Yankees: 3 unexpected trade targets NYY should pursue at some point in ’21

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Yankees fans have just about heard enough of trade chatter, payroll restrictions, and expectations for 2021. With Opening Day a month and a half away, all of the nonsense will be over soon.

Well, almost all of it.

For much of the offseason, fans have been critical of the Yankees’ inactivity, then happy with a flurry of moves, and then critical again of inactivity/letting players walk in free agency. Within that, everyone was truly fed up with the richest organization in baseball refusing to eclipse the $210 million luxury tax threshold.

We’re certainly not endorsing that decision from ownership, but it might be a reality for the duration of 2021, even with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement that a small percentage of fans can attend games come April 1. We’re not banking on the team changing philosophies that quickly, because we can see them saying the influx of revenue still isn’t enough to justify it.

Cost-effective free agent additions have been talked about at length, but perhaps some trade targets of the sort could be of more value since there’s a chance many could be available between now and the end of July.

Here are three unexpected, cost-effective trade targets for the Yankees.

Relief pitcher Jose Cisnero #67 of the Detroit Tigers (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Relief pitcher Jose Cisnero #67 of the Detroit Tigers (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

3. Jose Cisnero

If the Yankees need cheap relief help, Joel Cisnero could be a smart acquisition.

The Detroit Tigers aren’t winning much of anything in the next five years, so they should be open for business on all of their players from this very moment up until the final buzzer at the trade deadline — especially when it comes to their controllable assets.

Relief pitcher Jose Cisnero is one of them. Though he’ll turn 32 during the 2021 season and didn’t really break out until last year, the right-hander only costs $1.5 million and has two years of arbitration left. He won’t be highly sought-after because he’s largely had a bad career.

Most of it was spent in the minors and in foreign leagues, especially after his first two years with the Houston Astros back when they were tanking in 2013 and 2014. But after four years without an appearance in the big leagues, he resurfaced with the Tigers in 2019 and fully broke out in 2020. Over the last two years, he’s pitched to a 3.74 ERA and 1.34 WHIP, but even those numbers are inflated based on how good his 2020 was.

The last two years he’s averaged 96 MPH on his fastball, 87 MPH on his slider and 91 MPH on his changeup, which have signaled his revival. At the very least, New York should be keeping tabs on him as an effective middle relief option.