Quick Trivia Question: What's an easy way for the Yankees to do something while still doing nothing at all? Quick Trivia Answer: Trading Clarke Schmidt, Randy Vásquez and Ben Rice for Dylan Carlson.
After all, what is Carlson but an upside play? He's a 24-year-old former top 100 prospect (Brian Cashman currently licking his lips). He plays center field (Cashman currently sprinting to the airport). He's a switch-hitter (Cashman currently annoyed he's not a full-time righty, but he'll deal with it).
He's also got a 79 OPS+ in his most recent full season and is coming off season-ending surgery on his ankle. He was worth 0.5 bWAR last year, most of that defensive. In order to sell the fans on diminishing their strength on the mound in order to take a chance on (dissolving) talent, Cashman would have to possess a lot of equity. He does not. This is like if the Aaron Hicks trade cost Nathan Eovaldi.
So, instead of targeting Carlson, why not pay less for someone else's outfield prospect who's been tumbling down the depth chart (while posting superior numbers to the Cardinals' crown jewel)?
Trevor Larnach of the Twins is a full-time lefty. His role was usurped by Edouard Julien and Matt Wallner this year. Minnesota needs the other variety of balance, and could use right-handed outfield prowess. Could Larnach, a 2018 first-rounder, be had for Vásquez and Estevan Florial?
A Yankees-Twins Trevor Larnach trade makes more sense than Dylan Carlson swap
The Yankees are going to have to give a little bit to get, but this would be much more akin to the Hicks swap.
The Yankees nabbed Hicks, a 2008 first-rounder, after the 2015 season. He'd just turned 26 and posted a 98 OPS+, complemented by solid defense and a rocket arm. It cost the team John Ryan Murphy, a valued backup catcher. JRM was a genuine loss to the roster and a tough pill to swallow, but he wasn't viewed as any sort of historic dealbreaker. Letting Vásquez go, especially with the Yankees' patented pitching depth constantly regenerating, would feel the same.
Larnach, selected out of Oregon State as Minnesota's top pick in 2018, is entering his age-27 season, having been lapped on his current team's depth chart. Somewhat shockingly, he posted an identical OPS+ to Hicks in his final season in Minnesota, registering a 98 mark this past season with the Twins by hitting .213 with 8 bombs and 40 RBI.
Larnach found himself deemphasized by October and likely on the way out, but his advanced hit tool carried him at one of the elite college baseball factories and through the draft, and he could very well just be scratching his personal surface. As long as the Yankees don't immediately extend him, they could repeat the good part of the Hicks trade once again eight years later -- and avoid a Carlson overpay while they're at it.