The New York Yankees sit atop the American League East division with a somewhat comfortable lead over the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox. As the organization gears up for a run at a record 28th world championship, the roster is still not finalized by any means. For the first time in recent memory, Major League Baseball will have a single trade deadline on July 31st. Without further ado, let’s take a peek at the top three impact players that could bolster the Yankees roster for the stretch run.
Trevor Bauer, SP, Cleveland Indians
The former number three overall pick out of UCLA in 2011 is unquestionably the prize of the trading deadline. It has been widely reported that the Yankees have scouted Bauer in his recent starts, but the verdict is still out on the ‘Bronx Bombers’ level of interest.
Bauer, 28, leads the majors in innings pitched, has a tremendous fastball spin rate that ranks him in the 80th percentile in all of baseball, is a strikeout pitcher, and is also a self-proclaimed analytics guru. He also comes with another year of team control so that would help in swallowing the Indians presumably astronomical asking price.
Acquiring the California native would not only bolster the Yankees rotation, but it also would take away a target from the Houston Astros and other contenders. The biggest question is, are the Indians, who sit 11 games over the .500 mark, ready to part with Bauer?
Marcus Stroman, SP, Toronto Blue Jays
When asked about trade rumors during the All-Star Game’s media day, the New York native was quoted in saying, “I’m extremely passionate, I’m extremely competitive, and I’m scared of nobody. I love the spotlight. I’m ready for whatever the future holds.”
This echoes the sentiments that were made public about Stroman’s fondness of a potential deal to the Yankees when the Duke graduate said, “I’m built for this. Anybody can say whatever, but I’m built for the bright lights. I’m not scared of it. I’ve never been to. I take that ball every time with the pressure on. I love it. New York is like the mecca of the world, I love the excitement, I love the bright lights, I love competition, I love pressure, so I’ve always loved pitching here. Even if I haven’t necessarily pitched fairly well here, I’ve always enjoyed it. … I love the spotlight. The bigger the moment, that’s kind of where I’ve always wanted to be.”
Based on the numbers, why would he fit on the Yankees? He is a sinkerball, ground ball pitcher who has the ability to keep the ball in the yard in an era where it seems like every deep fly ball is now a homer. Like Bauer, he comes with some team control left. It would also take less of a haul in prospects to acquire the right-hander, and he also comes with valuable experience pitching in the AL East.
Zack Wheeler, SP, New York Mets
While I am admittedly not crazy about Wheeler being acquired as ‘the guy’ the Yankees make a move for to bolster their rotation, you can’t ignore his pure electric stuff. The 29-year old free agent to be has a fastball that consistently hits triple digits and backs that up with an above-average curveball.
Wheeler’s numbers have been mediocre this season, as the hard-throwing righty sports a 6-6 record, 4.69 ERA, AND 1.28 WHIP.
The bet in acquiring Wheeler is that manager Aaron Boone and pitching coach Larry Rothschild could make an adjustment to the Georgia native and have him catch fire down the stretch. This lightning in a bottle approach makes him more favorable than acquiring the likes of Madison Bumgarner or an elite reliever simply because of his tremendous upside.