Yankees mock trade sends valued pitcher for former All-Star OF

Jazz Chisholm Jr., Yankees
Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees stack their depth chart at a key position in the outfield but at the expense of one of their most valuable starting pitchers in a recent mock trade.

A collection of writers at The Athletic proposed a mock deal that sends Yankees LHP Nestor Cortes, along with RHP Brock Selvidge and shortstop prospect Roderick Arias to the Miami Marlins in exchange for center fielder Jazz Chisholm Jr. (h/t The Sporting News’ Kevin Hickey):

“In this hypothetical deal, the Yankees gave up starter Nestor Cortes, right-handed pitcher Brock Selvidge, and shortstop prospect Roderick Arias,” Hickey relayed.

The Yankees could pull the plug on Nestor Cortes & prospects at the deadline for roster support

MLB: Chicago White Sox at New York Yankees, nestor cortes
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The Yankees have been reported to be entertaining a trade for Cortes for weeks now. The veteran star pitcher has played well in 2024 but has had his bumps in the road along the way. With reigning AL Cy Young award winner Gerrit Cole back in action and Luis Gil playing at an elite level, Cortes will be in competition with Carlos Rodon, Marcus Stroman, and Cody Poteet when he returns from injury for prominence in the rotation.

The Yankees also have Selvidge and Arias as potentially expendable. Selvidge, New York’s No. 92 overall pick from 2021, has retired 72 batters behind a 3.75 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP in Double-A for the Somerset Patriots while Arias has stolen 19 bases and driven in 43 RBIs in 279 at bats in Single-A for the Tampa Tarpons.

It’s becoming clearer that Cortes’ security in New York is not set in stone, even given his 3.51 ERA, elite 1.105 WHIP and 4.5 percent BB% (93rd percentile), and 98 strikeouts in an MLB-leading 18 starts this season. Packaging him along with Selvidge and Arias could bring back a promising return for the Yankees, but is Chisholm Jr. the right talent to execute such a trade for?

Do the Yankees need help most at center field?

MLB: Spring Training-New York Mets at Miami Marlins
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Chisholm Jr. made the All-Star team in 2022 and has already exceeded his doubles total from that season (10) in 2023 (12) and matched his triples (4). Having only missed three games on the year, the 26-year-old is on pace to hit 19.6 home runs should he play out for the rest of 2024, which would match the career-high he set in 2023 on the low end and exceed it should he reach 20 homers by season’s end.

The Yankees would benefit from bringing Chisholm Jr. into their fold to keep CF Aaron Judge’s legs fresh down the back half of the season. The Bahamas native owns a .990 fielding percentage this season with 195 putouts to a mere two errors in center field.

Its questionable as to whether he would want to settle for a reserve role in the field seeing that the Yankees are set with Judge in center, Juan Soto in right field, and Alex Verdugo in left. His position in the batting order would also need to be sorted out. On top of that all, the Yankees may have more pressing needs in their infield and pitching ranks than their outfield that could be addressed by moving perhaps their strongest trade piece in Cortes this summer.

No matter, Chisholm Jr. is a name for New York to pay attention to as the month of July progresses and trade talks pick up.

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