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Yankees potential trade target: Germán Márquez

The Colorado Rockies’ righty is not as cheap as he used to be, but has excellent secondaries. Getting him out of Coors will only help his numbers.

Colorado Rockies v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Germán Márquez has been around forever, and we have been talking about him as a potential trade piece for years. You probably would be surprised, however, to learn that he is somehow 27 years old, theoretically in the prime of his career.

The Colorado Rockies’ righty isn’t having his best season. Before Friday’s games, he has a 5.25 ERA (4.69 FIP, 3.95 xFIP) in 109.2 innings, with a 19 percent strikeout rate and a 7.9 percent walk rate. Most, if not all, of those numbers are career-worsts, but do offer a potentially enticing buying opportunity.

Márquez is young, and was very good as recently as last year – when he had a 3.86 FIP and pitched 180 frames – and because of that, and the fact he is not controllable for a long time on the cheap anymore, the acquisition cost could be lower this time.

The right-hander is making $11 million this year. That figure will go up to $15 million in 2023, and his club has an option to extend the pact for 2024 for $16 million. That’s potentially two and half years of control if the option is picked up. Before 2019, Colorado signed him to a five-year, $43 million pact. His trade value soared back then, as he made $1 million that year, $4.5 million in 2020, and $7.5 million in 2021. But the Rockies opted to keep him. Now, he is not as valuable.

Márquez would be an exciting project for Matt Blake and the rest of the Yankees’ pitching masterminds. Despite his high ERA, he hasn’t lost any velocity: in fact, his four-seam fastball is half a tick faster this year, at 95.3 mph. Some of his problems stem from the fact he insists on throwing a lousy sinker more than 20 percent of the time, at 22.4 percent. Batters are slugging .528 off it, and have a .407 xwOBA. It’s whiff rate is a comically low 9.7 percent. Instead, he should focus on his slider, curveball, and changeup, all with a whiff rate well over 30 percent. With the Yankees’ ‘lab’ helping him, he could make strides with the shape of his fastball and optimize the pitch to unlock better results overall.

Márquez is not an overly exciting name like he was a couple of years ago. But with Luis Castillo on his way to Seattle and Frankie Montas’ status unknown as of the time of writing, he could be a nice alternative for New York. The prospect cost should definitely be lower than it would be for either of those superior hurlers.

However, the Rockies are not the most predictable franchise out there. In consecutive years, they traded star third baseman Nolan Arenado and signed fellow infielder Kris Bryant to a huge free agent deal. Who knows what they will do with Márquez.

Most Yankees fans will probably prefer to see them pursue other names before Márquez, but he has been successful in the past and pitches half of his games at Coors Field. He has a career 4.91 ERA at home and a 3.89 mark away from the mountains. Just getting him out of Coors will help his numbers, and let’s face it — the Yankees’ player development and coaching staff can do a much better job than the Rockies. Some untapped potential in Márquez might still exist, and it could be fun to find out.