We are almost two weeks away from the August 1 trade deadline, and while the Yankees have yet to admit they are sellers, they seem to be keeping their options open. Brian Cashman has admitted to engaging in both sides of the conversation, entertaining the idea of selling while also exploring adding to the roster. When it comes to selling, the Yankees have spoken to the Pirates about possibly trading Nathan Eovaldi to Pittsburgh.
The Pirate rotation is currently a wreck with Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon on the disabled list, Francisco Liriano struggling and Jeff Locke struggling, and Jon Niese recently being moved to the bullpen. Still, Eovaldi's 5.11 ERA and 5.04 FIP in 2016 doesn't make him out to be the missing piece that will keep Pittsburgh in the playoff chase (they are now just 2.5 games out of the wild card), and they expect Cole and Taillon to return soon with top prospect Tyler Glasnow expected to be called back up as well.
Along with a need for rotation help, Pittsburgh could also use some reinforcements for the bullpen after closer Mark Melancon. Eovaldi has pitched better since being converted to relief, but he's only thrown 7.2 innings so far. The Pirates have been known to get the most out of their pitchers, but it's hard to see what he might offer over the rest of their options.
As Rob Biertempfel of triblive.com mentions, the Pirates might have to be willing to give up pitchers Chad Kuhl, Trevor Williams or Steven Brault. All three are still in their early 20s, have considerable experience at Triple-A, and some have even reach the majors already. While Williams could end up as a reliever, they are all expected to be mid-to-backend starters and acquiring any of them for Eovaldi would be a great deal for the Yankees. Even if these three are off the table, Pittsburgh has enough pitching in their system to make it a worthwhile deal for New York.
While Eovaldi holds a lot of potential in his 100 mph fastball, the Yankees have clearly been unable to unlock his talent. If Pittsburgh thinks they can figure him out, I say let them have a go and don't look back. Eovaldi is only under contract for one more year, while Kuhl, Williams, and Brault will be team controlled for quite some time. A solid, reliable four or five starter would be a nice thing to have in New York, especially given the roller coaster ride that has been the rotation this season.
Buried within Biertempfel's story is also mention of the Texas Rangers having interest in Eovaldi too. Currently in first place in the AL West, the Rangers are a team that could benefit from an improved pitching staff. They currently have one of the worst bullpens in baseball and their rotation could use some work, so in this case it's hard to see how Eovaldi couldn't help out if he regains his form even slightly. Despite the talent in their system, most of their top prospects have a few years to go before reaching the majors. If Eovaldi were to go to Texas it would be in return for a more projectable player.