With C.C. Sabathia likely out for the season and Michael Pineda’s return up in the air, the New York Yankees will have to scour the trade market to reinforce a rotation that has trouble getting out of the fifth inning three of every five nights. With the Oakland Athletics acquiring Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Chicago Cubs, the market has gotten a little lighter but that deal should signal the beginning of a potentially busy trade season.
There are several pitchers who the Yankees could look to acquire and the trade market should have plenty of arms despite tight races. So far, Ian Kennedy, David Price, Brandon McCarthy, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee are those who might become available. The Yankees might be one of the few teams that would be willing, and able, to take on salary which could be the key considering the Yankees’ farm system is lacking talent in the upper levels.
The Yankees have seen some of their top prospects flounder over the past couple of years; Manny Banuelos is recovering from Tommy John surgery and is currently on the disabled list with blisters; Mason Williams is struggling in AA; Gary Sanchez, the Yankees’ top prospect, might be a player without a position; and Slade Heathcott is out for the year and has yet to have a full season in the minors.
There are a couple of prospects that the Yankees would probably consider deal-breakers. Dellin Betances, Ian Clarkin, Eric Jagielo, Aaron Judge and Luis Severino are most likely among that group. There should be enough talent that they can part with to get a deal done to land a starter who can help but they may need to open their checkbooks and absorb salary to get a deal done.
If the Yankees are offered Lee but told they have to take Jonathan Papelbon and his salary too, do they really turn that down? The Yankees have already ignored the luxury tax and if they want to contend this season, adding more salary might be the only answer. The Yankees’ true strength at the moment is their wallet and they must use it to their advantage like they just did in the international free agent signing period.