Despite the New York Yankees’ current four-game winning streak, most observers feel that the club should begin exploring trade possibilities. In fact, there are reports the Yanks have spoken to a couple of teams about potential deals with nothing especially serious developing. The most desirable Yankee commodities of course are the three powerful arms in the bullpen: Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller. With an abundance of relievers and bullpen arms at a premium at this time of the year, general manager Brian Cashman has the luxury of letting teams bid against each other to get what he wants. Here are four teams that have been mentioned as possible trading partners, all of whom feel that one of these players can catapult them to a World Series.
Chicago Cubs: This is the team that has been mentioned the most with power-hitting Kyle Schwarber being the price tag for either Chapman or Miller. Chicago President Theo Epstein has indicated that Schwarber is off-limits but that could be just posturing. Surely, he wouldn’t surrender him for Chapman, who would be no more than a rental but a package with either Miller or Betances as the centerpiece would be awfully tempting. However, a trade just went down that could cool any talk of a Yanks-Cubs swap. The Cubbies acquired left-handed reliever Mike Montgomery from the Seattle Mariners for two Minor Leaguers. Montgomery owns a solid 2.15 ERA in 61 2/3 innings.
Washington Nationals: The Nats are the other team that has been heavily linked as interested in New York’s bullpen. Scouts from the Bombers’ organization were checking in on the Syracuse Chiefs, Washington’s AAA farm club. Though closer Jonathan Papelbon has done a good job with 19 saves and a 2.73 ERA, any of the Yankee relievers would be an upgrade. However, remember the big stink Papelbon made last year about closing upon being traded to Washington? Miller and Betances wouldn’t have a problem setting up but what if the Yanks send Chapman, who insists on closing, to DC? Think of all the fireworks that would erupt in that clubhouse.
Texas Rangers: Texas needs all sorts of pitching help, not just in the bullpen. They have been linked to a bunch of starting pitchers, namely a couple of names in the Tampa Bay Rays’ rotation but they are also interested, like everyone else, in the Yankees. The prize Cashman would seek would be either infielder Jurickson Profar, finally living up his former status as #1 overall prospect after a series of injuries, or current top prospect Joey Gallo. The Rangers lack a true shutdown option and Chapman, Miller or Betances would slide quite nicely into that role.
Cleveland Indians: What do you get the team with arguably the best starting rotation in baseball? A premier relief pitcher to lock down games. With the injury to Yan Gomes, the Tribe’s attention figures to be split between a catcher and the bullpen. It is my opinion that Cleveland will put all their chips into All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy from the Milwaukee Brewers. That means there won’t be enough to pry away Miller or Betances but may be just enough to lure Chapman.
Remember, all of these scenarios are predicated on the fact that the Yankees have given up on 2016. Based on the last four days, the players haven’t.
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