The Yankees were relatively quiet in the run-up to the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline, only acquiring the now-injured Dustin Ackley. This was back when the team had a seven game lead in the division of course. Now being neck-and-neck with the Blue Jays might prompt a little more aggressiveness in the August trade market.
Players moved after July 31st need to clear waivers before they can be dealt freely to any team, and one such player now available is Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes
Once among the very best shortstops in the game, the 32-year old Reyes has seen his production decline across the board this season. After a decade of being an above-average hitter at an offensively barren position, Reyes is down to 82 wRC+ this year; his .273/.309/.366 slash line would be his worst since 2004. His offensive numbers have tumbled precipitously since being traded in the Troy Tulowitzki deal: .214/.237/.268 slash, .222 wOBA, 18 wRC+ in 14 Rockies games. While with the Blue Jays, Reyes was on course to a season just below league-average–95 wRC+, .310 wOBA–so a big part of any interest in acquiring him at this point might be a hope that he's still the player from the first half; that the last couple of weeks have just been a tough slump and less indicative of true performance going forward.
Historically a player who has struggled with injuries, one good thing about Reyes' 2015 is that he has largely remained healthy, playing 83 games so far this year, coming off 143 games played in 2014. He's also stolen 19 bases and been worth 2.2 base-running runs over average, for those looking for someone to spark the dormant running game. Reyes is no longer a plus defender at shortstop, but with Didi Gregorius settled into the position the likelihood is the Yankees might look to move him to second base, a position he has played 43 major league games at back in 2004. Even a declining Reyes should be an upgrade over Stephen Drew and Brendan Ryan for the rest of 2015.
The issue with looking to add Reyes might be less about 2015 and more about the coming years, though. Naturally, him not being claimed by any team implies no team was willing to simply assume the entirety of his remaining contract. Reyes is due the remaining prorated portion of $22 million for the rest of this season, and another $22 million a year in 2016 and 2017. There is also a $4 million buy-out that will almost certainly be paid instead of picking up Reyes' 2018 option for the same $22 million salary. It all adds up to a minimum of $48 million due to Reyes after this year, which is hardly a bargain for a declining veteran who hasn't always stayed healthy. The Rockies will have to pick up some of it to make a deal happen; something Colorado could be open to, given Reyes was acquired initially to help balance out some of the remaining dollars left on the Tulowitzki contract. How much, though, likely depends on the type of prospects the Rockies would be getting back.
If the Yankees have indeed had contact with the Rockies over Reyes they might be looking to offer primarily salary relief, and minimize the prospect cost. This may not end up being the type of deal to interest Colorado, a rebuilding team that may be looking to stockpile future assets over immediate payroll flexibility, but it is difficult to imagine the Yankees parting with upper-level prospect talent for Reyes at this point. If this deal were to go through, it might require the Rockies to to move Reyes out for a smaller return towards clearing playing time for Cristhian Adames now until Trevor Story is ready. They also might look to trade Reyes before the risk of injury leaves them with the entirety of the remaining contract.
If Colorado would be looking to add pitching depth at the level of Bryan Mitchell, and for the Yankees to take on the majority of the remaining deal, there could be a fit. Personally I'd be opposed to the deal even then, I don't think adding Reyes to cover second base is enough of a difference-maker for the rest of 2015 in order to make up for the continued decline that will take place in the remaining two seasons of the contract. If the Rockies eat a third of the remaining deal or so, it will still leave upwards of $15 million a year for the Yankees to pay Reyes, and that is money that can be better spent elsewhere.
What do you think? Should the Yankees pursue Jose Reyes? What type of deal would you look for the Yankees to do here?