San Diego Padres first baseman Wil Myers could fit both the short and long term needs of the New York Yankees as they scout for solutions at the trade deadline.
While the Yankees seem to have focused on acquiring starting pitching last winter and in the early days of trade deadline season, their most pressing need in the immediate future is adding a big bat (or two) to the middle of their lineup.
With Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran on their way out of the Bronx and Alex Rodriguez no longer looking like an everyday player, do the Yankees have anyone to hit in the 3-5 spots next season? Depending entirely on rookies Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez doesn’t seem like the Yankees’ style. Ask Rob Refsnyder how hard it has been to get the front office to trust him with a regular role.
Greg Bird will be returning from shoulder surgery and may require a minor league stint to get back to where he was pre-injury. In addition, Bird has played exactly 46 big league games. The Yankees probably want to see a little more before declaring him their long term solution at first base.
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So who can the Yankees turn to? One interesting name that has come up in recent trade rumors is San Diego Padres first baseman Wil Myers. The 25-year-old Myers is in the midst of a breakout season with the Friars, hitting .295/.360/.543 in his first 361 plate appearances. He was recently named to his first All Star team, and appears to be on the cusp of stardom as long as he can stay healthy.
That has been the Myers’ biggest problem in his young career. He has yet to make it through a full MLB season, even though he first broke into the big leagues back in 2013. He was the American League Rookie of the Year that season for the Rays, accumulating 2.3 fWAR in just 88 games while batting .293/.354/.478 (129 wRC).
Wrist injuries limited Myers to 147 games combined between 2014-2015, and also severely impacted his performance on the field. He fractured his right wrist during a collision with teammate Desmond Jennings in 2014, which kept him out three months. The following season he missed another several months following surgery on his other wrist.
The two injuries were unrelated, but that doesn’t really diminish the severity of the problem. Wrist issues often develop into chronic problems for a hitter. Brett Gardner is one Yankee who has dealt with them periodically throughout his career. For some guys, they can just keep flaring up.
On the other hand, potential super sluggers just entering their prime aren’t put on the trading block every day. The price is expected to be steep. Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball recently cited a source that claimed the Padres were looking for “four level-A prospects” in return for Myers.
I guess that means Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Jorge Mateo, and James Kaprielian? If San Diego is serious about moving him, they are going to have to lower their demands, but it would probably take two of those guys plus a lesser third piece to land Myers. The last time he was traded, it was four two blue-chippers in Joe Ross and Trea Turner, and he was coming off a pretty rough 2014 campaign at that point.
The most appealing aspect to acquiring Wil Myers is that it is a move that helps the Yankees both in 2016 and for the future. Myers is on pace for a 7 WAR season in pitcher-friendly Petco. He would immediately be the Yankees’ best player and give them a star to build around. With three years of team control remaining for Myers, it may be worth cashing a few prospect chips and seeing if the upcoming rebuild can be shortened.