If the San Francisco Giants don’t steal Aaron Judge from the New York Yankees, perhaps they might be interested in two lesser players from the roster. After all, San Fran will need all the help it can get while shedding some onerous salaries of their own.
Ever since joining The Athletic Yankees beat, Chris Kirschner has given fans a lot to ponder with his insight and hypotheticals. Recently, he posited the Yankees potentially trading for Liam Hendriks in a deal with the White Sox, which … actually makes a ton of sense for both sides.
In going through one of his mailbags from a few weeks ago (subscription required), we stumbled across another trade suggestion he had for the Bombers. This one involved the Giants before Judge’s reported visit right before Thanksgiving and before Joc Pederson accepted San Fran’s qualifying offer.
With or without Judge, the Giants are still in dire need of upgrades all over the roster. They also need to shed some uninspiring assets of their own.
As a result, Kirschner came up with something that might work out for both sides: the Yankees sending second baseman Gleyber Torres and outfielder Aaron Hicks to San Francisco in exchange for infielder Tommy La Stella and pitcher Alex Wood.
Would Yankees do this proposed salary-swap trade with Giants?
The Yankees won’t get the salary relief they need at the moment, but they’d get two expiring deals for giving the Giants two years of Torres and that $30 million due to Hicks through 2025.
La Stella (making $11.5 million for 2023) might be an expendable/unneeded piece, but having a versatile infielder as one of the last guys off the bench as insurance in the event DJ LeMahieu isn’t ready for Opening Day could be valuable. Don’t forget, there’s a good chance the Yankees trade Isiah Kiner-Falefa and his $6 million salary for 2023, too.
As for Wood, the left-hander, who is due $12.5 million in 2023, had a pretty bad 2022, finishing 8-12 with a 5.10 ERA, 3.76 FIP, 1.24 WHIP and 131 strikeouts in 26 starts (130.2 innings). But he’s very much an up-and-down pitcher who could be used in the back end of the rotation or as the first guy out of the bullpen. He’s capable of eating innings and taking pressure off a number of other valuable Yankees’ arms that will undoubtedly be taxed by mid-July, as is the case every single season.
This, in turn, frees up over $20 million for the Yankees in 2024, and gives the Giants an above-average, cost-effective middle infielder in Torres and a potential bounce-back outfield option in Hicks, who specializes in getting on base. Perhaps a change of scenery will help him get on track faster, too.
Either way, the Giants definitely need a better starter at second base in addition to a fourth outfielder behind (or starter alongside) Pederson, Mike Yastrzemski and/or LaMonte Wade Jr. They have the payroll to absorb all of this, and the trade-off is that they’d be getting rid of two under-performers and taking on Hicks for an asset in Torres.
It might be a tough sell, but it’s not necessarily a “bad” deal for anybody.