The New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals are going to be the most talked-about set of trade partners in baseball as the trade deadline approaches.
The selling Cardinals have an abundance of outfielders -- and controllable ones, at that. The slumping Yankees have a ton of young pitching, which is exactly what St. Louis needs. These franchises consummated a surprising Harrison Bader/Jordan Montgomery trade last season as they both navigated contention. Now that they're both navigating something else entirely, and possess wares that match up with each other's needs, it would make sense that these two ships would meet in the night once more.
So how extensive are we talking, here? How expensive is it going to get? If former GM Jim Bowden's theory is true, the Yankees won't rule out taking on rentals, either, if that helps them get what they really want.
Let's get one thing straight: the Yankees are getting under that high luxury tax threshold, by any means necessary. Hal Steinbrenner is careful financially when his team is good. When they're terribly mediocre? He's not missing a chance to avoid harsh penalties by shedding ~$1.1 million. And you know what? This time, we can't blame him. Do that. You gotta do that.
Bowden pitched Jack Flaherty and Dylan Carlson to the Yankees, and if that's truly on the table -- it might be! -- the Yankees are going to have to match and exceed Flaherty's money going the other way. That complicates this trade pitch quite a bit.
Yankees-Cardinals Trade: Dylan Carlson, Jack Flaherty to New York
According to Bowden, switch-hitter Dylan Carlson, still just 24 years old, could fit the Yankees' bill. After months where it felt like Tyler O'Neill was falling too far out of favor in the Cardinals' outfield for his roster spot to be saved, manager Oli Marmol threw him a lifeline, instead deemphasizing Carlson following O'Neill's return. Does that mean Carlson's a goner? Not so fast; FanSided's insider Robert Murray thinks O'Neill is still the more likely trade candidate.
While Carlson makes a relative pittance, Flaherty's $5.4 million salary this season means that just under $2 million (~$1.78 M) will be remaining when Aug. 1 passes. That means the Yankees would have to clear $3-3.5 million to comfortably take him on. Is that Gleyber Torres' $3.3 million and Wandy Peralta's $1.4 million? Is it Luis Severino's fatter salary? Stay tuned! But they're not adding Flaherty without a significant countermove.
That makes this trade tough to assess. Flaherty's been competent, but not special (4.29 ERA with a garish 1.53 WHIP in his walk year). Carlson's a former top prospect having a "buy low" moment. Would the Yankees really surrender three top pitching prospects, plus breakout teenage shortstop Roderick Arias, for two players who aren't sure things (and one who won't be sticking around)?
Grade: C-. Take three of the pitchers and shove it, St. Louis. Richard Fitts, Randy Vásquez and Will Warren should be more than enough here. Leave Arias well enough alone.