New York Yankees Editorial: August Trade Targets


The non-waiver July 31st trade deadline passed with the Yankees making just a single move: trading Jose Ramirez and Ramon Flores to the Mariners for Dustin Ackley. Ackley, a former top prospect after an outstanding college career, replaced Garrett Jones on the roster as the 5th outfielder/lefty pinch hitter. The move provided the Yankees more positional flexibility with the hope that Ackley would rediscover the success from his North Carolina days sometime during his 2 future seasons of team control. Ackley proceeded to get hurt, the Yankees brought back Jones, and the 25 man roster once again lacks a player acquired midseason from outside the organization. However, the flip of the calendar to August does not close the door on the Yankees making more trades to further improve the roster. Players can still be traded through the process described at MLB Trade Rumors. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN developed a list of players that might be traded in August. Let’s see if the Yankees should be involved.

Chase Utley- The Phillies 2nd baseman has hit a very poor .179/.257/.275 in 249 plate appearances this season. He has been hampered by an ankle sprain that has only exacerbated age-related decline. Utley, at the height of his powers, was the best 2nd baseman in the league and the best player on his team (despite what MVP ballots show). Now, it’s uncertain if he’s even replacement level. The contract only runs through the remainder of this year and he could be had at very little prospect cost with the Yankees just assuming the remainder of the salary. Unfortunately, a Stephen Drew/Brendan Ryan platoon is probably more productive at this point.

Marlon Byrd- The Yankees have 5 capable Major League outfielders even with Ackley on the DL. There is no room or need for Byrd.

Francisco Rodriguez- The righthander is having an excellent season (31.0 K%, 6.3 BB%, 48.9 GB%) in 38.1 innings with the Brewers. Also, somehow he is still only 33 years. Seems like he’s been around forever.  The added bonus of adding a reliever is that Adam Warren can return to the rotation down the stretch if Luis Severino shows he’s not ready for the Majors yet in place of injured Michael Pineda or another starter lands on the DL. KRod would ensure that the bridge between the starters and Betances/Miller remains effective. Rodriguez is signed for 2016 at $7.5 mil with a $2 mil buyout in ’17. If the Yankees want to further improve a dominant bullpen, KRod represents a quality acquisition.

Johnny Gomes- Same deal as with Byrd. Bat only corner OF whose job is to hit lefties. The role has already been filled.

AJ Pierzynski- Brian McCann and John Ryan Murphy have been an excellent catching tandem this season. No need for him even as he is putting up a classic Pierzynski season. Also, might not be a great fit for the clubhouse, something the Yankees clearly value.

Martin Prado- Prado offers versatility (corner outfield, second base) and contact skills (11 K% career). However, his overall game is slipping and he is more of an average player due $11 mil next season. He is definitely worth a look and would probably outperform the Drew/Ryan platoon this year while giving the team a 2nd base option if Rob Refsnyder isn’t ready next year.

Ian Kennedy- Giving up almost 2 HR per 9 innings has bloated Kennedy’s ERA and FIP. However, the strikeout (21.7%) and walk (6.5%) numbers think there’s a number 3 starter in there somewhere. Acquiring Kennedy would show a belief in the powers of xFIP very similar to the Brandon McCarthy (without the grounders) play from last year.

Mike Napoli- Unplayable against righties. Yankees already have a great 1B and DH. Pass.

Prado should garner interest if the Marlins eat most of the remaining contract and receive little in return, but pitching remains the biggest need for the Yankees heading down the stretch. Relievers and starters. KRod and Kennedy present attractive options to protect against injury and improve the team’s run prevention. The Yankees should absolutely place a claim on these 2 pitchers if they hit the wire and hope that they make it through the entire National League and most of the American League unclaimed to enable a trade to New York.