The Yankees and Texas Rangers could be solid trade partners, as the virtual “Winter Meetings” heat up.
Perhaps stuck in the proverbial mud more than any other MLB team right now, the perpetually average Texas Rangers have some work to do, and the New York Yankees have some calls to make.
Luckily, there’s a new GM in Dallas, and it’s former 6-foot-10 right-hander Chris Young. Remember him?! The former All-Star starter moved onto Major League Baseball’s offices under Joe Torre over the past few years, and will now transition into leading a rebuild in Texas. Best of luck!
So who stays? Who goes? And how can the Yankees wedge their way into this conversation?
Like any average MLB team, the Rangers have some pieces to play with. After all, they were a dark horse AL West team entering the 2020 season, buoyed by a division-best rotation of Corey Kluber, Lance Lynn, Mike Minor and Jordan Lyles. Half of those names have already departed, and the Rangers thanked Kluber for his services (literally one inning pitched). That means the “contention window” has closed, and we have to move on to the next generation. That’s why Jon Daniels got bumped into an overseeing role, and why Young has arrived. He wasn’t hired to maintain the status quo.
And these three potential deals could make sense for both sides, if the Yankees want to get involved.
3. Jordan Lyles to the Yankees
What do you do when you can’t have Lance Lynn to the Yankees? Trade for Jordan Lyles.
By far the most logical trade target for the Yankees this offseason (now that Kyle Schwarber’s been non-tendered) was Lance Lynn, taking every team’s assets into account.
Lynn never got a fair shake in the Bronx, though those who wish we’d extended him instead of JA Happ after 2018 are operating with revisionist history at their disposal. The weirdest year of his career was spent partially in pinstripes, and he wasn’t afforded a Spring Training thanks to the market’s sludge-like crawl for pitchers of his caliber. The only time he’s been genuinely bad during his entire MLB tenure was with the Twins in a partial ’18 campaign, and as a Yankee, he was hit-or-miss before being relegated to the ‘pen for the ALDS.
Well, we’ve got rough news for you — he’s been dealt to the Chicago White Sox. And unless the White Sox dealt for him Tuesday at midnight with the express purpose of flipping him to the Yankees, then the dream is once again dead.
The Rangers retaining Lynn for this upcoming lost season would’ve been a massive blunder. And with Jordan Lyles the only man left from the Kluber-Lynn-Minor-Lyles foursome of a year ago, why even keep one?
Lyles parlayed a phenomenal second half with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2019 (7-1, 2.45) into a tidy two-year contract, the final year of which is about to arrive. He’d be a back-end pickup rather than a dynamic top-tier ace like Lynn, but once again, the Yankees chose to be outbid by the White Sox offer here (or foolishly never picked up the phone).
Lyles’ final year, on the other hand, will cost a paltry sum — his 2020 was as poor as can be, featuring a 7.02 ERA in only one fewer inning than his dynamite back half of ’19. A flyer on the righty wouldn’t cost more than, say, arbitration-eligible Luis Cessa, or a back-of-the-top-30 prospect like No. 28 Frank German and his live arm. We would’ve preferred Lynn, but we don’t have any say in the matter, unfortunately.