the season and Bryan Mitchell, Luis Cessa, and Caleb Smith have combined to start three of the last seven games. No one wants that to continue. Getting another starter is a top priority. You don’t make that trade with the ChiSox only to skimp on the rotation.

One rental starter who could possibly be available prior to the trade deadline is Cardinals righty Lance Lynn. St. Louis isn’t have a great season overall (47-51), though they’re only 4.5 games back in the NL Central, and I don’t think it’s in their DNA to throw in the towel and sell. Lynn being available is far from certain. It’ll probably take a bad week this week. Let’s see whether Lynn is the fit for the Yankees in case the Cardinals do decide trade him away.

Current Stuff

So far this season the 30-year-old Lynn has a 3.30 ERA (4.97 FIP) in 20 starts and 114.2 innings. His strikeout (21.5%) and walk (8.3%) rates are about average, though Lynn has always been fly ball prone (42.9% grounders), and these days that means lots of homers (1.65 HR/9). He’s either going to have to start keeping the ball in the park or continue stranding runners at an above-average 82.4% clip, otherwise that ERA is going up.

As a starter Lynn has always been Bartolo Colon-esque in that he lives and dies with his fastball. So far this season 92.2% of his pitches have been some type of fastball. Either a four-seamer, sinker, or cutter. Here is his pitch selection since moving into the rotation full-time in 2012, via Brooks Baseball:

lance-lynn-pitch-selection

So many fastballs. Sooo many fastballs. And hey, that’s fine. Throwing that many fastballs can work. It has for Lynn for years. He has good velocity (low-90s and touches 96), he can locate, and he mixes in enough changeups and curveballs to keep hitters honest.

Also, keep in mind Lynn is not throwing one fastball over and over. It’s three different fastballs. A straight four-seamer, a sinker, and a cutter. One stays true, one dives down, and another cuts in. Hitters see a lot of fastballs, though they don’t know which direction they’re heading. It’s not like Lynn is throwing four-seamer after four-seamer, you know?

Here’s a pretty good example of how Lynn uses those three different fastballs. The hitters do not look comfortable because those heaters are moving in all different directions.

Lynn missed the entire 2016 season with Tommy John surgery and he’s come back this year showing basically the same stuff. His velocity is down about half-a-mile an hour from 2015, though it’s not uncommon for a pitcher his age to loss a little something off their fastball over a two-year span, elbow reconstruction or otherwise. Lynn’s stuff is fine. He’s unconventional because he throws so many fastballs, but it works.

Injury History

Like I said, Lynn missed last season with Tommy John surgery. He also missed two months with an oblique strain way back in 2011, which is no big deal. Lynn averaged 189 innings a year from 2012-15 and maxed out at 203.2 innings in 2014, so before his elbow gave out, he was a workhorse. Acquiring a pitcher so soon after Tommy John surgery is inherently risky. There’s no reason to believe Lynn is riskier than any other pitcher in his first full year back from elbow reconstruction.

What Would It Take?

The Cardinals bought out Lynn’s arbitration years with a three-year extension worth $22M back in January 2015. This is the final guaranteed year on the contract — he’s making $7.5M this season — and Lynn will be a free agent after the season. He’s a rental.

I do think the Cardinals would make Lynn the qualifying offer after the season. Getting him back on an expensive one-year deal isn’t the worst thing in the world, and besides, Lynn would probably decline it. He could secure more total dollars on a multi-year deal, though the point is the Cardinals are in position to demand a greater return than the draft pick they’d receive after the season.

Last week I ran through other recent rental starter trades, and based on the benchmarks, the Cardinals shouldn’t have any trouble getting two good prospects for Lynn. Not top prospects like Gleyber Torres or Clint Frazier, but good prospects. Someone from the Tyler Wade/Chance Adams/Dillon Tate pool. That doesn’t seem unreasonable to me. Guys like Lynn don’t come that cheap.

Does He Make Sense?

Aside from Yu Darvish, Lynn is probably the best rental available at the trade deadline, assuming he is actually made available at some point. The Cardinals could rip off a bunch of wins this week and decide to keep Lynn and go for it. That’s probably what they’d prefer to do. Also, keep in mind the Cardinals traded lefty Marco Gonzales last week, so they’re down one layer of rotation depth. They might not want to trade even more pitching.

Two things to consider here. One, the Yankees probably really like Lynn’s postseason experience and the fact he was part of the World Series winning team with the Cardinals in 2011. And two, the Yankees don’t rely on the fastball, as Tom Verducci recently wrote. Would they acquire a pitcher who lives and dies with his heater when their team philosophy is to pitch backwards? Perhaps the different look wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Anyway, yes, Lynn makes sense for the Yankees because they have a rotation opening and he’s better than the Mitchells and Cessas and Smiths of the world. They have plenty of prospects to trade, so it’s not like the trade would cripple their farm system. The biggest issue here is outside the Yankees’ control: will the Cardinals sell? I don’t think they want too, and they can justify keeping Lynn given their place in the standings.

Trade Deadline Rumors: Darvish, Gray, First Base, Betances

Darvish. (Tom Pennington/Getty)
Darvish. (Tom Pennington/Getty)

The July 31st non-waiver trade deadline is only nine days away now, and already the Yankees have made their most significant midseason trade in several years. Since … the Bobby Abreu deal? Nothing else comes to mind. Anyway, here are the latest rumors and rumblings.

Rangers gauging interest in Darvish

According to Jeff Passan, the Rangers have started reaching out to teams to gauge interest in staff ace Yu Darvish. Texas is slipping in the standings and out of the postseason race, so with Darvish set to become a free agent after the season, it only makes sense to see what teams will offer. Jerry Crasnick says the Rangers plan to wait as long as possible before making a trade. They want to see whether they can climb back into the race first.

The Yankees are said to be in the market for a starter and Darvish would be, by frickin’ far, the best available pitcher should the Rangers decide to actually trade him. The rental part is the problem. There’s no doubt Darvish would make the Yankees (or any other team) better. I don’t think the Yankees are willing to trade their top prospects — it’ll no doubt take at least one great prospect to nab Darvish — for a rental. The Yankees want to improve their postseason chances this season. The long-term plan still dominates their activity though.

A’s have named their price for Gray

The Athletics have told the Yankees their price for right-hander Sonny Gray, reports Jon Heyman. There’s no word on what that price is, but they’ve named it. The two sides are not close to a deal. Not coincidentally, Matt Kardos says the A’s had director of player personnel Billy Owens scouting Double-A Trenton on Thursday night. Jorge Mateo was in the lineup that night and Domingo Acevedo was on the mound. Hmmm.

“We’re going to stay engaged (with the A’s),” said Brian Cashman to Ethan Sears. Darvish is a better pitcher than Gray on a per-inning basis, though Darvish being a rental and Gray being under team control through 2019 is a huge difference. I think the Yankees would be more willing to trade prospects for the guy they can keep another two seasons, and I don’t think that’s unreasonable at all. That said, I don’t expect the Yankees to budge on their plan to keep their best close-to-MLB prospects. If a Gray deal gets done, it’ll be without those guys.

Yankees still open to adding a first baseman

Although Todd Frazier is now a Yankees, they remain open to adding a first baseman, reports Mark Feinsand. They are content to move forward with a Chase Headley/Garrett Cooper platoon at first base (that is one hell of a sentence), though if an opportunity to acquire an upgrade presents itself, they’ll pounce. Rentals Yonder Alonso and Lucas Duda are the big first base names out there.

Basically no team in baseball needs a first baseman right now, so the Yankees are in position to sit back, wait for the prices to drop as the deadline approaches, then make a move if something makes sense. More than anything, this is a pretty good indication the Yankees have reached their limit with Headley, who can still get on base a bit, but otherwise doesn’t offer enough offensively. He might end up spending the final year of his contract elsewhere next season, even if the Yankees have to pay a chunk of his salary.

(Mark Brown/Getty)
(Mark Brown/Getty)

Cashman says Betances is staying put

Even before the Yankees acquired David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle, there was speculation the club could move Dellin Betances at the trade deadline similar to the Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman trades. Then once Robertson and Kahnle were brought on board, the speculation only increased. Now the Yankees have replacement setup men. Cashman shot all that down though. Here’s what he told MLB Network Radio this week (audio link):

“I have no intention of moving Dellin Betances. He’s a four-time All-Star and he’s a homegrown local guy. He’s as much a part of the solution of where we’re going. I’ve heard the rumblings and speculation out there. I don’t like to really address speculation, but I can tell you that Dellin Betances is not going anywhere.”

Never say never, right? Cashman says he has no intention of moving Betances … until someone puts a juicy offer in front of him. He’ll listen to trade offers for Betances the same way he listens to trade offers for everyone. I truly believe the goal behind the Robertson and Kahnle trade was adding them to Betances in the bullpen, not using them to replace Betances. They want a monster bullpen and, on paper, they have it.

Yankees were in the mix for Garcia

Before the whole non-trade saga with the Twins, the Yankees were pursuing Braves left-hander Jaime Garcia, reports Heyman. No idea if they’re still pursuing him. Here’s my Scouting The Market post. Garcia is boring and unspectacular, though he’s better than Bryan Mitchell and Luis Cessa, and the Yankees presumably could acquire him on the cheap. His injury history and the fact he’s a rental drives the price down.

Right now, my hunch is the Yankees are not going to make a significant trade for a starting pitcher like Gray. I think they’ll target rentals for the time being, just to get them through the season. They’re going to look for 2014 Brandon McCarthy in 2017, basically. That would be the optimal outcome. I can’t imagine the Yankees are done. You don’t go out and make that trade with the White Sox, then call it a day. The need in the rotation is too great to not get something done.

Revisiting the MLBTR Archives: July 2012

(Otto Greule Jr/Getty)
(Otto Greule Jr/Getty)

The calendar has turned over to July and it’s time once again to revisit the MLB Trade Rumors archives. Better late than never this month, right? Right. We’re now into July 2012 and, as always, July was chock full of trade rumors. The Yankees went into July 2012 with a 47-30 record and a five-game lead in the AL East. Going 20-7 in June got them there.

The record was shiny, but the Yankees were dealing with several significant injuries in July 2012. Brett Gardner (elbow) had been out since April and would miss basically the rest of the season. Both CC Sabathia (groin) and the un-retired Andy Pettitte (leg) were on the shelf as well. Pitching depth and another bat, preferably someone to get Raul Ibanez out of left field, were atop the shopping list. Time to dig into the archives.

July 1st, 2012: Yankees Acquire Chad Qualls

3:38 pm: The Yankees announced they have acquired reliever Chad Qualls from the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash considerations. 

Chad Qualls, the forgotten Yankee. He spent just a month in pinstripes, during which he allowed five runs and 13 baserunners in 7.1 innings. The Yankees were the sixth team Qualls had played for up to that point. Now he’s up to nine teams. The guy has spent 14 years in the league and is 40th all-time in appearances. Who knew?

July 2nd, 2012: Yankees Sign Luis Torrens

The Yankees have signed Venezuelan catcher Luis Torrens for $1.3MM, writes Ben Badler of Baseball America.  Torrens is ranked as the second-best international prospect in this July 2nd class.

That was the first year with the international bonus pools and Torrens was the team’s big signing. He wound up playing only 161 games in the farm system from 2013-16 due to injuries before the Padres popped him in the Rule 5 draft. Torrens, who turned 21 this May, is hitting .188/.261/.225 (32 wRC+) in a whopping 89 plate appearances this year. How is this good for his development, especially after all those injuries? I have no idea. It’s pretty obvious at this point San Diego is going to keep Torrens all year though. Such is life when a team has no concern for wins and losses.

July 4th, 2012: Yanks Have “No Intention Of Joining” Hamels Bidding

The Yankees are currently in wait-and-see mode despite injuries to both CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte, though they could make a move for a starter before the trade deadline. ESPN’s Buster Olney reports (on Twitter) that the team has “no intention of joining” the bidding for Cole Hamels unless the asking price diminishes dramatically, however.

Hamels was due to become a free agent after that season and he had been mentioned as a trade candidate for weeks. The Phillies were struggling — they were 36-44 on the morning of July 1st that year — and keeping the 28-year-old ace-like version of Hamels was far from certain. Me and I’m pretty sure every Yankees fan wanted him, even as a rental. Instead, the Phillies gave Hamels a six-year extension worth $144M three weeks after this rumor. That one has worked out pretty well from a cost vs. production standpoint. (FanGraphs values his production at $175.9M during the first four and a half seasons of that contract, for what it’s worth.)

July 4th, 2012: Yankees Claim McDonald, Designate Schwinden

The Yankees acquired Darnell McDonald from the Red Sox, the outfielder announced on his personal Twitter account. The Yankees claimed McDonald off of waivers, Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger tweets. The team designated Chris Schwinden for assignment in a related move, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News tweets.

McDonald’s four-game stint with the Yankees was a forgettable one. The Yankees claimed the right-handed hitting outfielder off waivers from the Red Sox, then started him against the Red Sox in Fenway Park against a bunch of left-handed starters. It would have been an amazing troll move if it worked. Instead, McDonald went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and dropped a fly ball that led to a run. He had to cut off his dreadlocks for those four games in pinstripes.

Silly outdated hair policy is silly and outdated.

July 10th, 2012: East Notes: Martin, Phillies, Blue Jays, Papelbon

Yankees GM Brian Cashman has no plans to acquire a catcher despite Russell Martin‘s struggles, according to Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger. “We have our catching,” Cashman said. “I believe in Russell Martin, period.”

Russell Martin on the day of this rumor: .179/.310/.348 (80 wRC+).

Russell Martin from the day of this rumor through the end of the season: .242/.321/.456 (111 wRC+).

July 12th, 2012: Yankees Sign Ty Hensley

The Yankees have signed first-round draft pick Ty Hensley, reports Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game USA (Twitter links).  The two sides agreed to a $1.2MM bonus, below the recommended slot price of $1.6MM for the 30th overall pick. 

Sigh. This one didn’t work out too well. Hensley’s medical issues started right away. The Yankees found an “abnormality” in his shoulder during his pre-signing physical, hence the reduced bonus. From 2012-16, Hensley threw 42.1 total innings and had surgeries on both hips, surgery for a hernia, and two Tommy John surgeries. The Yankees lost him to the Rays in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft this past offseason and he won’t pitch this year as he rehabs from the second elbow reconstruction. Pitchers, man.

July 13th, 2012: Yankees Sign Kosuke Fukudome

The Yankees signed Kosuke Fukudome to a minor league contract, Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger reports (on Twitter). The outfielder is expected to report to New York’s Triple-A affiliate.

Holy smokes, I forgot all about Fukudome. He was a pretty big deal coming out of Japan back in the day, but he never could make it work in the big leagues. Fukudome hit .258/.359/.395 (102 wRC+) in nearly 2,300 MLB plate appearances, mostly with the Cubs, plus .276/.440/.378 (138 wRC+) in 39 Triple-A games with the Yankees in 2012. The Yankees picked him up to see what he could offer while Gardner was on the shelf. Fukudome is still active, you know. He returned to Japan in 2013 and he’s currently hitting .256/.364/.380 with seven home runs in 76 games for the Hanshin Tigers at age 40.

July 16th, 2012: Yankees Monitoring Outfield Market

The Yankees always seem to be pursuing pitching, but their front office officials aren’t overly concerned about the rotation, since C.C. Sabathia and Andy Pettitte are expected to return this summer. Instead, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports, the Yankees are looking at the outfield market and have checked in on both Shane Victorino and Justin Upton.

Upton was only 24 at the time and he was in the middle of a down season with the Diamondbacks, hitting .280/.355/.430 (109 wRC+) overall. That came after a .289/.369/.529 (141 wRC+) batting line in 2011. Arizona traded him to the Braves after the season. I was all for Upton. I wanted him so bad. The Yankees were going to need a Nick Swisher replacement after the season and the desperately needed to add some youth to the lineup, so Upton was pretty much the perfect fit. Never happened.

Victorino, meanwhile, was hitting .261/.324/.401 (97 wRC+) for the Phillies at the time. He was an impending free agent and very much available. Philadelphia wound up shipping him to the Dodgers at the trade deadline for some mid-range pitching prospects who never amounted to much. I wasn’t a fan of pursuing Victorino. Seemed like he was only a marginal upgrade at the time. He hit .246/.316/.351 (88 wRC+) with the Dodgers after the trade, so yeah.

July 19th, 2012: Yankees Notes: Ankiel, Pierre, Wandy, Figueroa

The Yankees don’t have interest in Juan Pierre or Rick Ankiel, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter links).  The Bombers’ search for outfield help will intensify with the news that Brett Gardner will undergo arthroscopic elbow surgery, though Gardner’s agent Joe Bick says Gardner still hopes to return this season, reports Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger.

Oy vey. Pierre and Ankiel? Were they still a thing back in 2012? Apparently. Pierre was 34 at the time and hitting .307/.351/.371 (99 wRC+), which represented his best season in about five years. Ankiel was 32 and hitting .228/.282/.411 (81 wRC+) as a bench guy for the Nationals. No thanks.

July 21st, 2012: AL East Links: Orioles, Yankees, Victorino, Red Sox

The Yankees remain in contact with teams dangling bullpen pieces according to George A. King III of The New York Post, though Joba Chamberlain could be activated off the DL before the end of the month.

Ah yes, the good ol’ days when Joba would come back and fix the bullpen. He was rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and his trampoline-related ankle injury at the time, and once he did rejoin the Yankees, he threw 20.2 innings with a 4.35 ERA (4.01 FIP). Pitcher struggles in return from elbow surgery. News at 11.

July 23rd, 2012: Yankees Acquire Ichiro Suzuki

A legendary figure in Seattle will be changing uniforms, but won’t have to go farther than the visitors’ clubhouse to join his new team. The Yankees, who are playing in Seattle tonight, have acquired Ichiro Suzuki and cash from the Mariners in exchange right-handers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar, the teams have confirmed.

How many people showed up to Safeco Field that night with no idea Ichiro had been traded to the Yankees? Maybe half? Probably less, but you know there were plenty of folks who hadn’t heard about the trade. Imagine that. You go to the ballpark ready to watch the Yankees play the Mariners … and Ichiro steps in the box as a Yankee. That must’ve been weird.

Anyway, Ichiro was the Gardner replacement. The Yankees acquired him on two conditions. One, he would have to hit toward the bottom of the order. And two, he’d have to play left field rather than his usual right field. Ichiro agreed because he wanted to play on a contender, so the trade was made. He hit .261/.288/.353 (77 wRC+) with the Mariners before the trade and .322/.340/.454 (114 wRC+) with the Yankees after the trade. The trade was great! The two-year extension that followed … not so much.

As for the guys the Mariners got the trade, Farquhar gave them a few nice years as a setup man, though that didn’t last and he later wound up with the Rays. They released him yesterday. Mitchell never did pitch for the Mariners. He spent the rest of the season in Triple-A and was released in April 2013, and was pitching in independent ball by 2014.

July 25th, 2012: AL East Notes: Yankees, Hanley, Orioles

Yankees GM Brian Cashman said he’ll engage the market for a third baseman, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports.  The Yankees will consider all third base options, including Chase Headley of the Padres, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports (on Twitter). It seems unlikely that the Yankees would meet the Padres’ asking price for Headley, Heyman writes (on Twitter).

Heh. The Yankees had been after Headley for a while. That 2012 season was his monster season. Headley hit .286/.376/.498 (145 wRC+) with 31 home runs that season. He’s never come close to doing that again. The Padres declined to trade Headley was his value was at its peak, and they wound up settling for Yangervis Solarte and Rafael DePaula two years later. Womp womp.

July 25th, 2012: AL East Notes: Lester, Blue Jays, Aramis

The Yankees aren’t likely to pursue Aramis Ramirez, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).

Ramirez was in year one — year one! — of his three-year, $36M deal with the Brewers at the time. He hit .300/.360/.540 (139 wRC+) with 27 home runs that year, so he could still rake even at age 34, but taking on two and a half years of his three-year contract? Nah.

July 25th, 2012: Phillies Notes: Wigginton, Lee, Pence Rollins

The Yankees considered pursuing Ty Wigginton, but the Phillies aren’t offering him up, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).

Any time you’re a bad team like the 2012 Phillies and you have a guy like Ty Wigginton, you have to hold on to him at all costs. He hit .235/.314/.375 (87 wRC+) with eleven home runs that year, then left as a free agent after the season. Definitely hold on to that guy. That’s what smart teams do. I’m glad Wigginton finally retired, by the way. I don’t think any role player has generated more “the Yankees should get this guy” commentary than Wigginton. Either him or Mark DeRosa.

July 30th, 2012: AL West Notes: Greinke, Ryan, Rangers

The Yankees attempted to acquire Brendan Ryan from the Mariners, but Seattle turned them down, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Ryan is one of many infield options the Yankees have considered this month.

Ryan hit .194/.277/.278 (61 wRC+) in 2012. I know he was a fantastic defender, but .194/.277/.278 is .194/.277/.278. How do you turn down an offer for that guy down when you’re a bad team? That was peak Jack Zduriencik. Overrate the hell out of marginal players based on sketchy defensive stats.

July 31st, 2012: Pirates, Yankees Swap McGehee, Qualls

The Yankees acquired corner infielder Casey McGehee and $250K from the Pirates for reliever Chad Qualls, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

The end of the Qualls era. I was actually pretty excited about McGehee. The Yankees needed some third base protection because Alex Rodriguez was dealing with some nagging injuries, plus McGehee could play some first base, and his right-handed bat was a welcome addition to a left-handed heavy lineup. He then hit .151/.220/.264 (28 wRC+) in 59 plate appearances with the Yankees and was released after the season. McGehee is currently hitting .299/.368/.493 for the Yomiuri Giants in Japan, where apparently they juice the ball even more than MLB.

July 31st, 2012: Marlins Tried To Unload Carlos Lee

5:05pm: Two teams told ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark that the Marlins thought they had traded Lee to the Yankees today (Twitter link).  However, Lee wouldn’t waive his no-trade clause.  The sides were never close to completing a trade, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney writes (on Twitter).

Hmmm. One side says the deal was in place, but Lee squashed it with his no-trade clause, the other says there was no deal. I lean toward the latter. I don’t think the Yankees had anything worked out. I guess they could have looked at Lee as DH depth? The guy hit .264/.332/.365 (91 wRC+) with negative defense and baserunning value that year. I’m a sucker for a good “this guy was almost traded to that team” story. This one is pretty lame.

Scouting the Trade Market: Trevor Cahill

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

After Tuesday’s seven-player trade, the Yankees loudly announced they were buyers. The trade solved many of their issues, but they still have a hole in the back of their rotation with Michael Pineda lost for the season after Tommy John surgery.

A veteran innings eater who can more reliably provide solid innings than Bryan Mitchell and Luis Cessa appears to be the logical next move for Brian Cashman. One pitcher who could not only eat those innings but potentially do so effectively is Trevor Cahill, the journeyman starter with a 55.1 percent career groundball rate who is currently with the San Diego Padres. On a cheap one-year deal, the 29-year-old righty has a 3.14 ERA (3.22 FIP) in 57 1/3 innings over 10 starts for one of the worst teams in baseball.

Let’s dive into the Friars’ top rotation piece at the present:

Current Performance

In the middle of 2015, it looked like Cahill’s time as a starter was kaput. He’d been dealt to the Braves and had thrown 26 1/3 well-below-average innings before Atlanta DFA’d him. He’d made just three starts and had a 7.52 ERA in 15 total games.

But his career turned when he joined the Cubs late in the season. Used exclusively as a reliever, Cahill became a strikeout machine for the first time in his career while still keeping the ball on the ground as a sinkerballer. He pitched to a 2.61 ERA (4.10 FIP) in Chicago while upping his strikeout rate significantly. This came through an adjustment in his motion and upping the usage of his curveball and changeup.

Cahill turned down teams looking at him as a reliever and took a cheap one-year contract with the Padres, who gave him an opportunity to start and play near his hometown of Oceanside, Calif. It’s paid off big time.

In his 10 starts, he’s been able to translate his strikeout numbers from the bullpen into consistent success in the rotation. He has a 29.5 percent strikeout rate, up more than 10 percent from his last full season as a starter. His 8.3 percent walk rate is near the lowest mark he’s posted as a starter. He’s maintained a GB-to-FB ratio above two for the last three seasons and most of his career, making him ideally suited for a hitter’s haven, let alone one of the largest fields in the league at Petco Park.

Cahill is a true five-pitch pitcher. His four-seam fastball and sinker sit in the low-90s with the sinker being his primary pitch, thrown 37 percent of the time (the lowest rate of his career). Off-speed, he turns to his low-80s, high-70s knuckle curveball, a mid-80s changeup and a mid-80s slider. Each of his pitches has been relatively effective this season, especially the curveball, which rates as one of the best in the game. Check out how he’s able to get swings and misses on all his pitches.

His home/road splits are something of which to be wary. He has a 5.01 ERA away from Petco and you have to wonder whether his solid HR/9 numbers would slide even more at Yankee Stadium. His strikeout and walk rates have mostly held up away from home.

Injury history

Cahill comes with a bit of a checkered injury past. He’s already spent time on the disabled list with two separate injuries. First, he missed 10 days in April with a back strain. He then lost over 1.5 months with a shoulder strain. He’s spent 60 total days on the DL this season. He also missed time in 2013 with a hip contusion.

If you’re looking for positives, the injuries and subsequent missed time could be a blessing in disguise. He hadn’t thrown more than 65 2/3 innings since 2014, so it was unlikely he’d be able to handle 200 innings like he used to.

What would it take?

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Mike had a pretty good breakdown of what you can expect a rental starter to cost in his breakdown of Jaime Garcia‘s trade value. Make sure to check that out here.

With Cahill, his cheap contract could make a small difference compared to other rentals. Signed for $1.75 million in the offseason, he has less than $1 million left on his base salary. He earns $250,000 for start No. 15, 20 and 25 this season and he’ll earns a $250,000 bonus if he is traded.

Even with the incentives, he’s one of the cheaper players on the market because of his prove-it contract. The Padres can presumably ask for a slightly larger return than he would normally get, although his injuries could limit his market.

Does he make sense for the Yankees?

Surely. A 29-year-old rental with strong strikeout and groundball rates at Yankee Stadium? Sign me up. Like with Garcia or any rental, the Yankees would get a close look at him for the last few months of the season with eyes towards perhaps re-signing him in the offseason.

You obviously can’t overlook his injuries, but his numbers indicate that a team trading for him could catch lightning in a bottle for the stretch run. His experience in relief makes him slightly more attractive for a team with playoff dreams.