New York Yankees: Some intriguing moves the Yankees could make before spring training

For the New York Yankees and all the other 29 MLB teams, trade rumors come and go, for the most part, go. The Yankees were tied for some time to shortstop Francisco Lindor, and we know how that turned out, he is now a New York Met. More recently, all the buzz was that the Yankees were likely including Clint Frazier in a trade for Yankee target Luis Castillo of the Cincinnati Reds. That, too, seems mostly gone. The Red has lost so much this offseason, and if they want to contend in the weak NL Central, it’s not likely they will let go of Castillo.

Regardless of the trades that have come and gone, two facts remain. With the re-signing of DJ LeMahiue and acquiring two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, the Yankees only have about $7 million to fill all their other needs. The other fact is that the Yankees, if they want to contend with a weaker East division this season, must still improve their pitching situation with another veteran starter and at least another arm in the bullpen to replace the Los Angeles departing Tommy Kahnle.

With the money nearly gone, there still are some intriguing trades to be made. First, let’s look at the starting pitching. Ace Gerrit Cole has the leadoff position nailed down; beyond that, there are questions. The New York Yankees now project that Corey Kluber will be their number two starter for the upcoming season. They hope to return to his 2018 form and provide a one-two punch that will put fear in opponents’ eyes. That’s when things fall apart to a degree. Next up is Domingo German; if he can pitch as he did during 2019, the Yankees will have a starting rotation that can mow down hitters, but German was beaten up in Winter ball after not pitching for a year. So that remains a question.

Beyond that, the Yankees have Jordan Montgomery, who hasn’t yet pitched an entire season and has been mostly inconsistent. Then there are baby pitchers that have little experience. Yes, around July 1, the Yankees will get Luis Severino back after not pitching for two years. They have no idea what to expect from him, but if he performs as we know he can, it will be a big plus for the Yankees and help them run for the postseason.

With these questions, the Yankees would very much like to have a veteran presence taking up that number three position in the rotation. With no money to acquire a premium arm, it will come via the trade. Here are a few options that will cost little or trades that could make sense, starting with a cheapy.

Zac Gallen age 25:

Zack Gallen of the Diamondbacks, the Yankees could pick up for petty cash. He will earn just $575K in 2021. The Diamondbacks have to be looking at a situation in the NL West that tells them it will be a long time before they can compete. The Los Angeles Dodgers are dominant, and the Padres build up to be a juggernaut for years to come.  There are tremendous pluses to picking up Gallen. The Yankees would have team control for the next five years and the guy puzzles hitters with his diversity of pitches. Last season when so many pitchers underperformed, he was 3-2 with an ERA of 2.75 with 82 strikeouts in 72 innings. He also frequently went deep into games.

Brandon Woodruff age 27:

Woodruff is another starter that the Yankees could probably send cash for. He will earn just over $3 million this year. The Yankees would have control of him for four years before he reaches free agency. His 2020 season was not tops, but he is a strikeout machine. He had 92 strikeouts in 71 innings. His record was 3-5 with a very reasonable ERA of 3.05 in 13 games. The Brewers have a lousy farm system and would be interested in nearly anyone.

German Marquez age 26:

Marquez would cost the New York Yankees, he is slated to make $7.8 million this year, and the Yankees would have control over him through 2024. This would be a trade that would cause some hurt to the Yankees. It is possible that an Andujar, Schmidt, and Gil trade could get this deal done with the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies aren’t going anywhere and might consider a trade. Marquez was 3-6 with an ERA of 3.75 last season. However, Marquez had tremendous potential. You have to consider he plays at Mile High Stadium, where the ball carries big time. His breaking ball is a killer and would be even more impactful closer to ground level.

Liam Hendriks age 31:

Yes, I know he was just traded to the Cubs, but stranger things have happened. This would be the Yankees’ costliest trade to make, the most hurtful but the most impactful. A trade with the Cubs for Hendriks would give the Yankees a tremendous edge. This trade would cost the Yankees the possible loss of both Deivi Garcia and Clint Frazier, maybe a few lower prospects from the farm. Hendriks was 3-1 with a tiny ERA of 1.78 24 games of relief. He would not only replace Tommy Kahnle in the bullpen but be a tremendous upgrade. It would cost the Yankees $11 million this year, and the Cubs would have to take on Adam Ottavino’s $9 million contract to make this work for the Yankees. Not likely, but certainly intriguing.