New York Yankees: 2 players who could be used as trade bait at Aug. 31 trade deadline

Alexander Wilson
New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar
Mar 5, 2020; Lakeland, Florida, USA; New York Yankees first baseman Miguel Andujar (41) hits a two RBI double during the third inning against the Detroit Tigers at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are only 15 games into the 2020 regular season, but in a revised and shortened year, the trade deadline will occur on August 31.

What does this mean? Teams won’t likely be as active as in previous years, given the small sample size from their players and the vast desire for pitching.

Ultimately, paying the premium value for players who started a short season on fire could be a reason for price gouging. Selling high on a small sample size is not how the Yankees want to move forward with their salary, especially after signing Gerrit Cole to a nine-year, $324 million deal last off-season.

Ultimately, most teams are in need of pitching, specifically for the Yankees, starting pitching. Manager Aaron Boone elected to pass over J.A. Happ for a start this week, given his awful performance this year, so far. Over two starts, he currently holds a 10.29 ERA with three strikeouts and eight runs allowed. With his contract expiring after the 2020 season, it is almost guaranteed that the Yankees will move on from him.

That leaves the door open for James Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka to potentially receive extensions.

However, staying silent is the best method of negotiating. Giving other teams leverage in your trade plans can increase prices for some players and draw others to a quiet market.

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Here are two players the New York Yankees could potentially part with at the deadline:

1.) Miguel Andujar

Andujar has struggled this season so far, posting a .071 batting average with just one hit over 14 at-bats. His transition to left field has been a bit bumpy, as expected, but he is still getting used to the position. Given he is coming off a torn labrum and having just a handful of at-bats doesn’t justify his performance, the Yankees could utilize him to add to the starting pitching rotation. It is also possible they look for a relief pitcher, as they lost Tommy Kahnle for the entire season to Tommy John surgery.

With Miggy struggling at the plate, they would be selling him on a low, which isn’t the likely course of action given the potential we all know he holds. With his inability to play third base on a consistent basis, and his lengthy transition to the outfield, selling him for a proven commodity might be a good move at this point. The Yankees sent him down to the alternative training site in favor of Clint Frazier, who also holds value in this scenario.

2.) Clint Frazier

Frazier hasn’t earned a single rep this season, but the Yankees pulled him up over the weekend to give him an opportunity in left field. Frazier is a serious offensive threat, with one of the fastest bats in baseball. His defense is the problem, as he logged a .963 fielding percentage and three errors in 2019. However, at the plate, he earned a .267 BA with 12 homers and 38 RBIs.

Ultimately, Frazier has shown development in immaturity this off-season. His desire to put his head down and work was obvious, but despite his efforts, Boone elected to place him on the taxi squad.

Boone mentioned that he would be a starter on any other team, but the Yankees simply had too many players in front of him.

“Difficult. Clint is ready to be an impact player in this league, there is no doubt in my mind.” Just unfortunately for him he is blocked by a lot of good outfielders. Unfortunately with options and our situation right now Clint was the odd man out, but that doesn’t make it any easier because he has done everything, from a work standpoint, from a focus standpoint. It is hard when you are sending down a big-league player who you know is ready to produce.’’

He will finally earn his chance to become a regular player in a condensed season. The Yankees have been rotating the left-field position with Brett Gardner, Mike Tauchman, and Andujar up to this point. But Frazier has a perfect opportunity to prove his worth and steal Andujar’s limited reps. Nonetheless, his value might even be greater than Andujar’s, which could give the Yankees some leverage in a trade scenario.

Giving him some deserved at-bats the next few weeks could be a ploy to increase his stock.