The New York Yankees settled with the majority of players heading toward arbitration before Friday’s deadline. Only Gleyber Torres and Jimmy Cordero failed to sign new contracts, but the two sides aren’t far apart, and they will likely find a solution before hearings.
While contracts are being ironed out, general manager Brian Cashman can get back to the trade market or at least scour it for opportunities. The Yankees have been trying to offload several players for the past few months, notably Aaron Hicks and Josh Donaldson, but they’ve failed to find any takers. Nonetheless, there are three players who make sense as potential trade pieces this upcoming season, even if it means moving them at the deadline for alternative support.
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Three players the Yankees should consider trading:
1.) Domingo German
The Yankees and Domingo Germán signed a one-year, $2.6 million deal to avoid arbitration. They have control over him until 2025 when he hits free agency. Last season, German pitched 72.1 innings, recording a 3.61 ERA, 4.33 xFIP, 7.22 strikeouts per nine, and 78.5% left-on-base rate. German provides the team with a back-end starting option to help supplement fatigue down the stretch, but they also have Clarke Schmidt, who can fill that role admirably. Having two pitchers who can supplement a starting slot is a worthwhile safety net but not entirely necessary.
The Bombers could look to move German to help fill the vacant left-field position. Max Kepler stands out from the Minnesota twins but may not move the needle much offensively. In a prospective deal, though, German certainly fits the bill.
2.) Aaron Hicks
The Yankees owe Aaron Hicks $10.5 million for the 2023 season; a pricey number given the lack of value he’s provided in recent memory. Last season, Hicks hit a putrid .261 with a .330 OBP, eight homers, and 40 RBIs with a 90 wRC+.
It might be a worthwhile decision if the Yanks could find a way to move Hicks and retain a bit of salary in the process. The team signed and invited Rafael Ortega and Willie Calhoun to compete during spring training, and there’s a good argument to make Ortega is a better player than Hicks at this moment in time.
Given Hicks hasn’t posted a wRC+ above 100 since 2020, which was the Covid abbreviated season, it is hard to believe he will suddenly resurrect his career with his power metrics also taking a dip. The problem with Hicks seems to be psychological rather than physical, and he quickly loses confidence during cold streaks, in which he fails to hit way out consistently.
3.) Gleyber Torres
Gleyber Torres seems to have a cemented role at second base, but he could very well be a trade piece at the deadline next summer. Torres is coming off of a bounce-back season in 2022, hitting .257 with a .310 OBP, 24 homers, and 76 RBIs with a 115 wRC+. Torres was a 2.7 WAR player last season and projects to be a 3.4 WAR player in 2023, according to his Steamer projections.
However, with Anthony Volpe expected to make the transition to the majors this upcoming year, Torres could find his role diminishing later on in the season. Especially if he’s going through cold stretches, the Yankees may prefer to give Volpe those opportunities since he will be a part of the equation at some point.
With Oswald Peraza expected to fill shortstop and DJ LeMahieu at third base, trading Torres at his highest value and replacing him with Volpe could be in the cards. Many are split on the decision, but it is a reasonable conversation to have.