2. Call Diamondbacks About Zac Gallen/Merrill Kelly
After Brian Cashman agrees to mortgage a small portion of his shortstop future (not the whole thing, just a portion!) for Matt Olson and Co., he should fire up a call to the Diamondbacks and demand the 2001 World Series trophy be returned, due to how clearly “unfair” a rotation of Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson was.
Once that business is handled, it’s time to get down to brass tax. Cashman could press on second baseman/center field All-Star Ketel Marte, but he’ll cost a boatload and will only add to the Yankees’ confusing position-less-ness. He’ll up their athleticism, but will hurt their strikeout issue. He’d be a good addition, but perhaps not at the required price.
Hopefully, this call to Arizona is about pitching — both the Schilling/Johnson thing and a possible pair of one high-upside and one depth arm.
The two sides should be familiar here, too, not from pre-lockout 2021 conversations, but from previous years spent talking Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray. This time around, there are two intriguing D-Backs hurlers who could help New York in two different ways.
Cashman could start the call by trying to pry Zac Gallen away, intent on unlocking his No. 2 upside and paying a heftier price. Gallen, swiped from Derek Jeter’s Marlins in the Jazz Chisholm trade that’s working out pretty well for everyone, is still just 26 years old and under team control through 2025. Last season, he took a step back on the mound (4-10, 4.30 ERA, 139 Ks in 121.1 innings while battling various injuries), but still, his fastball spin ranked in the 67th percentile and his xBA and xSLG were both above-average, too. If the Yankees want to include two top-10 prospects and some back-end depth (15-20-ranked prospects?), Arizona should listen.
Or what about Merrill Kelly? Not to be confused with catcher Carson Kelly (who the Yankees should, uh, also trade for), Kelly offers the exact same fastball spin rate and an elite walk rate (81st percentile), but precious little else typically coveted for the top of the rotation. Still, he could be an innings-eating No. 4 and is a free agent after the 2022 season. That means he should come relatively cheaply, leading Cashman to his third call of the afternoon.