The New York Yankees are starting to get healthy which is a dangerous thing for baseball. Didi Gregorius and Giancarlo Stanton have returned to action. Aaron Judge is rehabbing in Scranton with the Triple-A ball club. Missing a chunk of their starters for a good part of the season did not bother the Bombers. They are currently in first place in the AL East and getting stronger.
The Yankees are a World Series or bust team year in and year out. Having the third best record in the American League, and fourth best in all of baseball, is not good enough in the Bronx. The Yankees added Edwin Encarnacion in a trade to give them another power bat in the middle of the lineup. Encarnacion will join Stanton, Judge, Voit, Gary Sanchez, and Gleyber Torres as a member of the Yankees’ lineup that could hit 30 or more home runs. As scary as the lineup is, the postseason is all about pitching.
“We’re gonna try to upgrade the pitching side and that may or may not happen over time,” Yankees GM Brian Cashman told the New York Post.
The MLB trade deadline is July 31 at 4 p.m. ET. The Yankees will certainly be looking to add a starting pitcher to their roster. Here are three options who could end up in pinstripes.
1. Madison Bumgarner
It is about time that this deal happens. Madison Bumgarner and the Yankees have been connected for what feels like five years now. The Yankees will be in the postseason for years to come and Bumgarner is the best playoff pitcher of this generation. It feels like a match made in heaven — and it is.
Who can forget what Bumgarner did during the 2014 World Series? He appeared in three games, throwing 21 innings and allowing just one earned run. Bumgarner struck out 17 batters compared to just one walk and held opposing hitters to a .127 average. In three World Series appearances, Bumgarner has a 0.25 ERA in 36 innings. In his postseason career, he is 8-3 with a 2.11 ERA in 102.1 innings pitched.
Skeptics are worried that Bumgarner is past his prime. His last World Series run was five years ago and he has had injury problems since. At 29 years old, the left-hander still has a lot to give the game. What better place for Bumgarner to write another chapter of history than in Yankee Stadium?
2. Zack Wheeler
New York pride needs to be put aside immediately. Zack Wheeler needs a change and the Yankees are the best option. Wheeler is 5-5 with a 4.94 ERA this season for a putrid Mets’ team. To the average fan, these numbers are not attractive. Let’s look deeper into the flame throwing right-hander.
Wheeler is a strikeout pitcher. He has 103 punch outs in 94.2 innings this season. That is 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings. Wheeler is also a ground ball machine. He has a ground ball rate of 43.4% this season, and it is 47.1% throughout his career, minor league included. Over the last two seasons, Wheeler is one of nine pitchers with a K/9 rate of nine and ground ball rate of 44%.
Normally, a pitcher who is a free agent at the end of the season would turn teams away. For the Yankees, it is quite the opposite. Wheeler will need to perform well heading into free agency. The Yankees have the chance to get the best out of him before he gets overpaid by another team this winter. For both sides, this deal makes sense. Do the right thing, New York.
3. Trevor Bauer
The list of pitchers the Yankees could target is long. Marcus Stroman, Cole Hamels, and Max Scherzer are all names that have been thrown around. One of the best options for the Yankees is currently in Cleveland. Trevor Bauer had a breakout year last season. He finished 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA with 221 strikeouts. In 2019, Bauer has not been as strong as last season, but has still been pretty good. He is 5-6 with a 3.41 ERA. Bauer has 117 strikeouts in 108.1 innings pitched. Opponents are hitting .195 against him this season.
The Yankees would have to give up more to get Bauer, who is still 28-years old. Clint Frazier is the odd man out in the Yankee outfield. He would be the key piece in a deal for a pitcher like Bauer. The Yankees could send a Frazier-led package to the Indians for their right-hander. Bauer is still in arbitration for one more season, which the Yankees would be open to negotiating. Bauer has postseason experience in each of the last three seasons. There has been plenty of talk about what the Yankees could do and Bauer could be the surprise name on the move as July approaches.