The Yankees’ pitching staff turned in its latest dud Friday, continuing what has amounted to a week-long series of hideous performances. Dating back to last Sunday’s loss to Colorado, New York has surrendered 64 runs in six games – including a combined 29 in a pair of shellackings in Boston over the past two nights – en route to four defeats.
As you’d expect, the Yankees’ rotation has been a key culprit in its recent run-stopping woes. Starter James Paxton struggled again Friday, yielding seven earned runs on four innings, and likely hasn’t met the Yankees’ expectations this season after coming over from the Mariners in a significant trade last winter. Likewise, the Yankees haven’t gotten enough from a group of Masahiro Tanaka, Domingo German, C.C. Sabathia and J.A. Happ.
Despite an AL-best 66-37 record, the Yankees are very much in the market for rotation help leading up to the July 31 trade deadline. Blue Jays hurler Marcus Stroman has been among the many starters on the Yankees’ radar, though Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported Thursday the Yankees aren’t the leading candidates to acquire him. Similarly, Andy Martino of SNY.tv tweets the Yankees haven’t been the most aggressive team after Stroman. Nevertheless, the two sides are still “in contact” in regards to the right-hander, Jon Morosi of MLB.com tweets.
The rebuilding, division-rival Blue Jays have predictably aimed high – albeit to a wholly unrealistic extent – in their quest to seek the best possible return for Stroman. During their talks with the Yankees, the Jays have requested middle infielder Gleyber Torres, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports. They’ve also asked for 20-year-old righty Deivi Garcia, the Yankees’ No. 1-ranked prospect.
Surrendering Torres is a nonstarter for the Yankees, who have seen him blossom from high-end prospect to high-end major leaguer since they acquired him from the Cubs in a July 2016 blockbuster. Torres was a Rookie of the Year candidate in 2018 who has gotten even better this season, just his age-22 campaign, having slashed .294/.360/.511 (127 wRC+) with 20 home runs and 2.6 fWAR in 398 plate appearances. As someone who’s not even on track to become eligible for arbitration until after 2020, the Yankees are in position to reap the benefits of Torres’ presence for a long time.
The same could be true in regards to Garcia, though the Yankees have at least reportedly shown a willingness to trade him for Mets righty Noah Syndergaard. However, there’s seemingly less of a chance of the Yankees giving up Garcia for Stroman, in part because he comes with one fewer year of control than Syndergaard. (Speculatively, perhaps the Yankees would be more amenable to sending Garcia to Toronto as part of a package for both Stroman and closer Ken Giles, whom they’ve also eyed.)
Stroman’s on a more-than-fair $7.4MM salary this season and under wraps through next year, so it’s reasonable for Toronto to expect a sizable return for him. It also helps that Stroman’s having a terrific season – better than Syndergaard’s – having put up a 2.96 ERA/3.52 FIP with 7.15 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and a 56.3 percent groundball rate in 124 2/3 innings. That doesn’t make Stroman worth close to as much as Torres, though, and it may not even be enough for the Yankees to hand over Garcia for him.