There’s a good chance Indians ace Trevor Bauer will be on the move before next month’s trade deadline. If that holds true the Yankees would be crazy not to make a strong push to acquire him.
The All-Star break is here for the Yankees players and the coaching staff but for GM Brian Cashman there are no breaks and his hardest work is just beginning.
With just over three weeks to go until the July 31st trade deadline, we know Cashman will do everything in his power to add another starting pitcher (or two) to the Yankee rotation. Who that will be is hard to predict at the moment but of all the starters who could be available in the coming weeks, the guy who makes the most sense for the Yankees is Trevor Bauer.
With NL Cy Young front runner Max Scherzer likely staying put in Washington the best starter on the trade market right now has to be Bauer. Better than Madison Bumgarner, Marcus Stroman, and Zack Wheeler.
After throwing seven innings of one-run ball and striking out 9 on Sunday against the Reds Bauer finished the first half with very solid numbers.
First Half: 20 GS, 8-6, 3.61 ERA, 149 K’s, 132 IP, 1.17 WHIP, .214 OPP BA
His Indians also finished the first half strong and enter the break with a record 50-38. However despite being 12 games over .500 and in the second Wild Card spot they still sit 5.5 games behind the first place Twins in the AL Central.
Considering how they’d be a playoff team if the season ended today you’d think that Bauer will stay put but according to reports, Cleveland could trade him to address a weakness in their lineup. Indians beat reporter James Rapien recently said on the Big-Time Baseball Podcast that it’s not a matter of if but when the right-hander gets traded.
ESPN’s Buster Olney echoed those sentiments on Twitter when he responded to a fan asking if the Indians will be buyers before the deadline:
"The value for Bauer and Hand is not going to get higher than it is right now, so they should seriously weigh offers for both; my guess is they trade Bauer, not Hand, and get back at least one major-league ready youngster who can help them now."
If they went that route Cleveland could both buy and sell as Olney noted and use Bauer to acquire a major league ready bat, preferably an outfielder. As my co-editor at Yanks Go Yard Mike Calindrello noted in his post on Friday the Yankees have a young outfielder in Clint Frazier who might be on the trading block that could certainly provide a big boost to the Indians offense.
Frazier, of course, started his pro career in the Indians system before being traded to New York in the Andrew Miller trade. They know better than anyone that he has the potential to be an All-Star caliber, heart of the order hitter for years to come like he proved earlier this season with the Yankees.
Before he was sent down last month Frazier hit .283 with 11 HR, 34 RBI and a slugging % of .513 in 53 games. Obviously, his defense needs to improve but the Indians currently feature a starting outfield of Jake Bauers, Greg Allen, and Tyler Naquin so I doubt they’d have any problems finding everyday at-bats for Frazier because his bat is that good.
Since Bauer is under team control through the 2020 season the Yankees would probably be willing to include Frazier as the centerpiece in a potential package. We know they won’t trade him for a rental like Bumgarner or Wheeler but for Bauer, they shouldn’t hesitate to do so.
Even though Frazier could still end up being the Yanks starting left fielder next year and beyond they can’t be worrying about next year this trade deadline. With all the questions surrounding their rotation and Luis Severino still weeks away from returning (if at all), they need to go all in and add another front-line starter by any means necessary.
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That guy could be Marcus Stroman based on recent reports but if the Yankees really want to put themselves over the top and reach the World Series Bauer is the better option. Stroman has been really good this year but if he were to join this Yankee rotation he’d probably be their number three starter in a playoff series after Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton. If they got Bauer there’s no doubt he’d be there Game 1 starter.
The Yankees like Stroman because he has one of the best ground ball rates in baseball but they like guys with high strikeout rates even more which is something Bauer definitely brings to the table. Over the past three seasons, he’s had a K per 9 rate of at least 10.0 and this season he’s fifth in the majors with 149 K’s which has him on pace for 274.
Bauer has the type of power stuff that you need to be successful pitching in October because when he’s on his A game he can shut down any lineup in baseball. He might not have the track record of potential playoff opponents like Justin Verlander or Chris Sale but with the Yankee offense backing him, he could go toe to toe with any ace in the game.
If the Indians end up dealing Bauer other teams will surely be in the mix but if the Yankees can strike a deal with Frazier as the headliner going to Cleveland they need to pursue it. The only thing that’s stopping them from winning a championship this year is their starting pitching but adding Bauer would fix that problem and give them the ace they need.