There is no question the New York Yankees needed to add a starter or two and the Yankees have traded Vidal Nuno to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Brandon McCarthy and cash. With a rotation that featured Nuno and Chase Whitley, the Yankees’ bullpen was getting taxed to pick up the extra innings. That is why GM Brian Cashman needed to do something after missing out on Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel.
McCarthy, 30, is better than his 3-10 record and 5.01 ERA. Over the last two seasons with the Diamondbacks he is 8-21 with a 4.75 ERA and 1.36 WHIP. McCarthy was once a promising starter with the Oakland Athletics before he was hit the head by a line drive that required surgery. Last season, he suffered a seizure that was related to the head injury. However, this season, McCarthy has been healthy and has seen his best strikeout (7.6 per nine innings) and groundball rate (55%) of his career. He also doesn’t walk batters, posting a 1.6 BB/9 this season.
McCarthy has been the victim of the home run, however, during his time with the Diamondbacks, giving up exactly one home run per nine innings. Compare that with his rate of 0.7 HR/9 with the Athletics and you can see why McCarthy has struggled with the Diamondbacks. He survives on a sinking fastball that sits in 94 MPH range. His arsenal also features a four-seam fastball that sits at 95 MPH, a cutter that sits at 92, a curveball that comes in just over 82 MPH and a changeup that he rarely throws that sits at 88 MPH.
So far, McCarthy has been healthy this season but he has never started in more than 25 games in a season, a total that came in 2011 with the Athletics, which is also the only season he has exceeded 135 innings thrown. He tallied 170.2 that year. His issues have ranged from shoulder problems to the head injury.
McCarthy is by no means a savior of the Yankees’ rotation. However, he is better than Vidal Nuno and gives the Yankees a veteran, if not fragile, arm that should fair well under the tutelage of Larry Rothschild. The Yankees expect McCarthy to give them innings and hope he can stay healthy. However, the fact that he is a free agent at the end of the season means he is probably just a rental.
Overall this is a solid deal for both teams. Nuno should perform better in the National League and McCarthy should improve in the Yankees’ rotation where Rothschild should help him. The Yankees just need McCarthy to stay healthy.