The New York Yankees are in need of some help if they want to make a push for the playoffs. Who should they be looking to trade for?
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The Yankees have been linked to a number of different pitchers this offseason, but one name that keeps popping up is Sonny Gray of the Oakland Athletics. Gray is a young pitcher with a lot of potential, and the Yankees are in need of starting pitching. However, there are a few things to consider before making a trade for Gray. Let’s take a look.
Sonny Gray is a young, talented pitcher who definitely has the potential to be a top-of-the-rotation type starter. He’s already had some success at the major league level, and if he can stay healthy, there’s no reason why he can’t be a very good pitcher for many years to come.
Cubs fans would point to Gray’s struggles at Wrigley Field last season as a reason he wouldn’t be a good fit in Chicago. In two starts there, he gave up 15 earned runs in 10 innings pitched.
Gerrit Cole is a starting pitcher who plays for the Houston Astros. Cole is entering his sixth season in the majors, and he is coming off a career year in which he went 15-5 with a 2.88 ERA and 276 strikeouts. Cole is one of the best pitchers in baseball, and the Yankees should trade for him.
The 27-year-old righty is coming off his best season to date, one in which he went 19-8 with a 2.60 ERA (166 ERA+) and 1.09 WHIP in 212 innings pitched. He also struck out 276 batters, good for a league-leading 11.9 K/9, and finished fourth in Cy Young voting.
While Cole has been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the past few seasons, there are a few reasons why the Yankees should be careful about trading for him. First, Cole is going to be 29 years old next season, and pitchers tend to start declining around that age. Second, Cole has only pitched more than 200 innings twice in his career, so there is some concern about his durability. Finally, Cole will be a free agent after next season, so the Yankees would have to give up a lot of prospects to acquire him and then would only have him for one year.
The Tampa Bay Rays have been one of the most surprising teams in baseball this season. They are currently in first place in the AL East and are on pace to make the playoffs for the first time since 2013. Chris Archer has been a big part of their success. He is 6-4 with a 3.70 ERA and 130 strikeouts in 112 innings pitched. The Yankees should trade for Chris Archer.
The main reason Archer would make sense for the Yankees is that he’s a top-of-the-rotation starter who wouldn’t cost nearly as much in terms of prospects as some of the other names on the market. At 28, Archer is in his prime and under team control through 2021, so he would give the Yankees a long-term solution at a position of need.
Archer isn’t a perfect pitcher — his strikeout rate has dipped in each of the last three seasons and he’s been prone to giving up the long ball — but he’s still a very good pitcher who would solidify the back end of the Yankees’ rotation. The tradeoff for not having to give up as many prospects would be that Archer is owed $27.5 million over the next three seasons, which isn’t an insignificant amount of money.
Chris Archer is a good pitcher, but he’s not worth the price the Yankees would have to pay to get him. The Rays would want at least two of the Yankees’ top prospects, and they’re not going to be cheap. Archer is also 28 years old and has only been an above average pitcher for two seasons. He’s not worth the risk.
The Yankees have been linked to a number of trade targets as the July 31st deadline approaches, and one name that has surfaced is Michael Fulmer of the Detroit Tigers. Fulmer is a young, controllable starting pitcher who would be a welcomed addition to any team’s rotation, but especially the Yankees.
Michael Fulmer is a 25-year-old right-handed pitcher who has already had two very good seasons in the majors. He was an All-Star in 2016, and he won the AL Rookie of the Year award that year as well. He finished 3rd in the AL Cy Young voting in 2017.
Fulmer has a career 3.50 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 46 starts. His career FIP is 3.61, which is very good. He has only allowed 19 home runs in his 298 innings pitched, which is excellent.
Fulmer’s season has beenendonishedby an oblique injury, but even if he were healthy, the Yankees would likely be reluctant to add him to the rotation. The 25-year-old right-hander is arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason and is under team control for two more seasons, so he would be a pricey acquisition. Considering Fulmer’s recent struggles and health concerns, the Yankees may be better off targeting another starting pitcher on the trade market.
The Yankees need to add another top of the line starter to their pitching staff and they should do whatever it takes to get Justin Verlander from the Tigers. Verlander is one of the best pitchers in baseball and would instantly make the Yankees’ pitching staff one of the best in the league. He would also be a great mentor for the younger pitchers on the team.
-He is a durable workhorse. He has pitched 200 or more innings 10 times in his career, including each of the last nine seasons.
-He is still an excellent pitcher. He went 16-5 with a 2.52 ERA and 0.902 WHIP last season. His strikeout rate (9.7 K/9) was the best of his career, and he held opponents to a .202 batting average, also a career best.
-He has postseason experience. Verlander has pitched in 29 postseason games (27 starts), posting a 3.39 ERA and 1.091 WHIP with 193 strikeouts in 187 innings pitched.
-He is familiar with the AL East having spent his entire career with the Tigers.
-His contract runs through 2019, and will pay him $28 million in each of those seasons.
-He will turn 36 in 2019.
-Injury risk. Verlander has a long history of arm problems, including Tommy John surgery in 2014.
-He’s not as good as he used to be. Verlander was once one of the best pitchers in baseball, but he’s no longer an ace. HisERA+ has declined in each of the last four seasons, and he was just average in 2017 (108 ERA+).