The New York Yankees need an ace but are not willing to part with its top prospects like Aaron Judge or Gary Sanchez. They need a power-hitter but won’t have room on the roster or in the outfield until 2017 with Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and Aaron Hicks on the roster. The Yankees have major needs but most of the team is still in arbitration or well past its prime.
New York is a top contender to make some trades.
But the question is how and with who?
Below are different trade packages New York could offer up and the teams who might be interested in striking a deal. keep in mind none of the AL East teams are included (since a trade of this caliber is highly unlikely) and any return may imply additional Yankees’ prospects, but not Aaron Judge or Gary Sanchez, the only two current prospects I believe are truly untouchable.
Andrew Miller for a middle of the rotation starter:
Brian Cashman is not going to trade his Chapman insurance and from his biggest depth without getting something of value in return. Andrew Miller is no doubt valuable, he was the best closer in the AL last season and is making a reasonable nine million the next three years. With back to back dominant seasons in relief, there are no longer questions of whether or not Miller will pan out as an elite relief pitcher. The asking price for New York would have to be in a major league caliber arm capable of pitching 200 innings. In other words, a middle of the rotation arm to add long-term stability to a rotation with plenty of health and durability concerns.
To move Miller, the Yankees would need a team with starting pitching depth and a bullpen need and one ready to compete immediately (in order to take on the contract of an elite closer). Oh, and the trade partner is not going to come out of the AL East for any deal of this caliber.
Possible Destinations: Mets (Zack Wheeler), Indians (Trevor Bauer), Astros (Collin McHugh), Marlins (Jarred Cosart), Dodgers (Hyun-Jin Ryu), Angels (Andrew Heaney)
Andrew Miller and Brett Gardner for a front-end starter:
Both players have multiple years of team control at affordable rates. One is a closer, but elite, and the other is Gardner, who still managed to post more than 2.0 WAR despite dealing with a hand injury for the entire second half of the season. Gardner, at this juncture, has developed into a 30 stolen base threat who can also hit 15 HRs and get on base at an above average rate. He plays above average (but no longer elite) defense in a difficult left field in Yankees’ stadium and could act as a table setter with “pop” for any team also in need of an outfielder. It’s a package of 4-6 WAR between the two players, even at this stage and Cashman’s return to deflate his awesome bullpen depth and rely on Aaron Hicks full-time would be steep, something like an ace.
Possible Destinations: Indians (Danny Salazar or Carlos Carrasco), Astros (Lance Mccullers, but admittedly, the Astros would have to make a follow up deal), Angels (Garrett Richards), Braves (Julio Teheran – If they’re serious about trying to compete by 2017), Mets (Steven Matz).
Dark Horse: Padres (James Shields)
Andrew Miller and Ivan Nova for a potential middle of the rotation arm with upside:
We know about Miller and Nova on his own doesn’t have much of trade value. He was shopped around earlier this winter and didn’t seem to get a great return, but as a complimentary piece, he could be involved to sweeten the deal for a contender right now. Nova is unlikely to receive a qualifying offer, but could add starting depth to a team who would essentially be parting with a better starter to acquire Andrew Miller.
Mets (Wheeler), Astros (McHugh)
Dark Horse: Padres (James Shields, as the Padres may like the idea of dumping salary and having the ability to trade Miller at the deadline and possible Nova, who would be healthy and pitching in a pitcher’s park all year).
Brett Gardner and Ivan Nova for a Middle of the rotation starter or a power-hitting outfielder:
A few rules for this scenario: If Gardner and Nova are to be packaged, it’s to a team looking for starting depth for one year, which means likely a contender. This team would also need outfield help. In return, the Yankees could seek the same middle of the rotation type of arm and just have more of a sure thing in the rotation, or they can seek a bat with more power than Gardner. Essentially, the Yankees would look for an upgrade on Nova or Gardner, while including both in exchange.
Mets (Wheeler and a top 15 prospect), Astros (McHugh), Padres (Shields)
Dark Horse: Diamondbacks (Yasmani Tomas. It would take more than Gardner, who is older and under less control at a higher annual value, and Nova, who has aforementioned unknown trade value, but along with a couple of prospects, it could get done. If it works out for Arizona in the short-term with a big offseason, they still have almost as much value in the outfield and a pitching option to help pitch them over the hump either in the rotation or the bullpen. If it doesn’t, they could free up payroll a year quicker down the line.)