At the start of the 2021 season, the New York Yankees were expected to be trading blows with the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays, while the Boston Red Sox battled with the Baltimore Orioles for last place in the AL East. Nearly the opposite has happened to this point, with the Yankees having a seesaw season. Entering the second half of the season, the team has maintained a 46-44 overall record; fourth in the division. The landscape of the season could drastically change with momentum, but continued inconsistency is also a realistic outcome. Trade rumors have begun to surface in New York, and if the front office does becomes sellers towards the Trade Deadline on July 30th, it could force the team to make some difficult and unpopular decisions. Here, we discuss five names the Yankees should shop if they indeed decide to become sellers:
5. Jameson Taillon
Tallion is coming off Tommy John surgery this season, and there was expected to be an adjustment period, especially with relocating to a new team. He wasn’t the right choice for the Yankees, at least not this season. Brian Cashman decided to roll the dice, and while many of his past projects worked out, Taillon hasn’t found success. To this point, Tallion is supporting a 4-4 record along with a 4.97 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP.
All hope isn’t lost on Taillon, which is exactly why the Yankees should look to move the 29-year old towards the Trade Deadline. In fact, he has put together some solid outings, most recently achieving back-to-back solid outings on the mound. He still has one more year of arbitration eligibility left before he can become an unrestricted free agent, which could entice a team seeking depth at the end of their rotation. He is unlikely to bring any major trade value, but by moving Tallion, it clears the path for younger pitchers in the farm system looking for an opportunity.
4. Clint Frazier
This would certainly be a polarizing move among Yankees fans. Some have called for this trade over the last few years due to Frazier’s past growing pains, while others still want to hold on because of his believed “star potential”. Frazier has given a case for both sides at points during his career, but there has always been little question about his potential.
Frazier, 26, has struggled to receive consistent playing time until this season and hasn’t exactly found his groove, maintaining a .186 batting average to go with a .317 OBP. Perhaps one of the more alarming matters involves Frazier’s inability to find success against fastballs this year.
That said, there is still the upside for Frazier, which could perhaps still hold his value for a potential trade. Frazier could belong on both the sellers and buyers trade list, depending on what the Yankees decide to do moving forward. If they indeed decide to become buyer, perhaps a team like the Miami Marlins would be open to moving Starling Marte for a package centered around Frazier.
3. Miguel Andujar
I wouldn’t suggest trading both Miguel Andujar and Clint Frazier this season, but rather one or the other. The numbers of Andujar numbers don’t tell the entire story. In 154 at-bats, he has sported a .383 slugging percentage with a .253 batting average and six home runs. Some would argue he has been insignificant since his rookie campaign, but when he has had consistent playing time, Andujar has found success.
I would imagine other teams would notice the same trend thus far. Andujar would more than likely be the centerpiece of a trade package in order to receive a bigger name. Both himself and Frazier deserve playing time, and as currently constructed, that won’t happen for either player at this time. That doesn’t take into account the possibility of Aaron Boone trying Giancarlo Stanton in left field down the line once again.
2. Zack Britton
Britton has had a tough time staying on the field this season, but potentially moving him at the Trade Deadline has little to do with that. Most would believe that Britton can still be a contributing factor for a team looking to contend and could prove to be a valuable bullpen piece.
While he isn’t performing at the same level, this is reminiscent of when the Yankees moved Andrew Miller for a package that included Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield. There is little need for a 33-year old reliever who still has one more year on his contract worth $14 million.
They may not be able to get a package similar to that of Miller’s deal, but moving Britton could allow the Yankees to use the $14 million owed to him elsewhere. They may have to essentially give him away, but the flexibility it would provide would be worth it.
- Aroldis Chapman
Depending on who you ask, this would be a positive move for different reasons. That being said, especially with mentioning the Miller situation, during that same year Chapman himself was traded for a package from the Yankees to the Chicago Cubs. In what is one of the most praised moves by Brian Cashman, he was traded to the Cubs for a package that included Gleyber Torres, only for Chapman to rejoin the team in free agency once again.
Back then, Chapman was more dominant and still had some youth on his side. He isn’t exactly over the hill at this point, but his age and overall controversy that comes with his name would likely make it more of a challenge for the team.
It was only a few months ago that Chapman appeared to be the best closing pitcher in baseball before imploding on more than one occasion. The struggles have ballooned his ERA to 4.55 and has collected four blown saves in 20 opportunities. That said, the ability and tools to be dominant is still there. Even with the baggage, a team that’s expecting to contend this season might be willing to spend to bring in Chapman to slot in towards the top of their bullpen depth. Even if he’s not a team’s primary’s closer, he could an extremely valuable piece for any bullpen. He almost certainly won’t bring in the same type of value from the last time the Yankees traded him, but clearing the $18 million he is owed in 2022 could allow the Yankees more flexibility.