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MLB Trade Deadline: Yankees talking to Twins about José Berríos

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The Bombers have added heavy hitters, but their pitching could definitely still use a boost.

MLB: ALDS-Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The MLB Trade Deadline hits at 4pm ET today, and while the Yankees have done some good work in adding big bats Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo, they don’t look like a finished product just yet. I really enjoy Nestor Cortes Jr., but few teams can simultaneously have Cortes in their starting rotation and look like a finished product at the same time. Jordan Montgomery and Jameson Taillon have pitched better than expected recently, and Domingo Germán finished his last start six outs shy of a no-hitter.

Yet despite that potential, it’s hard to have a ton of confidence in the rotation as it currently stands. It doesn’t really matter that Corey Kluber and Luis Severino are on the comeback trail — the 2021 Yankees don’t have time to squander more starts and need to win every game they possibly can.

The answer might very well be Twins starter José Berríos, and according to Mark Feinsand and Joel Sherman, the Yankees have talked to Minnesota about him:

Berríos has been one of the few bright spots for the Twins in 2021. He has a 3.48 ERA (79 ERA-), 3.57 FIP (85 FIP-), and 1.04 WHIP in 20 starts, 121.2 innings of work. The 27-year-old righty doesn’t walk many batters (2.4 BB/9), strikes out more than a batter per nine (9.3 K/9), and uses a four-pitch mix to generate one of the highest chase rates in the game (83rd percentile).

The most alluring part about Berríos is the same aspect that made Gallo in particular such a smart move: he’s under team control through the end of 2022, as well. So even if this last-ditch scramble of a run for the 2021 group goes nowhere, the Yankees will have a whole fresh season of Berríos to enjoy next year.

Of course, it is for that exact reason why Berríos will not be as comparatively cheap as Rizzo. In fact, there’s a solid chance that he could cost more than Gallo since the Twins have a much better chance of contending in 2022 than the Rangers did. Despite currently occupying last place in the AL Central, their organization is in a better position than Texas.

Experts considered Minnesota to be firmly in the AL Central hunt in 2021, and while the campaign has been a nightmare, the idea of the two-time defending division champions returning to form next year with Berríos in tow is far from inconceivable. So while they’re listening to offers, they could reasonably keep him, too.

Of course shortly after I typed that, the latest reports as of 12:15pm ET now indicate that Berríos will, in fact, move:

Ken Rosenthal reports that the Blue Jays are the leading favorite to get Berríos after being unable to land Max Scherzer. They really need pitching help beyond Hyun Jin Ryu, so they may meet the Twins’ demands.

As Baseball America’s Josh Norris notes, the Yankees still plenty of prospect depth to deploy, especially in the pitching department. For a guy as steady as Berríos, who can also help the team in 2022, it’s something the team should seriously consider.

We’ll keep you posted as the deadline approaches.

Update

Welp, so much for that. Berríos is going to Toronto for quite a hefty pair of prospects. Make your own judgments about whether or not you would’ve wanted to see the Yankees meet a similar ask for Berríos.