2. Yankees and Cubs Swap Roster Chunks in Bigger Deal
(And it won’t fit on the graphic, but there’s a good chance there’s a fifth Yankees prospect lottery ticket heading over in that deal, too. Perhaps a Rule 5 eligible like CF Brandon Lockridge?)
This would be the motherlode. Contreras’ acquisition would immediately shift the balance of power behind the plate, but catcher isn’t the team’s only weakness. As of this article’s writing, the Yankees are running Aaron Hicks out every day despite rampant underperformance, and have installed Miguel Andújar as their starting left fielder. Joey Gallo, once the paragon of underperformance, has now rocketed up the lineup’s power rankings and seems like one of the “normal guys.” This team is in desperate need of outfield reliability while Giancarlo Stanton heals up from a bout of ankle soreness.
Happ, best friends with Anthony Rizzo, could help immediately. The switch-hitter has posted a 129 OPS+ and 1.4 WAR that would immediately revitalize a thin and oft-injured unit. Need bullpen help? The Yanks certainly do after losing Jonathan Loaisiga, Chad Green and Aroldis Chapman in a matter of days. An almost-comical thinning of the bullpen could lead to the tide being stemmed in the same way it was in 2017: David Robertson.
The beloved Yankee could be a perfect fit for his third go-round with the team he came up with; D-Rob has struck out 22 in 15.1 innings so far this season, holding down a 1.76 ERA and superior Statcast metrics to go with it.
The Bombers would have to give to get here, surrendering their No. 2 prospect Oswald Peraza, someone they’ve previously been unwilling to part with. The toolsy Pereira and nasty Vasquez would also really hurt to lose (all top-15 prospects), but the Cubs are in over their heads dealing with a roster mess. Unless they’re overwhelmed, they won’t want to surrender all their premium assets in a single trade rather than spread them out to several desperate teams. It might not even be possible for the Yankees to nab all three, but expect five (or six!) familiar names switching sides to make it happen.