Yankees: Left-handed reliever market filled with talent
We know the Yankees will be in the market this trade deadline for a frontline starting pitcher. However, there is also a ton of young talent in the left-handed reliever market, and the Yanks should take notice.
Yankees reliever Chasen Shreve started the season well, but he’s become a liability in the bullpen recently. As the lone left-handed reliever, outside of closer Aroldis Chapman, Shreve plays an important role.
Some argue the middle innings of a ballgame are just as important as the final innings. A boatload of runs could score if a left-handed power bat comes to the plate with runners on, especially when playing in Yankee Stadium.
It would be wise for the Yanks to have a more reliable lefty pitcher than Shreve unless he can soon change his ways. Fans are growing tired of Shreve’s inconsistency, and frankly, regression since they acquired him in 2015.
Shreve’s not terrible at limiting hits, but he allows way too many walks and home runs. Even though he is above average at striking out batters, that doesn’t matter if you still have a high ERA of 4.85.
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Trading Block – Left-Handed Relievers
In an effort to improve the already strong bullpen, I’ve provided a list of teams that GM Brian Cashman could negotiate a deal with to acquire a reliable left-handed reliever.
Toronto Blue Jays – Aaron Loup
J.A. Happ isn’t the only player on the AL East rival Blue Jays roster who should be on the Yankees radar. Left-handed reliever Aaron Loup has six years experience under his belt, and he’s been pretty consistent during his career. The 30-year-old southpaw isn’t a high leverage guy but his career .228 opponent batting average against left-handed hitters would come in handy for any team.
Miami Marlins – Adam Conley
The rebuilding Marlins should not be shy during the deadline to deal aging players who can bring some value back to the club. Lefty Adam Conley can do just that as he sports an ERA of 1.42 through 19 appearances. While it’s a small sample size, the Marlins should move him sooner rather than later because some team is likely going to overpay for him.
Conley sported an atrocious 6.14 ERA as a starting pitcher last year, and he’s already 28 years of age. A transition to the bullpen seems to be doing him wonders, and it’s improving his trade stock for the Marlins. Miami would be silly not to shop him around.
Baltimore Orioles – Zach Britton
Orioles closer Zach Britton will bring a nice return from some team at the deadline if moved because of his All-Star proven pedigree. The 30-year-old left-handed closer is a pitcher any team should want on their roster. He’s still trying to hit his stride in 2018 after returning from injury, but I expect him to be an essential piece nonetheless for any postseason-caliber team.
San Diego Padres – Brad Hand, Matt Strahm
Along with Britton, Padres southpaw, Brad Hand will likely be one of the hottest names available at the deadline. Since joining San Diego in 2016 and working as a reliever, Hand has become one of the best left-handed relievers in the game.
Could moving to the pitcher-friendly PETCO Park have anything to do with Hand’s success? Maybe, but the numbers show the Padres deserve a significant return in exchange for Hand as he’s sporting an ERA of 2.77 since 2016. The market will likely be set once Britton and Hand fall to new teams since they headline the class.
Besides Hand, the Padres do also have the 26-year-old lefty, Matt Strahm. It’s unlikely they will deal the young pitcher, but they could make a move if the price is right. Strahm has both started games and made relief appearances in 2018 and so far has a 2.45 ERA in 25.2 innings pitched.
Cinncinati Reds – Amir Garrett
Amir Garrett struggled as a starting pitcher last year for the Reds, but he’s found success as a reliever. In 2017, Garrett posted a 7.39 ERA in 70.2 innings of work in the starting rotation. In 2018, the 26-year-old has posted a 2.89 ERA in 41 appearances and 43.2 innings of relief work.
The St. John’s alum is no stranger to New York. And he should have a great career ahead of him if he continues to be this dominant. I wouldn’t blame the Reds for holding on to him for now, but if the price is right, who’s to say the Reds don’t make a deal?
Minnesota Twins – Zach Duke
The 35-year-old Zach Duke could be a worthwhile rental for any team who needs a reliable lefty specialist. He’s sporting a 2.90 ERA as of right now and lefty bats are only slugging .222 against him. He wouldn’t cost the Yankees much to acquire either, and he would bring experience to a pitching staff filled with youth.
Chicago White Sox – Xavier Cedeno
The White Sox and Yankees made a deal last trade deadline, and maybe they can make another in 2018. Lefty Xavier Cedeno could draw some interest from contending teams because of his veteran experience.
Next: Bryce Harper, Yankees first baseman?
The former Astros, Nationals, and Rays reliever is a journeyman. So a change of scenery wouldn’t be anything new. Also, Cedeno’s looked great through his first 11.2 innings of work this season, as he’s posted a 0.77 ERA so far.