Yes, yes, we know the Yankees need a starting pitcher. Outside of Luis Severino, the Yankees starting pitchers have been…… suspect, to say the least. Sonny Gray, (last seasons’ big mid-season acquisition.) was brought on in order to be that guy, but so far has looked lost (see the post I wrote about Sonny and his struggles here.)
They desperately need some help at the top of their rotation if they want to have a chance at hoisting the Commissioners Trophy at the end of the season.
The good news is the Yankees farm system is LOADED right now and they also have money to spend; (Spotrac has them listed at 170 million currently; giving them some wiggle room to stay under the 197 million luxury tax threshold.) But with no frontline names currently being floated around, where do they go? I’ve got a few ideas of my own of who is most likely to be traded to the Yankees:
5) Chris Archer, Rays – Age: 29
Contract: 6 yrs 25.5 million (thru 2021) 1.75 million buyout after 2020
3-3, 4.29 ERA, 71.1 IP, 70 SO, 1.304 WHIP, 93 ERA+
Chris Archer is a top of the rotation arm on a team-friendly contract who could easily slot into the number 2 spot in the rotation behind Severino and flourish for the next Yankees dynasty. Only problem is; the Rays apparently want a king’s ransom for him. Not to mention divisional rival trades don’t happen very often, so the asking price for the Yankees would be that much higher. Although it is unlikely, it is at least worth Brian Cashman’s time checking-in.
4) Michael Fulmer, Tigers – Age: 25
Contract: Pre-arbitration, offering control until 2022
2-4, 4.60 ERA, 60.2 IP, 52 SO, 1.368 WHIP, 97 ERA+
The Yankees expressed interest in Michael Fulmer this past offseason and with their desperate need for a controllable starter, Fulmer makes a lot of sense. The 2016 AL Rookie of the Year posted two seasons of 3.0 fWAR in his first two seasons and is a solid option given the starting options currently on the market. A potential deal during the offseason fell through because of Detroit’s extremely high asking price, so if they can come down on their price, I can see Fulmer in pinstripes.
3) Kelvin Herrera, Royals – Age: 28
Contract: FA after 2018 (7.9 million owed)
1-1, 0.83 ERA, 21.2 IP, 18 SO, 0.738 WHIP, 517 (!!!) ERA+
This is where Cashman can get really creative; if he sees no reasonable way to make a trade for a starter, I can actually see him try to make a trade to bolster the bullpen even more. Herrera has had an outstanding start to the 2018 season posting a 517 ERA+ (100 ERA+ is considered league average by the way.) and adding him to an already loaded bullpen would take all the pressure off of the rotation. Slotting him into a late game role and using Chad Green and David Robertson in “high leverage situations” would help the staff greatly.
2) Patrick Corbin, Diamondbacks – Age 28
Contract: FA after 2018 (7.5 million owed)
5-2, 2.99 ERA, 75.1 IP, 98 SO, 0.942 WHIP, 142 ERA+
Corbin started off as one of the hottest pitchers in baseball, posting a 1.89 ERA through his first five starts but has cooled off as of late. As he cooled off, so did his team. The Diamondbacks have fallen hard in their division and it looks like the NL West is going to be a race all season. If Arizona keeps falling, expect the Yankees to get in touch and reach out about the 28-year-old left hander. The groundwork was set during the offseason with rumors of a trade, and the Diamondbacks are familiar with the Yankees farm system from multiple trades within the past few years. Corbin grew up a Yankees fan and now has a very realistic chance to help win them a World Series.
1) Cole Hamels, Rangers – Age 34
Contract: Adjusted salary 20 million; club option for 2019
3-5, 3.74 ERA, 65 IP, 66 SO, 1.167 WHIP, 123 ERA+
Cole Hamels may not a top of the rotation arm anymore at this point of his career, but he sure would help to strengthen their rotation. Hamels has been a pilar of consistency throughout his career; posting 200 IP eight times throughout his career and 200 K’s five separate times. A seasoned veteran like himself would slot into the rotation immediately and help for this postseason, but Cashman claims to want a controllable starter. Whether that will deter the Yankees for making a play at Hamels remains to be seen but if we are talking about fits for the 2018 Yankees and trying to win a World Series this year; Hamels can come over and give you the consistency the rotation currently lacks.