Yankees: Revisiting the Michael King Trade With Marlins


The New York Yankees acquired Michael King from the Miami Marlins shortly before the Giancarlo Stanton trade.

Some Yankee fans may have forgotten where Michael King came from considering his acquisition was overshadowed by the blockbuster Stanton deal that happened a couple weeks later in December of 2017. But King was the result of another dealing with the Marlins.

New York shipped first baseman Garrett Cooper and pitcher Caleb Smith to Miami in exchange for King and $250,000 in international bonus pool money, in what was to help prepare for the potential signing of Shohei Ohtani. Though that backfired, the Yankees are hoping King can make a Major League impact in 2020 and beyond. The right-hander was a 12th-round selection in the 2016 MLB Draft out of Boston College.

At the time, this looked like a great deal. King had a nice college career and logged an impressive debut season as a starter in the Marlins system. The Yanks got some extra money to prepare for a run at Ohtani. All is well, right?

Well, not exactly. Ohtani went to the Angels and Smith has become a decent starter for the Marlins. (We can bail on Cooper here since the Yankees had absolutely no need for him). In two seasons with Miami, Smith owns a 4.41 ERA and 1.23 WHIP with 256 strikeouts in 44 starts (230.2 innings). Considering the countless rotation problems the Yanks have run into over the past few years, they could’ve used that production.

Meanwhile, King, who had a wildly impressive 2018 campaign across three levels in the minors with New York, regressed in 2019 and logged a 5.48 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 11 games (8 starts) thanks to some elbow issues. He made his MLB debut last year despite all of that and allowed one earned run in two innings of work.

The good news is that King was off to a solid start in 2020 Spring Training before the COVID-19 pandemic put everything to a screeching halt. He tossed 9.1 innings and registered a 3.86 ERA. Not bad! But he did allow two home runs and struck out only four batters on that run. Not entirely great.


This feels like a make-or-break year for the 25-year-old considering he’ll likely be getting big league reps in the event there’s an MLB season. Whether it’s as a starter or a reliever, King definitely needs to make his mark with the Yanks in this shortened 2020 campaign in order to have a significant role with the team in 2021 and beyond.