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

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Merrill Kelly #29 of the Arizona Diamondbacks (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Merrill Kelly #29 of the Arizona Diamondbacks (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

2. Merrill Kelly

If the Yankees need back end rotation help, Merrill Kelly could be an option.

If we’re looking at a best-case scenario for the Yankees starting rotation, it’d be Gerrit Cole, Corey Kluber, Jameson Taillon and Jordan Montgomery 1-4 with Domingo German, Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt and others battling it out for the No. 5 spot until Luis Severino returns and can hopefully inject more life into the unit.

But that’s a best-case scenario. If you’re not familiar with the last four years, the Yankees have been dealing with a lot of worst-case scenarios, so let’s temper our expectations by hoping for the best but expecting the worst.

Assuming the Bombers need some rotation help and would like to fortify the back end in the event the front end is fairly solidified, perhaps Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Merrill Kelly could be had for a decent price. He’s under contract for $4.25 million this year and has a $5.25 million team option next year followed by two arbitration years.

The 32-year-old is stuck in dead end Arizona and is 16-16 with a 4.15 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 187 strikeouts in 37 starts (214.2 innings) since debuting in 2019. He sports a fastball, cutter, curveball and changeup. That’s a nice little four-pitch mix (he throws each of them fairly often) to have in the No. 4-5 spot of your rotation.

Again, the D-Backs are going nowhere with the Dodgers and Padres loading up for the foreseeable future, so they might be smart in unloading one of their more valuable assets in Kelly.