Yankees closing in on trade with Oakland to bolster starting pitching rotation

sean manaea, yankees, a's

The New York Yankees still need to address their starting pitching rotation after a monster trade with the Minnesota Twins, bolstering their infield but voiding one of the team’s biggest liabilities.

Depending on Luis Severino, Domingo German, and Jameson Taillon, to remain healthy for the entire 2022 season is optimistic, so general manager Brian Cashman has to be more aggressive with his pursuit of new pitching talent.

Jon Heyman of MLB Netwerk reported on Wednesday that the Yankees were one of several teams interested in Oakland Athletics young pitchers Sean Manaea and Frankie Montas.

Manaea is an intriguing target, consisting of six major league seasons, hosting a 3.91 ERA last year over 179 innings. Manaea has had success in the past, but with the right coaching and a more consistent team around him, he could find his true potential wearing pinstripes.

At 30 years old, Manaea is set to hit free agency in 2023, but the 6’5″ and 245-pound left-handed pitcher could offer the Yankees immediate support behind Gerrit Cole. Manaea features a fastball, slider, and change-up. With his fastball hovering around 92 mph, he’s not known for his velocity. He generates great break on his pitches and features solid control.

Manaea generated a 32.5% swing rate outside of the strike zone and 71.5% swing right inside the strike zone last season. While his called strike percentage dipped a bit to 16.2%, he still possesses quality stuff with upside.

Alternatively, the Yankees could look to Frankie Montas as an option. The 28-year-old right-handed pitcher has two years left of team control before he hits free agency in 2024. This past season, he recorded a 3.37 ERA over 187 innings pitched, the most in his career by a significant margin. He generated a 74.5% left-on base rate and 42.8% ground ball rate. Montas throws his fastball nearly 61% of the time, averaging out at 96.3 mph. He also incorporates a slider at 89 mph and split-finger fastball at 87.6.

Montas generated a 13.7% swing and miss rate in 2021, whereas Manaea featured a 12.3% rate in that category.

Based on the type of pitcher the Yankees prefer, Montas makes the most sense with his velocity, but Manaea has proven reliability in the health department, pitching over 140 innings in four of his six seasons. Montas has only thrown over 100 innings in one season to date.

The Yankees would have to give up a decent haul to acquire one of the young pitchers out of Oakland. A pairing of Gleyber Torres and Oswald Peraza would suffice according to Baseball Trade Values’ mock trade simulator, giving the combination a 36.3 value grade. Montas holds a value of 39.6, so the comparable measures work out. It just depends on if Cashman and management are willing to expand one of their young prospects climbing the system.

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