Yankees trade rumors already feature starting pitcher Robbie Ray

Robbie Ray #38 of the Arizona Diamondbacks (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
Robbie Ray #38 of the Arizona Diamondbacks (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) /

Trade rumors are typically reserved for the months of December and July. However, following the loss of Luis Severino, the Yankees are once again being linked to starting pitcher Robbie Ray.

Ironically, moments after Yankees general manager Brian Cashman proclaimed that the organization would initially look within to replace Luis Severino, who is lost for the season following Tommy John surgery, trade rumors for Robbie Ray began to make the rounds.

While Cashman has been known to use smoke and mirrors, he’s correct in his assessment that because it’s so early in the season, that the trade market has yet to begin to take shape.

However, this isn’t the first time the Yankees have been linked with the 28-year-old left-hander.

Scheduled to make $10.8 million in 2020 before hitting free agency, Ray was a hot topic of late July trade discussions last year.

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But the sticking point in negotiations was that Arizona was deadset on dealing him for Clint Frazier, plus three prospects — and that was too much for the Yankees to swallow for a pitcher that surrendered 30 home runs and 4.3 BB/9 in ’19.

So how have things changed over the past seven months? Well, for starters, the Diamondbacks signed Madison Bumgarner to a lucrative contract. When you factor in that the D’backs also have Luke Weaver, Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly, and several other young arms ready for the majors, Ray is suddenly expendable.

Surely, D’back fans might prefer to keep Ray until July 31 — since, on paper, he is the team’s No. 2 or 3 starter — and it appears Arizona could have enough to contend for a wild card spot.

If Ray performs similarly to the way he did in ’19 (12-8 with a 4.34 ERA and 235:84 K:BB ratio in 174.1 innings), he will bring back a decent haul, but like last year, not an enormous one since he’s a .500 pitcher scheduled to hit the open market.

Hopefully, by June, at the latest, both James Paxton and Domingo German are fit to return to the mound.

It’s also highly likely that the organization would know by then if one of their young pitchers (Jordan Montgomery, Jonathan Loaisiga, Deivi Garcia, Michael King, Clarke Schmidt) is producing well enough to stick at the big league level.

Thus, making a trade of high-level prospects plus Frazier or another member of the 26-man roster could become irrelevant.

In regards to Frazier, with spring dings already affecting Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, Frazier will get plenty of Grapefruit League opportunities to prove he belongs in the Bronx.

The Yankees will only be forced into making a sizeable trade if the injury bug strikes again. The Bombers are undoubtedly good enough to overcome any lack of production, but long IL stints to any of their key players will be a gamechanger.

Yankees have a lot of injury-prone players. dark. Next

So if Cashman and company aren’t in a rush to swing a deal during spring training, we likely won’t see one until the product on the field is given a fair chance. And by then, the cost should come down considerably.