Yankees Offseason Trade Target: Reds Starter Dan Straily
Recent reports indicate that the Cincinnati Reds could be open to listening on some of their young starting pitchers, and Dan Straily stands out as one of the more interesting trade possibilities for the New York Yankees.
The most glaring weakness on the New York Yankees roster for both the short and long-term is the starting rotation. General manager Brian Cashman has acknowledged on several occasions that the club would love to add another dependable starter to the depth chart, but has noted that “prices are extremely high,” and thus far hasn’t found a deal that works.
One name that could come somewhat cheaply because of his short resume and relatively advanced age is Cincinnati Reds starter Dan Straily. At 28, the right-hander is a little old to be a building block for the Redlegs, but he could interest the Yankees because they look to be much closer to contention.
Straily put up a solid 3.76 ERA over 191.1 IP during the 2016 campaign, although his peripherals indicate he may have the benefactor of some very good luck. He struck out 20.6% of the batters he faced last year, which is about league average, walked an acceptable 9.9%, but allowed a league-leading 30 long balls.
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Bringing a fly ball pitcher into Yankee Stadium is always a scary proposition, but it is worth noting that Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark ranked fourth among the most homer prone stadiums according to ESPN’s 2016 Park Factors, so his results wouldn’t necessarily be drastically different when moving to the Bronx.
Last season, Straily’s fastball reached the low 90’s for the first time since his strong rookie year with Oakland in 2013, when he finished fourth in the American League Rookie of the Year voting after pitching to a 3.96 and 4.05 FIP in 152.1 innings of work.
He has dealt with lingering shoulder issues since that impressive debut and spent the majority of 2014-2015 putting up mediocre numbers in Triple-A. The pitching-starved Reds claimed Straily off waivers shortly before Opening Day last year, and he ended up being a very pleasant surprise for them, accumulating 4.3 WAR according to Baseball-Reference’s metric.
Since Straily was basically found money, Cincinnati might be willing to try and sell high on him, since they have little hope of contending in the next year or two anyway in the same division as the Cubs, Pirates, and Cardinals.
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The Yankees probably wouldn’t have to give up a ton to get Straily, and at the very least he would give them an additional arm to compete for a back-of-the-rotation spot next spring. He seems like a decent low-risk, high-reward addition, especially with four years of team control remaining.