If the New York Yankees could suddenly come into possession of the hottest hitter in baseball, would you sign up for that?
No, not Vladimir Guerrero Jr. The other one.
We’ve tried to keep our trade rumors reasonable for the past several months, targeting low-cost pitchers, fill-in outfielders, and the occasional Joey Gallo. When something hasn’t passed the smell test, we’ve dissected it and sent it to the gutter (hello, Anthony Rizzo for Gary Sanchez).
Then Jim Bowden and The Athletic had to sneak in this weekend with a list of way-too-exciting trade targets for the Yankees, and we just had to go back to the mines.
Behind the paywall (subscription required) were a few targets we’ve analyzed and re-analyzed, all of which feel like major steps to take at this point in time.
Ketel Marte merited mention, though we feel like Brian Cashman will have to “lose” the trade to convince the Diamondbacks that’s worth it, something he’s long been loath to do. The piece circled back to the Reds and the underperforming Luis Castillo, which the Yankees would surely entertain despite his 7.91 ERA, as long as Cincinnati was willing to entertain a lesser package than Literally Gleyber Torres. Bowden brought up Kevin Gausman, which is curious, considering he’s currently the ace of a Giants team battling with behemoths for an NL playoff spot.
Consider our interest piqued, though, by the ultimate sell-high candidate: Rangers breakout star Adolis Garcia, a trade that sounds impossible until you realize…well, if put in the same position, the Rays would do it. Why not Texas?
Yankees Rumors: Could the Bombers trade for Adolis Garcia?
Garcia — who, if the stars had aligned differently, could be sharing the Cardinals outfield with Randy Arozarena, with a healthy Luke Voit at first — has been tearing the cover off the ball in all situations since hitting his way to the top of the Rangers’ center field depth chart this spring.
Quite literally, if you were to do a fantasy draft of potential center field upgrades for the Yankees at this very moment, you might pluck Garcia out of the pool as the first overall pick. It’s wild to think he might be available.
At the same time, the 2.9-WAR-accruer is 28 years old. He did not enter the 2021 season thought of as a prospect with a high potential to succeed. He’s hitting .282 with 16 homers, but just a .322 OBP, swinging out of his shoes (and connecting!) but doing so in the style of 2018 Miguel Andújar.
If the Texas Rangers believe they really have found a Mookie Betts lite for the next four years, and they can contend at some point during that window, then sure, they should keep him. Is this the best he’ll ever be, though? If the Yankees (or another team) comes calling, can you really turn down a four-piece of top prospects for someone you just discovered on a lark a month ago?
The thought of this trade has pretzeled my brain. The thought of the electric, exciting, Luis Robert-esque Garcia patrolling center field at Yankee Stadium instead of Brett Gardner is as big of a contrast as you’ll find, mentally. It’s like replacing Jay Leno as the host of The Tonight Show with a 15-foot-tall robot with the collective consciousness of BTS.
You don’t often see MVP candidates dealt midseason, but you also don’t often see MVP candidates emerge at age 28 out of nowhere, aggressively swinging from their heels and making a franchise confront their own direction.
Garcia likely will not be traded, but if he’s available, Cashman may have to be willing to surrender a pair of top-10 assets in the name of all-caps GOING FOR IT one time prior to the luxury tax window reopening itself.