Bomber Bites: Are Recent Deals Sign Of Bigger Deal Ahead?


Late yesterday afternoon, the New York Yankees dealt their former #1 pitching prospect, Manny Banuelos to the Atlanta Braves for relief pitchers David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve. Nothing to make too many headlines about, other than this is the second and third relief pitcher that Brian Cashman as obtained in less than a week. He previously sent Shawn Kelley to the San Diego Padres for minor league fireballer Johnny Barbato. As a Yankees’ fan, you can look at this in one of two ways: either the Bombers are LITERALLY trying to corner the market on power arms for the bullpen, or Cashman is stockpiling young, controllable power arms in preparation for a much bigger deal coming down the line. 

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If you look at some of the other moves, while not sexy in nature, Cash has done nothing but collect a group of arms, that could be part of a larger package to satisfy the needs of say, the Philadelphia Phillies or the Washington Nationals? And who might be at the center of that deal? Recently acquired Nathan Eovaldi, who has the stuff, but just hasn’t put it all together. Throw in perhaps a power lefty who gets BOTH lefties and righties out in Justin Wilson, a lower-tier arm such as Carpenter, and a prospect or two. For the sake of this piece, let’s use Gary Sanchez and first baseman Greg Bird. Now, with Eovaldi, Wilson, Sanchez and Bird, you are thinking, the return better be huge.

Well, let’s say that return is huge. Let’s say the Yankees, while they might be interested in Max Scherzer, the team doesn’t feel like handing over a draft pick, 8 years, and $200 million dollars. That’s the cost of Max Scherzer. But that wouldn’t be the cost of…everyone with me, Cole Hamels! The 31-year old recently informed Phillies’ management that he’d be willing to waive his no-trade clause if a deal could be worked out with the Yankees. Phils’ GM Ruben Amaro finally is beginning to realize that his corp of stars are over the hill, and that it’s time to sell while there are still takers. He’s already dealt longtime shortstop Jimmy Rollins, and would love for someone to take Ryan Howard and Chase Utley off his hands.

However, his most valuable chip is Hamels. He’s young, left-handed, one of the elite starting pitchers in the game, and for a team that can afford him such as the Yankees, makes perfect sense. Last season, when the Yankees inquired about outfielder Marlon Byrd, Amaro was asking for the world. But would a deal that included Eovaldi, a pair of power relievers in Wilson and Carpenter, and a pair of prospects such as Sanchez and Bird get a deal done? That answer would be a most definite yes. The Yankees’ farm system might not be elite just yet, but they have produced enough talent to go along with the aforementioned big league talent to land Hamels.

What might the other option be? My esteemed co-editor, Jason Evans discussed the other option, free agent to-be, Jordan Zimmermann. JZimm will be 29 in May, and would cost the Yankees much less in terms of overall package than would Hamels. The only way the Nationals could bring in a similar package as Hamels would for the Phillies, is if the Commissioner’s office gave Zimmermann and the Yankees a window to work out an extension. If not, a trade using Eovaldi to replace Zimmermann, a prospect such as Rob Refsnyder to replace the recently departed Asdrubal Cabrera, and perhaps a power arm such as Carpenter to replace Rafael Soriano could get this deal done.

Who’s the the better option? Honestly, you couldn’t lose with either, but Hamels is clearly the Yankees’ first choice, and would cost the most. Yankees’ fans complained that Brian Cashman wasn’t making moves during the Winter Meetings, and then have complained that they don’t like the moves he has made. At the end of the day, if all of these smaller moves were leading up to the completion of one, bigger move, and at the end of the day, the Bombers landed Hamels OR Zimmermann, I have to think all would be forgiven in Yankeeland.