Here are five potential trade options for the Yankees to explore prior to the July 31 trade deadline.
At the age of 34, Scherzer has not missed a beat. The Nationals ace remains one of the most dominant pitchers in the MLB, boasting a 3.06 ERA in 13 games started. Despite his quality performances, Scherzer sits at 3-5 on the year, but that’s a more of a reflection of the team around him rather than his starts, and that team is bad. With the Nationals sitting in fourth place in the NL East with a 28-34 record, the playoffs are not in sight for this rebuilding team. With that in mind, it makes no sense to hold onto Scherzer and his large contract, which is on the books for the next two season. Here come the Yankees.
It helps that the Yanks are one of the few teams in baseball that could take on Scherzer’s massive contract with no issue. They also have one of the strongest farm systems in the league, which could intrigue a rebuilding Nationals team that is building for success down the line. With the Nationals looking to rebuild, and the Yankees looking to win now, a Scherzer for top prospects swap seems like a win-win for both sides.
Similar to Scherzer, Bumgarner is an ace on a team that’s building for the future. However, his prior success with the Giants makes a potential trade complicated. Although it would make sense to trade Bumgarner for future assets, he is a three-time World Series champion and legend in the Bay Area. However, with no World Series in sight, trading Bumgarner would be a great move for the Giants’ franchise. On the last year of his contract, it’s like that Bumgarner may sign with a contender at the end of the season.
Rather than letting him walk for nothing, the Giants have the opportunity to trade him for a large return. The Yankees could be a perfect match, providing intriguing future assets for the Giants while also giving Bumgarner a chance to compete for another World Series title. In order for this trade to come to fruition, Bumgarner would have to waive his no-trade clause, but it seems to be a tactical move to gain more compensation. While he’s off to a slow start, 4-5 with a 4.05 ERA, we all know about MadBum’s magical powers once it hits October. For that reason alone, he’s one of the most enticing candidates for the Yankees, who are in a championship or bust 2019 campaign.
After losing to the Chicago Cubs in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, the Cleveland Indians find themselves in a tricky place. They’ve made the playoffs the past three seasons, but have not been a true contender since 2016. Currently, they sit at 31-31 and are looking to possibly tear it down and build towards another run years down the line. With the recent news that Carlos Carrasco is being shut down indefinitely due to a blood disorder, an Indians rebuild seems even more likely. If this happens, Trevor Bauer will most likely be one of the first members of the Indians to be on the move.
After posting a career-best 2.21 ERA last season, Bauer is off to a slower start this season. He’s currently 4-6 with a 3.93 ERA for an Indians team that is in limbo. On the last year of his contract, this would be the best time for the Indians to trade Bauer, as it’s unlikely he will be back with the Tribe next season. By trading Bauer, the Indians can begin to start over by getting multiple high-end prospects. It will be hard to find a team in the league with better prospects than the Yankees, making this a great match for both sides. The Indians will be able to build towards the future, while the Yankees take a flier on a top end starter with proven playoff experience.
After struggling immensely during the 2018 season, Stroman has bounced back and is currently playing the best baseball of his career. Although he boasts a 3-7 record, Stroman currently has a career-low 2.84 ERA on the 23-39 Toronto Blue Jays. Built around future star Vladimir Guerrero Jr, the Blue Jays are in a complete rebuild. At 28 years old, Stroman is on the older end of the spectrum for what Toronto is trying to build. It’s unlikely the Jays would sign Stroman to an extension next season at the age of 29, making him a perfect trade candidate.
Although the Yankees would be an enticing trade partner, it begins to get tricky. Trading your top pitcher to a divisional rival is a hard move to make. However, for the Jays, they shouldn’t worry about who they are trading Stroman for but rather the return they’ll get. Although it may hurt now, the Jays might get the last laugh when the prospects they received from the Yankees come back to haunt them years down the line. Either way, the Yankees are solely focused on 2019, and adding Stroman would give them a massive boost on their chase for 28.
A bit of a wild card option, Zack Wheeler could provide much-needed rotational depth at a cheap cost. On the last year of his contract, Wheeler’s future with the New York Mets is a big question mark. He’ll likely look for a multi-year deal, which the Mets might not be willing to offer, especially with the contracts of Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz expiring this season as well. With that in mind, Wheeler seems like a perfect trade candidate for the Yankees in a swap for multiple lower end prospects. This trade would add depth to the Yankees rotation while likely costing them no substantial assets.
With a 5-3 record and 4.61 ERA, Wheeler would not be the ace the Yankees are looking for, but rather an experienced starter with flashes of excellence. If the Yankees are hopeful that Severino will return this season and Sabathia and Paxton’s IL stints aren’t long-term concerns, Wheeler could be an excellent low-risk high reward option for the Yankees.