New York Yankees: One stellar starting pitching trade target to consider

New York Yankees, Chris Bassitt
Oct 5, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Chris Bassitt (40) pitches against the Houston Astros during the first inning in game one of the 2020 ALDS at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

If you ask New York Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman about the state of his roster, he will likely tell you they are prepared to compete for a World Series. Based on their offensive power alone, his argument would be justifiable.

The Yankees recently extended DJ LeMahieu to a six-year contract, retaining their lead-off hitter and arguably one of the best offensive weapons in baseball. Their lineup is stocked full of talent, ranging from Aaron Judge to Gio Urshela.

However, some positions need to be addressed, and while the starting pitching rotation seems to be well oiled, a number of their players haven’t performed in quite some time. Domingo German, who has been reinstated by the Yankees and accepted back to the clubhouse, is coming off a year stint without playing baseball, living out the remainder of a domestic abuse suspension, which occurred in 2019.

Luis Severino has been dealing with injuries the past two seasons and has only pitched in 12 innings over the past two years. His last full season was in 2018, when he recorded a 3.39 ERA over 191.1 innings. If he can return to form, the Yankees will be in great shape, but it’s a big “if.”

Then you have Corey Kluber, who was recently signed to a one-year, $11 million deal. He’s only pitched 36.2 innings over the past two seasons, representing another player that is based more around optimism than reality. If all three of these pitchers, let alone one or two, live up to their potential, they will be in decent shape, but there’s a lot of hard work that has to be done before we can feel confident in any of the three.

The New York Yankees could still consider a trade for a quality starter:

While the trade negotiations/rumors regarding Cincinnati Reds star Luis Castillo have subsided, there are plenty of other starters that could represent an adequate target for the Yankees. One option is Chris Bassitt of the Oakland Athletics.

Bassitt is just 31 years old and coming off a phenomenal season with the Athletics in 2020. Over 63 innings, he recorded a 2.29 ERA, 55 strikeouts, and gave up just six homers. While his numbers have bounced around a bit over the past six years, he’s strung together three decent campaigns, with his best coming this past season.

Oakland doesn’t seem to be making any win-now moves, and the rumor is they are trying to decrease their payroll by about $20 million. Bassitt is set to make about $5 million in 2021, so the Yankees could part ways with a few prospects and acquire him for a drop in the bucket. He would fit perfectly into their rotation, inserting a quality starter to pair with three pitchers who haven’t played in quite some time.

It is important to note that Bassitt would not come cheap, but the Yankees have a few solid trade pieces they can work with, including Miguel Andujar and a bevy of prospects who they can cash in on now as they try to compete for a World Series.