Mike Minor comes off the board as the Yankees are still inactive

Another pitcher comes off the board. The Kansas City Royals are signing left-handed pitcher Mike Minor to a two-year contract, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN. The first to report the agreement, though, was Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The development is noteworthy in the New York Yankees’ universe because it is the second high-profile pitcher that comes off the board in the free agency period, after Charlie Morton agreed to join the Atlanta Braves a few days ago.

Of course, Morton and Minor are in two different tiers, but Minor wouldn’t have been a bad addition to a Yankees’ rotation that is in dire need of some depth. Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ, and James Paxton are all free agents and eligible to sign with any team of their liking, and Luis Severino won’t be an option until June or July.

The New York Yankees, therefore, need to address the starting rotation as soon as possible, and one can’t help but worry that pieces are starting to come off the board and the team is patiently waiting.

He could have given some veteran depth to the Yankees

Minor started the 2020 season with the Texas Rangers after having a very good 2019, with a 3.59 ERA, 200 strikeouts and 1.24 WHIP in 32 starts. He was traded prior to the deadline to the contending Oakland Athletics. All in all, his 2020 was disappointing, with a 5.56 ERA in 12 starts with both teams.

He pitched with the Royals back in 2016 and is expected to pitch at the top of the rotation this time around. He will likely mentor one of the youngest and most talented groups of starters in MLB, including Brady Singer, Kris Bubic, and some notable prospects.

For the Yankees, though, the time to pounce on the free agent market starts now. They probably won’t sign Trevor Bauer, but one can never say never, as they should be monitoring his market.

The Yankees could opt to bring one or two of their own free agent pitchers, with Tanaka being the likeliest and Happ the unlikeliest. Minor could have been a good, relatively cheap bounceback candidate, but as long as the team addresses the rotation in some way, the fans won’t complain.

New York Yankees: Potential 2020 trade targets

Bob Nightengale tweeted out yesterday that the New York Yankees had their scouts on the prowl for another starting pitcher. The Yankees just lost Luis Severino to Tommy John. The New York Yankees next starter in line would have been James Paxton who has had injury concerns his entire career, and will start this season on the IL. Can the Yankees really depend on James Paxton to stay healthy for the rest of the season? After Paxton, you have Tanaka and Happ who have always been known as durable workhorse starters. Jordan Montgomery is currently slotted for the fourth spot, but he’s also coming off Tommy John, and we have yet to see him pitch a full outing. A bunch of unproven youngsters are vying for that fifth spot in the rotation currently. The Yankees have a team that is poised to win the entire thing this year. They cannot see another missed opportunity because they didn’t have the starting pitching. Yes, they arguably have the best pitcher in the game in Gerrit Cole, but Cole needs a quality supporting cast. He had that a month ago, but the two best pitchers behind him have gone down. Now, the Yankees will be exploring trade targets to sure things up in the rotation, and give the Yankees some cushion going into the second half of the season.

Trade Targets

Mike Minor

Mike Minor had a fantastic season in 2019. Minor pitched to a 14-10 record with a 3.59 ERA and struck out 200 batters. Minor is a solid veteran lefty for the Texas Rangers. The Yankees had discussions with the Rangers last year when it came to Minor, but nothing ever got remotely close. Minor is in the final year of his contract, and if the Rangers are not in the playoff hunt come July, Minor could be a guy that the Yankees try to acquire for the stretch run of 2020.

Robbie Ray

Robbie Ray is another guy who is in a walk year. Ray had an up and down season in 2019 where he went 12-8 with a 4.34 ERA, but he struck out 235 batters in 174.1 innings. Ray has sick stuff when he’s on, but the home runs are a little bit of a concern. The Yankees have liked Ray for years and there was a rumor circulating the last deadline that a deal was being discussed involving Clint Frazier. That deal obviously never materialized, but the Yankees were definitely involved with Ray. It would not surprise me at all if the Yankees got a high strikeout guy like Robbie Ray for the back of the rotation.

Trevor Bauer

Oh, wouldn’t this just be interesting? It is well-known that Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer are not extremely fond of each other. Could that change in a situation where they both helped lead the Yankees to the 2020 World Series? I’ve seen some fans online talk about the fact that the Yankees have been interested in Bauer for a while, but I’m not sure they would invite the drama into the dugout. The Reds are seemingly going all-in on the 2020 season. Bauer is another guy who is in a walk year, and if they are not where they want to be at the deadline, he could be a guy they look to move. It’s possible the Yankees would explore the possibility if Bauer were to become available.


Steven Matz

It feels like every year we do this with the New York Yankees and the Mets. Every year there is a starting pitching trade that is being “discussed” between the two clubs. A couple of years ago there were rumors the Yankees were going after deGrom and Syndergaard. Last year, the Yankees were going after Zack Wheeler, and here we are again with the Yankees being interested in Steven Matz. Matz is a solid pitcher who could fill in multiple roles with the Yankees. He could slot right into the rotation, but he could also be a long weapon for the Yankees out of the bullpen. Either way, he would make for an interesting acquisition when it comes to the Yankees. However, the odds of the Mets and Yankees actually doing a bigger deal are slim to none.

What is most likely?

Those are just four names that the New York Yankees could target for starting pitching help. Minor and Ray are the most likely if the Yankees were to attack the starting pitching market. Matz is the only one on the list with control beyond 2020, but again, I just don’t see that happen. The Yankees are definitely on the prowl for starting pitching relief, but it won’t be something that they break the bank over. They won’t deal with their top-line prospects, and they won’t acquire anyone with a hefty price tag. Expect the Yankees to really go after guys who are in their walk years like Minor and Ray.

New York Yankees: Looking Forward to the Final Road Trip of the Regular Season

New York Yankees, Yankees, Luke voit

The New York Yankees, already clinching the division and home-field advantage in the ALDS, travel to Tampa and Texas for the final six games of the season. This when the team has to bear down and take it one win at a time.

The first order of business, the Tampa Bay Rays. They are going to do everything in their power to win both games of the two-game set. With Glasnow and Snell coming back off injury, expect to see them at a point during this series. The one-hitter Yankees’ pitchers must be careful with is Austin Meadows. He is hitting .289, with 32 home runs, and 88 RBIs (MLB.com). The Rays have a balanced lineup, mixed with some underrated power and line-drive hitters. This could be a trap series for the team from the Bronx.

Next on the list, the Texas Rangers. The weekend series will set the tone for the Yankees heading into the postseason. Hitters will most likely face Lance Lynn and Mike Minor near the end of the series.  Lynn had a career-best ERA to start the year but fell off in the second half.  Minor helped shutout the Yankees, at home, for the first time in over a year. Beating both of these pitchers should boost the lineup’s confidence heading into the postseason.

Why is this final road trip so important?

The Yankees are currently two games behind the Astros in the loss column, for home-field advantage. They have the tiebreaker which would make it three games. This implies the Yankees must go at least four out of five to stay in the competition for home field. They will have to hope the Mariners and Angels can win at least three of the six games.

As of now, the Yankees will host the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS. This series would be a rematch of the epic 2017 AL Wild Card game. The Twins rotation will most likely consist of Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi, and Kyle Gibson. All of them have double-digit wins on the year. The Yankees play much better at home in the playoffs but will have to prove themselves at Target Field, to ultimately get a chance to play in the World Series.

The New York Yankees will get a chance to redeem themselves for losing to the Astros in seven games in the 2017 ALCS. As of late, the Yankees have proven they have a good enough rotation and very intimidating lineup to make it there. Let’s see how they do the second time around.

New York Yankees: Shut Out For the First Time in Over a Year

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

On Labor Day, Monday, September 2, 2019, the New York Yankees were shutout by Mike Minor and the Texas Rangers.

Minor went 7 and 1/3 innings, allowed 5 hits, one walk, struck out 5, and lowered his ERA to 3.12 (Baseball-Reference). This outing could make the Yankees front office second guess their decision to not get a starting pitcher at the deadline.

The Yankees only amassed 6 hits in the game and left six runners on base (Baseball-Reference). Mike Tauchman had two, Tyler Wade, Gary Sanchez, Mike Ford, and Luke Voit each had a hit (Baseball-Reference). The Yankees have seemed to struggle against some of the teams in the AL West the past few seasons.

One Shutout will not Stop this Offense

The last time the Yankees were shutout was June 30, 2018, against the Boston Red Sox (mlb.com). This team has lost a lot of games since then, but they were not shutout in any of them. That is fascinating. This offense has revolutionized the value of powerful bats up and down the lineup. They have set records: most home runs by a team (until the Twins passed them two days ago), most home runs in a calendar month as a team, and consecutive games with a home run as a team. Those records should not be taken lightly.

Again, once everyone is healthy, whether it is the end of the season or next season, there is no record that this offense cannot break. Anyone can lead the offense on any given day, that is what makes this offense different from any other in MLB history. The New York Yankees’ offense should be a force come the postseason, especially at home with the lively crowd at their backs.

Will the New York Yankees really trade Clint Frazier?

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

Are the New York Yankees willing to trade Clint Frazier for a pitcher?

If the New York Yankees realistically want a quality pitcher with control to help the rotation, they will likely have to part ways with the offensive-minded Clint Frazier.

Frazier, who was demoted to the minor league’s due to his below-average defense, has been playing well in Triple-A, however, he could be utilized as trade bait given the value he currently holds. The Yankees have been linked to several pitching options including Marcus Stroman, Madison Bumgarner, Trevor Bauer, Mike Minor and others, but the expectation is that they will require a pretty penny.

Stroman has been heavily linked to the Yanks, currently having a solid season with a 3.06 ERA. Inconsistencies throughout his career have driven down his price-tag, but the success he’s having in 2019 will force the Bombers to give up a decent player if not multiple prospects.

The elevation of reserve options like Mike Tauchman and Cameron Maybin makes Frazier irrelevant to a degree, and keeping him in the minors for the extended future is essentially just wasting away his talent. Adding a pitcher with his value could be worth more to the current team that Frazier’s influence down the road.

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Prior to being designated for assignment, Clint was hitting .283 with 11 homers and 34 RBIs on the season. He also recorded three errors and had a fielding percentage of .950. In the event that the Yanks trade Frazier, the importance of Tauchman instantly increases. He’s been on a hot streak as of late and will be a frequent flyer on the starting team. His success helps justify trading Frazier at the end of the day.

New York Yankees ‘guaranteed’ a top pitcher before July 31 trade deadline

The New York Yankees are looking into Cleveland Indians pitcher, Trevor Bauer.

The New York Yankees are by no means a team starving for wins, as they currently hold the best record in baseball at 64-34. However, that doesn’t mean they couldn’t use the pitching support as their starting rotation struggles to maintain its shape due to injuries and the like.

Luis Severino is still working his way back, James Paxton is clearly ailing after being shelled against the Rockies over the weekend, and there’s no doubt more knacks will arise as the season continues.

Jim Bowden reported for The Athletic that the Yankees are ‘guaranteed’ to trade for one of the following prior to the July 31 trade deadline: Trevor Bauer, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, Mike Minor, Matthew Boyd or Madison Bumgarner.

Stroman has been a frequent flyer on the rumor mill for the Yanks, and his performance this year has made him a solid target if GM Brian Cashman is willing to deal. It’s expected that the Toronto Blue Jays will want a decent haul for their best pitcher currently.

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“The two starters who are most likely to be traded at this point appear to be the Toronto Blue Jays’ Marcus Stroman and Rangers southpaw Mike Minor,” Bowden wrote (paywall).

“The Yankees, Twins, Astros, Phillies, Athletics and Brewers have all at least inquired on both of them. Matthew Boyd of the Tigers is also available, but the asking price is astronomical – though of course, that could change in the next nine days.”

With two essential starters either on the injured list or struggling, it’s imperative the Bombers bring in another capable starter to supplement their deficiencies.

Here’s how each New York Yankees target has performed so far in 2019:

Marcus Stroman - Toronto Blue Jays (28 years old)
20 G, W-L: 6-10, 3.06 ERA, 117.2 IP, 93 K/34 BB, 1.249 WHIP, 0.8 HR/9

Trevor Bauer - Cleveland Indians (28 years old)
22 G, W-L: 9-7, 3.67 ERA, 144.2 IP, 170 K/56 BB, 1.182 WHIP, 1.4 HR/9

Madison Bumgarner - San Francisco Giants (29 years old)
21 G, W-L: 5-7, 3.65 ERA, 125.2 IP, 127 K/26 BB, 1.178 WHIP, 1.2 HR/9

Mike Minor - Texas Rangers (31 years old)
20 G, W-L: 8-5, 2.86 ERA, 129.0 IP, 131 K/45 BB, 1.163 WHIP, 1.2 HR/9

Noah Syndergaard - New York Mets (26 years old)
19 G, W-L: 7-4, 4.36 ERA, 119.2 IP, 118 K/31 BB, 1.228 WHIP, 1.1 HR/9

Matthew Boyd - Detroit Tigers (28 years old)
20 G, W-L: 6-8, 4.13 ERA, 120.0 IP, 160 K/24 BB, 1.133 WHIP, 1.6 HR/9

No matter who the Yankees elect to trade for, all of these options are solid and can immediately leave their mark on the season. They will help exponentially once playoff time rolls around.