The New York Yankees are in need of starting pitching depth, and the main issue isn’t that they don’t have an ace or even a number 2 starter. This free agency, the Yankees have 3 pitchers hitting free agency, and with a tight budget, the Yankees have to make decisions. They need to figure out how they’re going to shore up the rotation without breaking the bank. A way they can give themselves a controllable young starter is through trade. It involves a team the Yankees tried to get another young pitcher blistering with potential from in Gerrit Cole. This time the Yankees can’t just pass up on this kid, who, in my opinion, can be a great #3 starter behind Luis Severino and Gerrit Cole. The Yankees need a controllable arm, and they can have that with Joe Musgrove.
Who is Joe Musgrove?
Joe Musgrove is a 6’5 230-pound right-handed pitcher who started out in the Blue Jays organization. He was part of the vaunted 2011 draft class and picked 46th overall. He has pitched at the MLB level for the Astros (2016-2017) and now the Pirates, as he was part of the Gerrit Cole trade. Musgrove is one of the most underrated starters in baseball and has potential that is through the roof, in my opinion.
Joe Musgrove has an extremely high spin rate on all of his pitches, and this year it blossomed. He struck 12.48 batters per 9 and was able to have a career-low 3.86 ERA. As a Pirate, he has a 4.23 ERA, 3.69 FIP, and a 4.06 SIERA. While those numbers aren’t great, there’s something you have to note about the Pittsburgh pitching philosophy that gives me hope that the Yankees can make Musgrove into a stud.
Pittsburgh had been infamous for forcing pitchers to be contact pitchers under Ray Searage, and when they got a new one in 2020? Musgrove missed a ton of bats and looked incredible.
Joe Musgrove’s Incredible Breaking Pitches
Joe Musgrove’s slider this year generated a 50.6% whiff% with a .178 batting average against. His curveball registered a 53.2% whiff% with a .050 batting average against. Those are devastating pitches to have in your arsenal, and he can do damage with those pitches. His fastball has good spin but not great velocity, so it’s not the best fastball in the world. In my opinion, his arsenal is very comparable to Deivi Garcia’s arsenal.
If he could find a way to get more swings and misses on that heater, he would be borderline unstoppable. What’s most impressive about his breaking balls is that it generates a ton of spin and therefore gets a bunch of swings and misses. He’s the type of pitcher you want on the mound to back up your big 2, but why should the Yankees trade for Joe Musgrove?
The Yankees Best Chance At Acquiring an Impact Player
He is a dirt-cheap player to add to your roster, and this gives you a solidified #3 or #4 depending on who you retain in the rotation. The Yankees would pay Musgrove around $3 million dollars, and he wouldn’t hit free agency for the next 2 seasons. He is only 27 as well, so he’s a youngster you’re getting. While his price won’t be as high as a Gerrit Cole, it will be pricey to acquire a young promising starter no matter who it is.
The Yankees could see benefit from this as they currently do not have any room for certain prospects and are going to need to make a big deal to get some of their guys out of the farm system and unclog it. If they want an impact player RIGHT now and someone to rally behind in the rotation, it’s time Cashman makes a deal.
What Would the Trade Look Like?
I imagine that you would see a deal somewhat like this for the 27-year-old righty out of Grossmont High School wouldn’t be just the Yankees getting Musgrove. I actually believe (and I’ll hit on this on my next trade target) that Musgrove would be part of a package.
The Yankees and Pirates both have players they could benefit from swapping around, so I can’t make a deal for just Musgrove. You would definitely see some high-level prospects go from the Yankees. Mostly guys in the AAA or MLB level. While the Pirates aren’t a win-now team, they’ve been tanking for a little bit, so they want guys now. Do I see this trade being unlikely? No, as the Yankees will play a little smarter than just throwing cash, and Joe Musgrove is a great fit for the Yankees.