The Yankees will continue their pursuit of starting pitching with less than two weeks to go until the MLB Trade Deadline. Here are the latest sets of rumors around the league:
Mike Minor “Likely To Be Traded;” Yankees Scout Rangers
Rangers lefty Mike Minor is reportedly on the block and the Yankees are likely to be a team connected to him in the coming weeks. He rocks a 100th-percentile spin rate on his fastball, and owns a 2.73 ERA (3.82 FIP) in 19 starts so far for Texas. It’s interesting to see Texas, who sits just four games out of the second wild card spot at the moment, being billed as likely to sell.
Minor is a particularly intriguing piece for the Yankees because he comes with an extra year of control at the fixed price of $9,833,333. Most of the other arms that the Yankees are connected to are cost-controlled by arbitration for the following season. That means they’d be cheap, but not have a guaranteed value. Minor is almost guaranteed to create surplus value at his current price tag.
Yankees.com beat writer Bryan Hoch tweeted that the Yankees apparently have been scouting the Rangers, which appears to be the first connection made between the two teams. There has been no reporting that explicitly links the Yankees to Minor at this point.
Yankees Among Teams Interested in Robbie Ray
The hottest name on the trade market right now seems to be Arizona Diamondbacks lefty Robbie Ray. The Yankees have shown interest in the 27-year-old, per Jon Heyman, and have “historically liked” him as well, per Ken Rosenthal.
“The Yankees and other teams historically have liked Ray not simply because he is left-handed, but also because his career 28.3 percent strikeout rate is higher than that of Clayton Kershaw (27.4), Madison Bumgarner (23.9) and Patrick Corbin (22.9).”Ken Rosenthal, The Athletic
Ray comes with an extra year of control, with 2020 being his final arbitration year of arbitration. He’s a pitcher who loves to throw his slider, which makes him a better fit than most into the Yankees pitching scheme. The frustrating part about Ray is that he walks an absurd number of hitters.
Arizona reportedly sent top talent evaluators to scout the High-A Tampa Tarpons in recent weeks. They likely were looking at Yanks No. 1 prospect Estevan Florial, who has been struggling with a .622 OPS so far.
Yankees Continue to Scout Marcus Stroman
This one seems obvious, but the Yankees were among a handful of teams watching Marcus Stroman very closely when he took the mound at Yankee Stadium last week.
It was a solid start for the Long Island-native, who seems like an obvious fit to be traded from the rebuilding Blue Jays. He allowed three runs on seven hits in six innings of work. He was coming off a pectoral cramp that caused him to miss the All-Star Game.
The Yankees obviously have a familiarity with the Blue Jays, having worked with them on the J.A. Happ deal just last season. Stroman is a more expensive piece with an extra year of arbitration attached, and it will be interesting to see if the Yankees would unload better prospects within their own division.
Yankees Scout Noah Syndergaard
An interesting storyline to keep tabs on has been the Yankees continued interest in Mets righty Noah Syndergaard. The Yankees had a scout in attendance for his start in Miami on Saturday, where he held the Marlins to two runs on five hits with nine strikeouts. The report came via Kevin Kernan of the New York Post.
“It didn’t hurt that a good number of scouts were in the stands Saturday night at Marlins Park to see the big right-hander, including Yankees scout Cory Melvin, The Post has learned.
The Mets are not likely to trade Syndergaard, especially before the July 31 trade deadline, but teams are doing their due diligence and anything is possible. The Yankees, of course, always do their due diligence in scouting the pitching market because of the need to upgrade their rotation.”Kevin Kernan, New York Post
It’s been a bit of a rough season for Syndergaard, who owns a 4.55 ERA in 18 starts thus far. None of his other peripherals have taken large dips as compared to last season. The discussion around him, as well as many other Mets pitchers, is that the defense behind him has declined dramatically.
It almost feels like a waste of time to write about any deal that might bring Syndergaard and his electric stuff to the Bronx. The Mets have been notoriously unwilling to deal with the Yankees, and it seems Syndergaard would be no exception. The Mets were unwilling to deal rental Jay Bruce for Domingo Germán in 2017 so I can’t imagine they’re willing to send a player with control across town.
But, I could be wrong. The Mets sent Omar Minaya, whom they consider their top talent evaluator, to scout the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on the night where top pitching prospect Deivi García debuted at the level. Andy Martino of SNY reported the Mets “have done extensive background work on many Yankees prospects lately,” but said sides are far apart on current talks.
The Yankees have also been connected to Mets starter Zack Wheeler, who was recently played on the 10-day injured list with shoulder fatigue. The earliest he can return is July 23, which gives him a short window to show he’s durable enough to make it through the rest of the season. Wheeler is a rental, so the return he brings to the Mets is strictly contingent on his ability to stay healthy.