The Yankees are intent on bolstering both sides of their pitching corps prior to this year’s single trade deadline of July 31. They’ve decided to knock on the same door as last year, inquiring with the Toronto Blue Jays about a potential package for reliever Ken Giles and starter Marcus Stroman, per Scott Mitchell of TSN.
The fits for both Giles and Stroman are obvious: we’ve passed the All-Star break and both Dellin Betances and Luis Severino have yet to throw a regular season pitch. The Yankees have been able to perform admirably around these injuries but have reached the point where reinforcements are imperative for their postseason aspirations. Each of the Yankees starters not named Masahiro Tanaka has spent time on the injured list, with Domingo German, James Paxton and CC Sabathia each taking their turns. That led to the use of the highly-effective opener combination of Chad Green and Nestor Cortes Jr., which obviously wasn’t the most ideal use of the Yankees starting depth. Jonathan Loaisiga has been out since mid-May, and they’re not quite ready to promote upstart Deivi Garcia to the bigs. Meanwhile, Giles owns a 1.45 ERA (1.49 FIP) and astronomical 15.4 K/9 and Stroman owns a 3.18 ERA (3.81 FIP) across 18 starts to this point.
Both players come with coveted team control years, as neither Giles nor Stroman can become a free agent until after the 2020 season. That would be clearly appealing to the Yankees who are at risk of losing Betances after this year and are going to lose CC Sabathia to retirement. Trading for a cheap starter like Stroman would slightly relieve some of the pressure building for the Yankees to back up the Brinks truck for Gerrit Cole in the offseason.
It’s, uh, kind of hard to begin to think about what a Giles-Stroman package would cost the Yankees. It would likely require a collection of both position players and pitchers as the cost of trading cost controlled talent within the same division. This obviously is a few levels about the J.A. Happ (rental) for two essentially Quad-A players in Brandon Drury and Billy McKinney.
The Yankees, per usual, have been linked to starting pitchers all over the map at this point. Relievers, not so much. The names include Trevor Bauer, Matthew Boyd, Madison Bumgarner, Robbie Ray and Zack Wheeler to this point. The Yanks could also seek relief help from the Giants in the form of All-Star lefty Will Smith. With three weeks until the deadline, I’d expect to see an intense series of rumors as things continue to progress.