The New York Yankees are in search of starting pitching talent, whether it be through free agency or a trade partner. After offering Justin Verlander a one-year, $25 million deal, it is clear general manager Brian Cashman is willing to spend a pretty penny to acquire a solid talent.
While he could look to an option like Robbie Ray to solve a big hole in the starting rotation alongside Gerrit Cole, he could turn his attention to an AL East rival in a potential trade deal.
The Baltimore Orioles are reportedly interested in trading left-hander John Means, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney. Means is preparing to earn $3 million in arbitration this season, coming off an adequate 2021 campaign where he pitched 146.2 innings.
The Yankees would like to add a bit more diversity to the rotation, and Means presents a lefty at 28-years-old. Standing at 6’3″ and 235 pounds, Means earned a 3.62 ERA, 8.22 strikeouts per nine, and 1.60 walk rate per nine this past year. He also posted a 32.9% ground ball rate and 80.5% left on-base percentage.
Means’ ground ball rate might not be attractive to the Yankees, as they look for pitchers that settle in the 40% plus area. He features a fastball, slider, curveball, and change-up. His fastball hovers around 93 mph, which he tossed 47.9% of the time in 2021. He’s using less of his slider more breaking pitches, resulting in a solid first half of the season.
The Baltimore starter had his best game of the season on May 5, when he threw a no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners. The Yankees could look to expand upon his existing talents, given his capacity for great performances. Means is two years removed from an All-Star bid in which he won 12 games and logged a 3.60 ERA.
Based on his success thus far and the need for diversity in the Yankees’ starting rotation, Means makes a ton of sense. However, it all depends on what the Orioles are asking for in a prospective deal.