With 11 players currently sidelined on the IL for various lengths of time, finding one trade that solves all (or at least most) of the Yankees’ problems is a daunting task. Although it is important to recognize that it’s only April and this is still a strong team, the Yankees undoubtedly need both short and long term help on the roster to seriously compete. With that in mind, here’s the trade that I’ve come up with to try and fill as many holes as possible:
It’s a lot, and the fact that it’s a four-team deal probably makes it less realistic (plus they’re technically separate trades, but they all work together), but for the sake of brevity let’s assume that the other teams will go along with a version of this deal that maintains the major pieces (even if the Mariners might be a little reluctant). So, how does this trade change the Yankees’ roster?
Swap Greg Bird for Daniel Vogelbach
If you’re looking for a legitimate breakout on the red-hot Mariners, look no further than Vogelbach. I wrote about why Vogelbach could be primed for a breakout this year back in Spring Training, and he’s backed up that claim with a ridiculous 2.096 OPS through his first seven games (no, that isn’t a typo). I’m not exactly sure why the Mariners have suffocated Vogelbach for so long (his career .197/.301/.316 slash line coming into this season might have something to do with it), but he’s paired elite power with solid plate discipline skills since 2017 and is a legitimately impressive hitter (it doesn’t hurt that he’s a lefty either). The Yankees will probably take a step back on defense as it forces either Voit or Vogelbach into the starting first base role, but the gains on offense will be well worth it (even though Vogelbach will obviously cool off somewhat over the rest of the season).
Swap Giovanny Urshela for Hunter Dozier
Dozier’s .229/.278/.395 slash line from last season would give Urshela the edge with his impressive defense, but Dozier finished last year with some intriguing improvements and could be a valuable offensive player this season. Dozier struggles with plate discipline, but he makes a lot of in-zone contact and hits the ball well with strong hard hit and barrel rates. He’s not the flashiest option to fill in for Miguel Andujar, but Dozier’s offensive potential coupled with his defensive versatility (Dozier can play third base, first base, and right field) makes him a better option than the offensively limited, glove focused Urshela.
Add Dylan Bundy to the starting rotation (kind of)
Bundy posted a 5.45 ERA last season and owns a 7.36 ERA so far this year, but he’d be a solid addition to the Yankees’ pitching staff. Here are a few of things to note about Bundy: his slider and changeup are actually pretty good pitches, he’s lost a ton of velocity over the past few seasons, and he’s an effective pitcher when he only goes through the order once (4.28 K:BB, .797 OPS). Here’s something else to consider: Domingo German might have long term upside in the rotation, but he also has the chance to be a force out of the bullpen. Instead of slotting in German as the No. 4 starter, let’s make Bundy an opener and have German come in and pitch afterwards. Bundy’s velocity could rebound and he could focus on his two pretty good pitches, and him and German should make an intimidating pair while shoring up the back end of the Yankee rotation.
Swap Austin Romine for Omar Narvaez
This is the only place where the Yankees will lose on the major league field. Losing Romine will hurt as he’s been a reliable backup option behind Gary Sanchez, but Narvaez has a chance to be a capable backup too. Narvaez struggles on defense and doesn’t hit the ball particularly hard, but he boasts strong plate discipline and contact skills that make up for some of his deficiencies. He’s a step back from Romine, but not incapable of backing up Sanchez.
This trade fills the Yankees’ major holes without sacrificing top prospects or overreacting to a slow start to the season. It doesn’t bring the team back to its full health level, but patches up the injured areas with low cost, high upside options that should allow the Yankees to remain competitive and weather the recent injury storm.