Jun 21, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy (32) pitches against the San Francisco Giants at Chase Field. The Giants won 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Perfect Buy-Low Candidate? Brandon McCarthy


The New York Yankees need a starting pitcher, and they need one now. The goal is to acquire someone who will not cost them their best prospects, doesn’t have a ton of money owing, and will be effective. One could argue that two of those three items would be easily checked off the list with Arizona Diamondbacks’ pitcher Brandon McCarthy. Even since he was dealt from the Oakland A’s to the D-Backs, it’s been a rough go for the soon-to-be 31-year-old righty. He even suffered a line drive shot off the head, one in which his life was in serious danger immediately following the injury while being hospitalized.

McCarthy would be not be an ace by any means, but he would be an immediate upgrade over Vidal Nuno, and better than anyone else the Yankees could bring up from the farm not named Luis Severino. McCarthy has a career record of 6-21 since his arrival in the NL West two seasons ago, but if one looks at his career numbers leading up to that point, he’s 37-39 in his American League tenure, with an ERA of 4.12. Wins and losses don’t mean much as everyone is fully aware, but it’s looking closer at some of the other numbers that make McCarthy an interesting option for the Yankees as they move closer to the July 31st non-waiver trading deadline.

He has had plenty of exposure to the American League East, which given his lack of overall results, is something that needs to be considered when examining a deal for McCarthy. He’s made 33 career starts against AL East teams, including the Yankees (4), and has a career mark of 14-11 (2-1 vs. NYY), and a divisional ERA of 4.39. In those 33 starts, he’s given up 27 long balls, which for him is good news. His batting average against is .280.

Normally, the home runs and the BAA would scare off any team in the AL East from considering McCarthy, but there are two points that work in his favor for a possible move to the division: his BABIP for ground balls is .247 for his career, and a lean .114 on fly balls. Given that Yankee Stadium doesn’t hold fly balls very well, this bodes well for McCarthy and an arrival in the Bronx.

What would the Yankees have to give up for McCarthy? Not much. Perhaps Francisco Cervelli. McCarthy is a free agent at the end of the season, and the Yankees could literally give him a summertime audition to see how he fares back in the AL and against their divisional opponents. Cervelli is an injury waiting to happen, the organization has plenty of depth behind the plate, and the Diamondbacks would most likely be willing to unload McCarthy for additional catching depth behind Miguel Montero. This would give John Ryan Murphy the chance to come back up to the big leagues where he belongs, and learn the craft from Brian McCann.

Sometimes it’s not always about getting the sexy name, or the marquee filler to put butts in the buckets. Sometimes it’s just giving a guy the opportunity for a change of scenery, and given McCarthy’s final two seasons in the American League, he’s the perfect buy-low candidate for a Yankees’ team that desperately needs an upgrade in the rotation. He’s not Jeff Samardzija, Justin Masterson, or David Price, but he’s affordable, and he’s better than what the Yankees are rolling out tonight to open their series against their bitter rival, Boston Red Sox.

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  • Jim Harper

    No sooner than you finish this piece Nuno has a great game. I am not a fan of your idea of McCarthy. His success against the AL East does not mean much because none of those teams have the same talent as he saw. I would rather they bring up Severino and allow McCann bring him along. He would likely have success because nobody has seen this kid. I am tired of the old retreads trying to make a living off previous success.

    • http://westcoastyankees-theblog.blogspot.com/ Billy Brost

      If you think Vidal’s good outing against Boston is going to change anything, you’ve got another thing coming Jim. The sun shines on a dog’s butt some days. As for McCarthy, you act as if he’s at the end of his career. He’ll be 31 in about 9 days. His previous success against the AL East has everything to do with why he’s a perfect buy-low candidate. Again, as I stated in my piece, he’s not an ace, or a top of the rotation starter. He’s a dependable ground ball pitcher who is an upgrade over some of the garbage being run out there every five days (Nuno). The piece that Bryce Pittman wrote several days ago about Severino needing a shot to spot start at this level, that was actually my idea. Unfortunately, it’s not going to happen. A bag of balls, Cervelli, or a couple lower-range prospects gets this deal done.