clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

These Yankees should be available at the deadline

If the Yankees want a quality arm, they need to be ready to deal future assets.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

As the old adage goes, “you have to give value to get value,” and if the Yankees are going to land a top arm on the trade market this summer, fans should expect the team to surrender some of its top young players. Whether it’s Matthew Boyd, Marcus Stroman, or even Robbie Ray, the Yankees aren’t going to land anyone useful with a package centered around Jacoby Ellsbury, Chance Adams, and Greg Bird. If the Yankees are going to land a big-time arm, here are some players they should absolutely consider dealing:

Clint Frazier

Why he has trade value:
The primary reason Frazier has value on the trade market is that he already had a degree of success at the big league level. His 117 wRC+ in the majors this season indicates he’s been an above-average offensive presence. For all Yankees with at least 200 plate appearances in 2019, he ranks third on the team in isolated power. He still strikes out at an above-average rate, but he has brought his strikeout percentage down to 28.2% from 31.7% last year and 30.3% in 2017.

Despite exceeding the rookie limit in 2017, Frazier is still a young player. He’s only 24-years-old and can’t become a free agent until at least 2024. Any team that trades for Frazier gets a big-league-ready player who is cost-controlled for the next five seasons.

Why the Yankees might deal him:
For starters, the Yankees have plenty outfielders. Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, and Brett Gardner are all healthy, and Frazier isn’t going to get a shot over them right now. Having him sit on the bench or play in Triple-A doesn’t do the Yankees much good when they so clearly need some pitching help.

It’s probably prudent to mention his defense here. Obviously, Frazier’s defense is not good, but the Yankees have historically exhibited some tolerance for terrible defense as long as a player can back it up at the plate. Miguel Andujar certainly comes to mind as the most recent example. Defense could definitely be a reason the Yankees look to deal him. I’m just not so sure it’ll be THE reason.

There’s also just the feeling I get that the Yankees as an organization just don’t love Clint Frazier, the person. The Yankees drill their players about off the field conduct. They held Captain’s Camp for a number of years and have almost always given players extensive media training. I’m definitely speculating here, but Frazier’s refusal to talk to the media, the subsequent fallout, and his demotion seemed linked.

Only a few days after not taking any questions, the Yankees shipped Frazier down to Triple-A when he and Mike Tauchman both held active roster spots. Then, they recalled Tauchman prior to the London Series when both players were available. Tauchman is still on the active roster, and Yankee fans haven’t heard much from Frazier since.

Estevan Florial

Why he has trade value:
Depending on which list you consult, Estevan Florial could still be considered the Yankees’ top prospect. With a system as deep as the Yankees’, that’s no small feat by any means. Prior to the start of the season, FanGraphs listed Florial as the only prospect in the system with a 50 or higher future value (FV) and believed him to be “an exciting, but flawed everyday player.

The reasons he is so highly thought of are clear. He’s regarded as a strong defender who has the legs and arm to stay in centerfield. Offensively, he has great raw power from the left side and gets good lift from his swing, which could play really well in these homer-centric times.

Why the Yankees might deal him:
If a team demands Florial in a trade, the Yankees might do well to send him packing for a number of reasons. He’s still at least a year away from the big leagues, and if the Yankees find themselves a piece or two away from a World Series win in 2019, trading a future asset could be rationalized. Still, even if he’s ready for the big leagues in a year, the Yankees don’t exactly have a ton of space in the outfield, assuming everyone is healthy. Hicks, Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and possibly Frazier are still ahead of him on the depth chart.

Florial is also a volatile prospect. His raw power hasn’t translated into game power just yet, so he isn’t much of a homer threat. Even scarier, he doesn’t make much contact either. His hit tool grades out at about a 30 right now, and his 25.7% strikeout rate at Advanced-A ball last year was the best rate of his young career.

Roansy Contreras

Why he has value:
Contreras isn’t the most highly-regarded pitching prospect in the Yankee system, but he’s in the conversation for second-best and is the youngest Yankee prospect in full-season ball. At just 19, he has already logged over 100 innings at Low-A Charleston and is well on his way to future success in the big leagues.

Contreras possesses a great fastball. His velocity sits between 92-96 MPH and has some seriously good spin rate. FanGraphs measures it at 2450 RPM. He also makes use of a curveball that has a future grade of 60 and a changeup that currently lags behind the other two pitches. Here’s some video:

Why the Yankees might deal him:
If there’s one thing the Yankees have in abundance it’s right-handed starting pitching. Contreras represents someone who the Yankees might feel comfortable dealing and a pitcher other teams could be interested in. He’s not the prize of the system like Deivi Garcia, which suits the Yankees. Plus, he’s not quite as volatile as Luis Gil or Luis Medina without being too injury-prone like Jonathan Loaisiga.

If a team is interested in Contreras, the Yankees could do well to part ways. He’s only 19, which is great on one hand, but on the other, pitchers break all the time. Dealing a 19-year-old for a legitimate rotation option could be worth it.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are definitely more movable prospects than untouchable in the Yankees’ system. I’m also not necessarily advocating the Yankees packages these three players together in a single trade. It seems pretty obvious the Yankees are going to engage the market for a starting pitcher, and if they want a quality arm, they need to be ready to send value back. These three players all have legitimate value but aren’t ready to contribute to the big league club yet. If the Yankees want to win now, they’re going to need to sell off some future assets.