The New York Yankees are primed to position themselves for a World Series run in 2019, and they plan on making the most of this offseason.
With a star-studded free agent class headlined by Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, the New York Yankees might dip into the trade market to patch a starting pitching sized hole in their World Series plan.
Jon Heyman from FanGraphs is reporting the Yankees are interested in trading for Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and John Paxton.
This past season, New York attempted to patch up its pitching problem by dealing for a trio of arms that ultimately didn’t get them any further than the ALDS. J.A. Happ was a blessing in disguise for the Yankees after they acquired him at the trade deadline, but Lance Lynn failed to make an impact (Zach Britton was good but was irrelevant out of the bullpen). Adding a blockbuster arm like Kluber, Carassco, or Paxton could potentially put them over the top in the American League East.
While it’s easy to gush at the idea of New York trading for an ace to solve its problems, there are reasons to be wary. Carrasco has had a string of injuries hurt his production, and Kluber’s recent playoff struggles could be a reason why the Yankees might not be inclined to do a deal with them if the price gets too high.
The third option on their list is James Paxton who is also the most intriguing. He’s the youngest of the three (Paxton is 30-years old) and is a left-handed power pitcher.
He features a fastball that sits in the mid to upper 90’s and can top out at 100-plus. Last season he finished amongst the league leaders in pitches of 100-plus MPH. He and Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale are the only two left-handed starters to throw a pitch of 100 MPH since 2008. A fastball like that helped him finish with a career-high 11.7 K/9 in 2018. That would have been good for fourth in baseball had he thrown enough innings to qualify. Not to mention that he’d be under team control until 2020.
Pitchers like Paxton don’t come around too often.
The Yankees should zero in on Paxton for a couple reasons. Firstly he’s the youngest of the three and the Yankees aren’t going to find another pitcher like him. A power left-handed pitcher who’s under team control is not something you come across very often.
It might cost a little extra to acquire Paxton than it would for Carrasco or Kluber, but it would be worth it in the long run.