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Yankees trade rumors: New York could send Brett Gardner to Indians for starting pitching

With the Tribe looking to bolster their outfield depth and the Yankees searching for rotation help, the two teams have discussed a few trade possibilities this offseason.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

With star outfielder Michael Brantley going under the knife for shoulder surgery, the Cleveland Indians are looking to acquire depth in the outfield, even if it costs them one of their enigmatic starting pitchers. According to Jon Morosi at Fox Sports, the Yankees have discussed such a trade with the Tribe, joining the Los Angeles Dodgers and Toronto Blue Jays in preliminary discussions. Assuming 2014 Cy Young Winner Corey Kluber is staying put, that leaves Danny Salazar, Carlos Carrasco, and Trevor Bauer as the logical options to be moved this winter.

Salazar, a flame-throwing righty from the Dominican Republic, has shown flashes of dominance, but has routinely failed to put a long stretch of sustained success together. In 2015, he threw a slider or curveball just over 10% of the time, according to Brooks Baseball. This low number suggests a lack of confidence in his breaking pitches. In spite of his good splitter, lefties have fared well against Salazar, taking advantage of the monotony in his fastball-heavy game plan. However, he does boast impressive peripheral stats, with over nine K/9 in 2015. He had a 3.13 ERA over 86.1 innings in the second half of 2015, so he might be on the verge of a huge breakout.

Carlos Carrasco has also had his fair share of ups and downs for the Indians. Since returning to the starting rotation in late 2014, Carrasco has been extremely impressive. He can get groundballs and whiffs using a mid 90's fastball and sinker, in addition to a slider, curveball and changeup that have confounded hitters. Going by metrics like FIP, Carrasco has been a front of the rotation starter for over a year. Between his sabermetric stats and his team-friendly contract, he will be the toughest to pry away from the Indians.

Trevor Bauer, the third overall pick in the 2011 draft, is known for his quirky approach to pitching. He is known to pay close attention to the spin rates of all of his pitches, and will post videos of his mechanics in super slow-mo on his YouTube page. However, he has a history of giving up a lot of fly balls and walks, two traits that don't help righties at Yankee Stadium. An extremely analytics-friendly team with a pitcher-friendly ballpark like the Dodgers would probably be a better fit for Bauer's services than the Yankees.

The logical return for one of these three pitchers would probably include a package centered around Brett Gardner. If the Yankees decide to target Carrasco, they would need to throw in a prospect or two. While the Yankees have been reluctant to trade away prospects who are near or at the MLB level, a lower level prospects like Domingo Acevedo or Jorge Mateo might get a conversation started. Do you think the Yankees and Indians could make a deal this offseason? Let us know in the comment section!