As baseball enters the last weekend before the trade deadline on Sunday, the trade rumor mill is buzzing louder than ever. This morning, so-so pitchers Andrew Cashner and Colin Rea were dealt from the Padres to the Marlins in exchange for some pretty big names, including top prospect Josh Naylor and the rehabbing-but-overpowering Carter Capps. Yahoo’s Jeff Passan also said that the Phillies’ Jeremy Hellickson might fetch three or four prospects—it’s a seller’s market, and the barely-contending Yankees should really jump into it.
That last point rings particularly true with a new rumor about closer Andrew Miller and the Nationals. The Yankees have been understandably reluctant to deal him, but everyone should be available for the right price. Now, it seems like they have finally received an offer worthy of the elite reliever. Per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, the Nationals are willing to part with Lucas Giolito in exchange for Miller. The back of their bullpen is a mess with Jonathan Papelbon struggling while they try to fend off their NL East opponents. They would love to solidify it with Miller, last year’s AL Reliever of the Year.
Simply put, the Yankees are fools if they don’t accept this potential deal. If it’s real, then they would be adding the best pitching prospect in baseball to their farm system. That’s not hyperbole. Lucas Giolito is, by many accounts, the game’s most prestigious young arm. In MLB.com’s midseason update, the 6’6” 22-year-old right-hander was ranked fourth overall and the best pitcher. Giolito was ineligible for the Baseball Prospectus midseason list since he was in the majors, but prior to 2016, he was ranked third overall and again, the top pitcher. Baseball America had the Cardinals’ Alex Reyes just ahead of Giolito in their midseason update, but Giolito was the fourth-best prospect and behind only Reyes among pitchers.
Giolito is the real deal, and the Yankees don’t receive many opportunities to add such an elite prospect. He’s an even better return than Gleyber Torres and far superior to Luis Severino, even at his pitching prospect peak. Other than Severino, there are not many well-liked pitchers in the Yankees’ system. James Kaprielian and Ian Clarkin are both nice but hurt, and Domingo Acevedo is all the way down in High-A Tampa (and older than Giolito).
Miller is a ton of fun to watch and a tremendous closer, but at the end of the day, he’s only a closer under control through 2018. Mariano Rivera wouldn’t have been as valuable without standout starters like Andy Pettitte and David Cone around to get the ball to him. Prospects are no guarantee, but Giolito is as highly touted as they come. The fact that he has excellent makeup doesn’t hurt, either. Eventually, teams have to roll the dice, and this is one trade the Yankees really should make.
Per Jon Heyman, the Yankees have also been asked about Miller by the Cardinals, Indians, Giants, and Rangers. If they’re not taking this supposed Giolito offer now, the only acceptable reason is that they’re trying to get a little bit more in this seller’s market, either from the Nats or one of those teams. The rationale absolutely cannot be their fringe hopes of contending in 2016. Their playoff odds are not great and they trail multiple teams in both the AL East and Wild Card standings.
Is that tiny percentage of postseason aspirations really worth refusing to invest in the future? I hope not. Please make this trade.
for the record, yankees would not do this https://t.co/dPM9QZdJk2— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 29, 2016
The Yankees are really annoying, you guys.