Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Rain Delay Read - Two Pitching Trade Desires

There is nothing worse than waiting all day for a baseball game, especially a game that features the return of Giancarlo Stanton, and then having the game on a rain delay. Enough with the rain already! When did New York become part of a rain forest? Instead of sitting here stewing, I figured I would give my two cents on which two pitchers I would target to get the rotation over the hump for a deep run into the post season.

Granted, there are internal possibilities on the horizon. Eventually, Luis Severino will be back and Jordan Montgomery seems to be on track to return in July. There is no way you can count on these two pitchers having any kind of productivity this season. If it happens, super. But that is in a perfect world. The world is imperfect and the New York Yankees seem to need at least one stud in the rotation. Think Justin Verlander joining the Astros or something like that.

Here are two thoughts on pitchers I would target for trade to boost the Yankees' rotation:

1. Matthew Boyd - Detroit Tigers. Boyd is making $2.6 million for a team going nowhere. He is 28-years-old and having a career season. Granted, he has never been this good before. But his numbers are sterling. With a FIP of 3.06, a K/9 rate of 11.4 and a BB/9 rate of 1.7. He is 28 years old and controllable until 2023. And he made 31 starts last year and is on his way to doing the same thing this year. The only blemish on his record is his homer per nine rate of 1.1 and he is pretty much a five-inning pitcher.

The other thing I look at is that, for his career, Boyd has held the Red Sox to a .738 OPS and held the Tampa Bay Rays to a .606 OPS (small sample size alert). He has faced the Red Sox five times and the Rays three times.

Why is this trade desirable for the Tigers? First, any saved money for the Tigers is saved money. Secondly, the Tigers cannot hit. They are next to last in Batting Average and On Base Percentage and last in the AL in Slugging Percentage. A trade for Clint Frazier and a lower grade prospect immediately makes Frazier the best hitter on their team. Plus, he is cheap.

2. Stephen Strasburg - Washington Nationals.  The Nationals may believe they have a shot in the NL East or for the wildcard. But I do not see it. They had an opportunity to gain a ton for Bryce Harper last year and missed the boat. The combination of Max Scherzer and Strasburg are incredibly expensive. But the reason I bypass Scherzer is that he is older by four years and is owed $42 million each year for the next couple of years. Holy cow!

There are some questions about Strasburg. He has not made 30 starts since 2014. But he has won 64% of his starts over his career and has struck out more than ten batters per nine for six straight seasons. He is not cheap either. He is making $38 million this season and can opt out at the end of the season. But he goes down to $15 million for the next two seasons (if he doesn't opt out) and then $45 million in the final year of the deal. It is a weird contract. With Scott Boras as his agent, the possibility of an opt out is strong.

Depending on how much the Nats kick in to Strasburg's contract, I would think that Frazier and, say Thairo Estrada could get it done. Estrada might be particularly attractive because Brian Dozier is bumping up to the 32-33-year-old Robbie Alomar second base wall. He could complete a terrific infield for the Nats.

Those are my two cents. Looking at all the teams in the bottoms of standings, these two pitchers, Stephen Strasburg and Matthew Boyd, seem the most interesting when it comes to putting the Yankees' rotation over the top and at least able to compete against the best teams in the American League.