Even though the Yankees won last night, they must stare at a long road ahead if they have any dreams of getting back into contention. Since they still trail five other AL teams simply for a second Wild Card spot, the more pragmatic move would be to sell. They haven’t even been two games over .500 since April 12th, and they’ve have shown very little indication of any capability to stay in the hunt.
Unsurprisingly, the teams that are actually at the forefront of the AL have shown an interest in the Yankees’ top players, and those rumors will only increase as the July 31st trade deadline draws closer. George King of the New York Post reported a whole bunch of different rumors in an article yesterday, mentioning Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, and Carlos Beltran:
Chapman has been scouted by the Nationals, Cubs and Rangers. The Royals and Yankees talked about a deal earlier this season involving Beltran and right-hander Luke Hochevar’s name was involved. The Cubs have designated Miller their No. 1 trade priority.
The Nationals had a scout in San Diego and this weekend at Yankee Stadium looking at Chapman and Miller and the Washington Post reported Sunday the Yankees had a scout watching Syracuse, the Nationals’ Triple-A club.
The Rangers, who are seeking bullpen help, had a scout at the Stadium all weekend.
King also noted the Pirates’ interest in Nathan Eovaldi, which was mentioned by beat writers in Pittsburgh.
So the Nationals, Cubs, and Rangers all clearly have an interest in Chapman and Miller, though the Rangers would want them to pick up part of Miller’s contract. That seems a little strange since it’s not like Miller’s contract is some great burden considering his performance, but if it helps the Yankees nab a better prospect (Joey Gallo? Lewis Brinson? Jurickson Profar? We can dream.), there’s a strong chance that Brian Cashman would jump at the opportunity. Would Hal Steinbrenner be okay with committing extra money to a non-Yankees player though?
It’s not surprising that the Yankees had scouts in Syracuse anyway, but one could pretty easily deduce that in a dream scenario, the team would love to add infielder Trea Turner, who only recently returned to the big leagues. He is a long shot for anyone but maybe Miller, if GM Mike Rizzo is desperate.
Jeff Passan wrote over the weekend that the player Brian Cashman truly covets is injured Cubs hitter Kyle Schwarber, who is among the game’s elite young power hitters. Even though his future likely lies at DH or at best, first base, Schwarber’s lefty swing already seems perfect for Yankee Stadium and it’s not hard to envision at least 30 homers on the regular from him. It would be tough to convince Cubs president Theo Epstein to relinquish Schwarber, but Miller is so good that it will be very tempting.
Andrew Marchand also suggested that the Yankees could target the less heralded but still potent Cubs first baseman Dan Vogelbach, who is currently hitting .310/.419/.533 in Triple-A Iowa. Those stats are in the Pacific Coast League though, which always inflates hitters, and he entered the year as only the Cubs’ 20th ranked prospect. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Cashman add Schwarber or Vogelbach even with Greg Bird returning in 2017 since they could certainly incorporate shared time at first, particularly with Bird returning from shoulder surgery. However, Vogelbach is so far behind on the spectrum that he could only be seen as part of a bigger package for Miller or Chapman. It’s doubtful that he would be the lead; he just isn’t that kind of prospect.
On the topic of odd names in trade talks, Hochever’s inclusion in the Beltran trade talks with Kansas City is peculiar. Sure, he is a good reliever who has that former top prospect sheen that Cashman loves, but that was a long time ago. He is now 33 and only has a $7 million mutual option on his current contract for 2017. It wouldn’t be surprising if Royals GM Dayton Moore tried to sell Cashman on acquiring Hochevar to fill in for one of the potentially departing bullpen aces, but the return for Beltran would have to be more than just Hochevar. He doesn’t help the Yankees’ future all that much, and while Beltran can’t really play defense, his power bat and clubhouse presence would likely be desired on multiple contenders.
Stay tuned for more trade rumors, as they aren’t going away anytime soon.