New York Yankees: Potential 2020 trade targets

Daniel Cunningham
Oct 3, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees executive Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone (17) talk before the game against the Oakland Athletics in the 2018 American League wild card playoff baseball game at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Bob Nightengale tweeted out yesterday that the New York Yankees had their scouts on the prowl for another starting pitcher. The Yankees just lost Luis Severino to Tommy John. The New York Yankees next starter in line would have been James Paxton who has had injury concerns his entire career, and will start this season on the IL. Can the Yankees really depend on James Paxton to stay healthy for the rest of the season? After Paxton, you have Tanaka and Happ who have always been known as durable workhorse starters. Jordan Montgomery is currently slotted for the fourth spot, but he’s also coming off Tommy John, and we have yet to see him pitch a full outing. A bunch of unproven youngsters are vying for that fifth spot in the rotation currently. The Yankees have a team that is poised to win the entire thing this year. They cannot see another missed opportunity because they didn’t have the starting pitching. Yes, they arguably have the best pitcher in the game in Gerrit Cole, but Cole needs a quality supporting cast. He had that a month ago, but the two best pitchers behind him have gone down. Now, the Yankees will be exploring trade targets to sure things up in the rotation, and give the Yankees some cushion going into the second half of the season.

Trade Targets

Mike Minor

Mike Minor had a fantastic season in 2019. Minor pitched to a 14-10 record with a 3.59 ERA and struck out 200 batters. Minor is a solid veteran lefty for the Texas Rangers. The Yankees had discussions with the Rangers last year when it came to Minor, but nothing ever got remotely close. Minor is in the final year of his contract, and if the Rangers are not in the playoff hunt come July, Minor could be a guy that the Yankees try to acquire for the stretch run of 2020.

Robbie Ray

Robbie Ray is another guy who is in a walk year. Ray had an up and down season in 2019 where he went 12-8 with a 4.34 ERA, but he struck out 235 batters in 174.1 innings. Ray has sick stuff when he’s on, but the home runs are a little bit of a concern. The Yankees have liked Ray for years and there was a rumor circulating the last deadline that a deal was being discussed involving Clint Frazier. That deal obviously never materialized, but the Yankees were definitely involved with Ray. It would not surprise me at all if the Yankees got a high strikeout guy like Robbie Ray for the back of the rotation.

Trevor Bauer

Oh, wouldn’t this just be interesting? It is well-known that Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer are not extremely fond of each other. Could that change in a situation where they both helped lead the Yankees to the 2020 World Series? I’ve seen some fans online talk about the fact that the Yankees have been interested in Bauer for a while, but I’m not sure they would invite the drama into the dugout. The Reds are seemingly going all-in on the 2020 season. Bauer is another guy who is in a walk year, and if they are not where they want to be at the deadline, he could be a guy they look to move. It’s possible the Yankees would explore the possibility if Bauer were to become available.

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Steven Matz

It feels like every year we do this with the New York Yankees and the Mets. Every year there is a starting pitching trade that is being “discussed” between the two clubs. A couple of years ago there were rumors the Yankees were going after deGrom and Syndergaard. Last year, the Yankees were going after Zack Wheeler, and here we are again with the Yankees being interested in Steven Matz. Matz is a solid pitcher who could fill in multiple roles with the Yankees. He could slot right into the rotation, but he could also be a long weapon for the Yankees out of the bullpen. Either way, he would make for an interesting acquisition when it comes to the Yankees. However, the odds of the Mets and Yankees actually doing a bigger deal are slim to none.

What is most likely?

Those are just four names that the New York Yankees could target for starting pitching help. Minor and Ray are the most likely if the Yankees were to attack the starting pitching market. Matz is the only one on the list with control beyond 2020, but again, I just don’t see that happen. The Yankees are definitely on the prowl for starting pitching relief, but it won’t be something that they break the bank over. They won’t deal with their top-line prospects, and they won’t acquire anyone with a hefty price tag. Expect the Yankees to really go after guys who are in their walk years like Minor and Ray.