The Yankees are in serious need of a starting pitcher or two. Jordan Montgomery is lost for the year, Masahiro Tanaka is on the disabled list, and Sonny Gray is wildly inconsistent. Domingo German is holding his own, and Jonathan Loaisiga is about to get the call, but if this team wants to assemble a rotation worthy of a World Series contender, they will have to add more talent relatively soon. The only question is who will the Yankees have to part with.
This year’s team is in a rather interesting position because they have very few holes on their roster. Every position on the field is filled by either established talent or young emerging players like Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar who shouldn’t be going anywhere. To part with any of these player in order to upgrade the rotation would be like shooting yourself in the foot, so the Yankees will have to look elsewhere. There are quite a few players in the minor leagues who would make the perfect trade chip at this year’s trade deadline.
Major League Ready Talent
There are a few pieces in the Yankees system who are major league ready. Playing baseball is hard, and even when things work out, not every player is destined to stick around. Someone like Clint Frazier should be a starter in the big leagues right now, but an outfield that is already stuffed with Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Brett Gardner, and Aaron Hicks isn’t going to afford him the time he deserves. At this point, Frazier may be the team’s best trade chip because whatever team acquires him could stick him in their lineup immediately.
Other major league ready talent includes lefty starter Josh Rogers. He has a 3.72 ERA in 67.2 innings with the RailRiders, which should be good enough to earn a call-up, but if the Yankees don’t think he’s good enough, maybe another team will. Rogers isn’t a top prospect, but he is an interesting arm who could prove to be of use to a rebuilding team. Another guy who could be a valuable piece at the big league level is Billy McKinney. He’d be a fourth outfielder for a contender looking for an extra bat, and even a starter for an organization looking to compile young talent.
It’s also good to have a few guys who can sweeten the pot a little, even if they aren’t going to attract too much interest on their own. J.P. Feyereisen is a bullpen arm who has a 1.76 ERA in 30.2 innings and could be called up now. Tyler Wade has struggled this year, but he has the ability to play multiple positions and has impressive speed on the base paths. If a team is interested in adding a super utility guy with the potential to be more as he matures, Wade could get some attention.
Developing Top Talent
The Yankees have developed a lot of young position player in recent years, but right now, eight of the organization’s top 10 prospects are pitchers. Many of them will need another year or more of development time before they become real major league options. It is because of this reason that the Yankees may choose to sacrifice some of their future for a better chance at winning right now. They are so good in 2018, that trading away the likes of Justus Sheffield, Domingo Acevedo, and Albert Abreu could actually happen. At the pace he’s going though, hopefully Sheffield will be up before the end of the year.
Other developing guys include outfielder Estevan Florial, who has just graduated to being the team’s top prospect. He recently underwent season-ending hamate bone surgery, but it won’t cause any long-term damage. Florial struggled this year, but so many teams thinks highly enough of him that they would happily take him for a chance at a future star outfielder. Middle infielder Thairo Estrada has also struggled, but he was shot in the offseason, so you can’t be too hard on him. He’s still just 22 playing in Triple-A and is now the 8th-best prospect in the system. A team will definitely take him.
There are also a few players on the back end of the top 30 prospect list who could find themselves traded if the right deal came along. Cody Carroll has a 2.51 ERA and 12.2 K/9 in 28.2 out of the bullpen for Scranton, and he ranks 15th in the organization. Recent draft picks Trevor Lane and Garrett Whitlock are off to promising professional careers and currently rank 25 and 26, respectively.
The Yankees are loaded with talent at the big league level and in the minors, so there will be no shortage of trade pieces to deal in July. The problem will be finding the right talent to use these pieces for. Hopefully Brian Cashman can make the unexpected move, like he so often does, in order to make this winning team even better.