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Yankees potential trade partner: Los Angeles Angels

Can Brian Cashman swing a trade with one of his former lieutenants?

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Kansas City Royals Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

As the baseball world waits on the Manny Machado trade saga to play out, it appears as if Brian Cashman is keeping all options open. According to Jon Morosi, the Yankees have scouted the Los Angeles Angels in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

It’s been a remarkable fall for the Angels, who got off to a blistering start. Many saw them as a postseason caliber squad. They now sit in fourth place, 14 games out of first place. They remain 10 games out of the second Wild Card, with three teams ahead of them.

Injuries ravaged the club, notably removing Shohei Ohtani from the rotation. They also lost Garrett Richards to Tommy John surgery last week. If the club doesn’t have a path to contend, it makes sense to explore what your pieces could fetch. What exactly do the Angels have to offer, though?

Morosi identifies two pitchers as possible fits for the Yankees: Tyler Skaggs and Andrew Heaney, a pair of 27-year-old southpaws. Skaggs is in the midst of a career year. He’s pitched to a 2.57 ERA over 98 innings. His peripherals have been outstanding, as well. The southpaw owns a 3.00 FIP and a career-best 9.64 K/9. He also generates a healthy 47.9% groundball rate.

The question, of course, is if Skaggs can maintain this level of production. He is pitching far more effectively than at any other point in his career. It helps that he’s healthy for once, and entering his physical peak. That may be all there is to it. There’s little in his pitch selection to show that he’s made any significant changes.

Skaggs is a young, controllable pitcher. He won’t reach free agency until 2021. That makes him attractive, but also expensive. He represents an intriguing target, though. It’s worth giving him a closer look in an individual post.

Heaney, on the other hand, has pitched to a 3.84 ERA (3.79 FIP) over 96 innings. Like Skaggs, Heaney’s been injury prone for most of his career. The good news is his strikeout rate’s up. He also strikes me as the type of pitcher who could succeed with the Yankees’ anti-fastball approach. Heaney has strong offspeed pitches, notably a curveball and changeup. Plus, he isn’t scheduled to hit free agency until 2022.

On the downside, Heaney has a tendency to give up home runs. The 1.13 HR/9 in 2018 is actually far better than his career average. His overall results have also been less than exciting. Combine that with his ugly injury history and one can see this as a project trade.

No evidence exists that any negotiations are ongoing. This could be due diligence. Skaggs interests me because of his newfound success. There’s a lot to like. Heaney seems like more trouble than he’s worth, though. The Yankees should be targeting impact arms, not projects.