The New York Yankees traded for Edwin Encarnacion on Saturday, creating somewhat of a logjam offensively. Clint Frazier, a young outfielder, who has often been mentioned in trade rumours, is likely to be the odd one out with Luke Voit and Encarnacion sharing first base and DH while Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge occupy the corner outfield slots.
It’s no secret the Yankees want to add starting pitching. Frazier is good depth, and he’s a gifted hitter, but his best value to the Yankees right now is as a trade chip.
The Yankees have a 30% quality start rate, one of the lowest marks in the league. Their starters average just 5.1 innings per start. Domingo German, Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery are all injured.
Frazier may well be the centre of a trade package for a starting pitcher in the coming weeks. Here are three options for the Yankees as they look to improve their rotation…
Bumgarner is a free agent at season’s end, and the San Francisco Giants are a long way from contention. It’s a matter of when, not if, he gets traded away from The Bay.
The 2014 World Series MVP is not the pitcher he once was – his expected numbers are pretty ugly – but his K% has bounced back this year and he’d still be an improvement on this Yankees rotation. Bumgarner is the best active postseason pitcher and can still go deep into games, which would give the Yankees bullpen much-needed rest.
Brian Cashman might see Frazier as an overpay for half a season of this post-peak Bumgarner. He might be right, but it’s also the most obvious deal for the Yankees before the 31st July trade deadline.
Wheeler, like Bumgarner, hits free agency this winter. The Mets are only 6.5 games back in the National League East at the time of writing and would surely prefer to be buyers at the deadline but could well move Wheeler if they fall further behind the surging Braves and stacked Phillies.
His 4.87 ERA isn’t going to get any Yankee fans drooling. The 3.76 FIP and 10 K/9 might do, though.
Wheeler enjoyed a very good 2018, and the advanced metrics quite like him in 2019. A monstrous fastball sets up good off-speed pitches. He may not have the postseason pedigree of Bumgarner, but there’s upside there as we saw with his 1.68 ERA in the second half of 2018.
It’s uncertain whether the Detroit Tigers would trade Boyd right now, as he’s under club control through 2022. Detroit have a farm stacked with pitching prospects, though, and could look to sell-high on the 28-year-old lefty who owns a 3.00 FIP this season.
Riding a brilliant slider and change up – which both have over 40% whiff rates – Boyd is pitching as well as anyone in the American League this season. With the seasons of club control, the Tigers will ask for Frazier and more, which might make Cashman think twice.
Boyd to the Yankees feels like an outside shout. It’s a risk, and the cost will be high, but if it worked out, it would save the Yankees having to make another rotation move this winter.