At this year’s trade deadline, reports surfaced that the New York Yankees were looking to make a move for Miami Marlins starter Pablo Lopez. A deal was never made, though, and it was both a blessing and curse.
It was a blessing because had general manager Brian Cashman surrendered legitimate assets for a supposed “top end” starter who finished with a 4.40 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in his final 11 starts of the season, the reaction would’ve perhaps been worse than what fans had in response to the Frankie Montas trade.
It was a curve, however, because loose rumors out there suggested Cashman had a package in place that would’ve sent Aaron Hicks and the remainder of his contract to Miami. Gleyber Torres was also mentioned in the talks, and after that news became public he became one of the worst players in baseball for the next six weeks.
Now, this offseason, Lopez is reportedly on the market again. Do the Yankees dare make another attempt after the Marlins’ supposed poor negotiation tactics (the trade was reportedly pulled at the last second) as well as the right-hander’s end to the 2022 season?
Assuming the price for Lopez went down because now he’s under control for less time and had a tale of two halves in 2022 (2.86 ERA, 1.07 WHIP vs 4.97 ERA, 1.30 WHIP), the Yankees should probably try to get their way this time around.
Will the New York Yankees try to trade for Pablo Lopez again?
The Marlins need hitters and they have a plethora of starting pitchers, with Lopez slowly becoming expendable because he’s a free agent after 2024 who likely won’t be re-signed due to the other emerging arms in the organization.
He’s expected to make $6.3 million in arbitration in 2023, which would be a cost-effective price for a pitcher of his caliber as well as the Yankees’ needs (a No. 4 and 5 behind Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes and Luis Severino).
Last time around, the rumor was that the Marlins wanted Gleyber Torres and Oswald Peraza for Lopez and Miguel Rojas. Two young players for a guy who’s pitched one full season and a 34-year-old shortstop making as much as Isiah Kiner-Falefa? No thanks.
With Peraza, Oswaldo Cabrera and Anthony Volpe rocketing up the prospect ranks and ready to play bigger roles on the MLB roster in 2023, it’s more than likely they’ll be off limits unless the perfect trade comes along. But what about guys like OF Everson Pereira and SS Trey Sweeney? The two fast risers have impressed and represent a surplus of promising talent in the Yankees system.
If the desire still remains to get rid of Hicks, perhaps the Yankees might be forced to include multiple top prospects nearing their MLB debuts or someone like Jasson Dominguez/Peraza. Or maybe Torres is still on the table, who knows. Swapping those two, both of whom are controllable through 2024, might make the most sense.
With Jameson Taillon now a free agent and Jordan Montgomery in St. Louis, the Yankees need at least one more starter. And if they can’t spend for one in free agency because of the cost it’ll require to keep Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo, a Lopez trade could be revisited and more thoroughly finalized because both parties are afforded more time in the offseason.