Baseball’s trade market came to life in the past 24 hours or so. Have the Yankees missed out on anything that would have been a natural, worthwhile fit?
The Mets right fielder is heading to San Francisco for the Giants’ top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler.
Could the Yankees have gotten him? Wheeler was the sixth overall pick in 2009, and he was picked this winter as the 55th-best prospect in baseball by Baseball America. He’s a tall, hard-throwing right-hander. The best Yankees comparison is probably Dellin Betances. The two have incredibly similar strikeout and walk totals, Betances was No. 43 on Baseball America’s list this winter, and although Betances is a level higher than Wheeler, he’s also two years older.
Would the Yankees have wanted him? Sure, Beltran made some sense for the Yankees. He would have upgraded the designated hitter position while giving the team four reliable outfielders.
Should the Yankees have gotten him? As always, that depends entirely on how highly you value prospects. The best-case scenario for Betances is awfully good, but he does come with some injury concerns — which certainly affect his trade value — and Andrew Brackman is proof that tall right-handers don’t always workout just because they have a nice year in Double-A. Even so, my gut reaction to a Beltran-for-Betances deal would be, no thank you.
Traded twice in a span of a few hours, Jackson went to the Blue Jays in a deal that included highly touted prospect Zach Stewart and consistent reliever Jason Frasor, then he went to the Cardinals as the center piece for young center fielder Colby Rasmus.
Could the Yankees have gotten him? Stewart’s not having a great year in Double-A — he has a 4.20 ERA — but he’s still highly regarded, and Baseball America wrote that his stuff could translate as a closer if starting doesn’t work out. Rasmus is still just 24 years old, and although his speed and power combination haven’t translated to elite big league numbers this season, he’s still a high-ceiling player. For the Yankees, acquiring Jackson might not have required Jesus Montero, but it would have taken something significant.
Would the Yankees have wanted him? It’s a starting pitcher. Of course the Yankees would have wanted him. The Yankees have made it clear the past few years that pitching depth is a priority, but this season, it’s hard to say whether Jackson would have been a legitimate upgrade over the pieces in place.
Should the Yankees have gotten him? If there’s one game to play, and the Yankees could start any one of Garcia, Colon, Hughes, Burnett or Nova, would they be convinced Jackson would be a better option? I’m not so sure. Unless the Yankees can clearly upgrade what they have, I’m not sure it would be worth the cost of an elite young player.
To upgrade their pitching staff, the Cardinals dealt from a position of strength and gave up their talented young center fielder for a package of Blue Jays pitchers.
Could the Yankees have gotten him? Technically, yes. The Yankees have pitching, and they could have given some of it to the Cardinals for their center fielder. Problem is, the Cardinals clearly were not in the market for prospects. The Yankees could have traded for Rasmus, but it would have required taking apart their big league roster, not losing pieces of the minor league system.
Would the Yankees have wanted him? Rasmus has a ton of talent, which is why most analysis of this trade considers it a coup for the Blue Jays. Hard not to like a guy who’s 24 with this sort of talent, even though the Yankees don’t have an obvious need for a center fielder.
Should the Yankees have gotten him? Not at the cost of their Major League pitching. Based strictly on this year’s numbers, Rasmus wouldn’t have been a huge upgrade over Jorge Posada at DH, and obviously the Yankees have significantly greater needs than a center fielder. A lot of talent, just not a good match for what the Yankees need and are willing to give.
The Cubs outfielder went to the Indians for minor leagues Carlton Smith and Abner Abreu.
Could the Yankees have gotten him: Absolutely. Smith and Abreu aren’t significant prospects, and the Yankees could have made this trade by giving up names most fans have never heard.
Would the Yankees have wanted him? Probably not. If Fukudome were a right-handed hitter, maybe, but Fukudome is a lefty and the Yankees don’t have a real need from that side of the plate. Chris Dickerson has a total of 24 at-bats as it is.
Should the Yankees have gotten him? No reason to. It wouldn’t have cost much, but wouldn’t have helped much either.
The Reds shipped their right-handed outfielder to Washington for a pair of minor leaguers, first baseman Bill Rhinehart and lefty Christopher Manno.
Could the Yankees have gotten him? The Yankees have a few largely unknown lefties in High-A and Low-A (Jose Quintana, Kramer Sneed, etc). Rhinehart is younger and has better numbers than Jorge Vazquez, but both are power-hitting first basemen who are a little old in the world of prospects. Maybe not a perfect comparison, but it would have been a start. Certainly the Yankees could have gotten it done.
Would the Yankees have wanted him? He’s not much of a defensive player, and his overall numbers aren’t pretty, but Gomes is hitting .333/.439/.537 against left-handed pitching. If the Yankees are looking for an upgrade over Andruw Jones, this might have been it.
Should the Yankees have gotten him? Jones’ slash line against lefties (.263/.344/.513) is better than he gets credit for it being, but his production also seems to have come in spurts. Fans seem more disappointed in Jones than the Yankees are, so the need for an upgrade probably looks different in the front office than in the bleachers.
Associated Press photos