The New York Yankees and general manager Brian Cashman always manage to surprise fans with big moves, but this off-season could be different for a team that often leads the MLB in salary expenditures. With Giancarlo Stanton, Gerrit Cole, and potentially DJ LeMahieu on massive contracts, the Yankees won’t have as much financial flexibility as they have in the past. These long-term deals have severely limited their ability to spend on other positions, notably starting pitching.
However, acquiring a player who won’t cost much in a trade would be a good move for the Bombers, who are looking to win a World Series now and not wait until Aaron Judge hits free agency. A trade for a productive player with a low-cost per-year would be a perfect scenario, but the Yankees don’t wanna give away some of their more promising young talents.
Nonetheless, rising players are sometimes utilized as sacrifices to bolster a team that has World Series aspirations, and the Yankees can afford to do that right now if they want to compete in 2021.
Who would be a good fit for the New York Yankees?
One fantastic player is Blake Snell, who had a dominant 2020 season with the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays have already indicated they are willing to trade Snell for the right price, and the Yankees have plenty of talent to spare if they want to go that route. Snell isn’t just a premium starter, but he is one of the best in the MLB, posting a 3.24 ERA this past season in over 50 innings pitched. He earned a career-high 49.2% ground ball rate (perfect for Yankee Stadium) and 11.34 strikeouts per nine. As for his pitches (he’s a lefty, another BONUS!), he utilized his slider more than ever before, seeing a decrease in his curveball and consistency with his changeup and fastball.
It seems as if Snell has found more success utilizing his slider, about 10% more in 2020 compared to 2019. This translated to better numbers across-the-board, and his pitch velocity has hovered at a consistent range.
The Yankees would have to give up some quality players and exchange for Blake, though. If I were Cashman, I would gauge interest in potentially including Deivi Garcia, Miguel Andujar, and another prospect for Snell, who would immediately make the Yankees’ starting rotation one of the best in baseball. García showed some solid stuff in 2020, but he is still a few years away from being considered a top-flight pitcher if he ever reaches that level. The Yankees can acquire an ace right now, who is only earning $10 million per season, fitting perfectly into their cash flow situation.
The Rays might be unwilling to deal with the Yankees based on their competitive nature in the AL East, but if they are willing to part ways with Snell for some quality prospects and starting level talent, the Yankees shouldn’t hesitate to make an offer.