Yankees have one perfect trade piece they could leverage this off-season

MLB: Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees, amidst planning roster enhancements, face pivotal decisions regarding their assets. The key lies not just in elevating prospects to the MLB but also in discerning those who could be instrumental in securing established talents via trades.

Exploring Yankees Trade Avenues

The Yankees, linked with numerous potential trade partners, could show particular interest in the St. Louis Cardinals. Targeting Brendan Donovan, a star utility man whose free agency is deferred until 2029, could represent a cost-effective strategy for the immediate future. The Cardinals’ preference for pitching assets puts Clarke Schmidt, one of the Yankees’ promising talents, squarely in the spotlight.

Clarke Schmidt: Potential for Greatness or Trade Asset?

Schmidt, despite a sporadic 2023 season, holds promise. His career-best 159 innings came with a mixed bag of stats: a 4.64 ERA, 4.42 FIP, and 8.43 strikeouts per nine, accompanied by a solid 70.2% left-on-base rate and a 43.8% ground ball rate. This performance, his first fully healthy season, albeit with variegated success, hints at his potential.

The 2024 season might be Schmidt’s breakthrough, positioning him as a mainstay in the rotation. However, this very prospect of ascent should prompt the Yankees to capitalize on his current market value, preempting any downturn in his trajectory. Their dire need for an offensive surge makes Donovan, with his exemplary defense and versatile experience, an ideal candidate.

Balancing Act in Player Trades

Donovan, while an attractive option, isn’t the sole target for the Yankees. Acquiring him might demand a higher investment than what Schmidt alone can fetch, considering the 27-year-old pitcher’s fluctuating performance. Past hesitance in timely asset negotiation has cost the Yankees, making Schmidt’s case — teetering between potential improvement and decline — a critical juncture.

The challenge ahead for the Yankees involves mitigating risks in acquiring a potent offensive presence, aligning with Judge’s articulated needs without undermining their future prospects. This delicate equilibrium in trade strategy could define their success in the forthcoming MLB season.

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