8:13pm: The Yankees have called the Giants about righty Kevin Gausman, according to Martino. Gausman, whom the Giants signed to a one-year, $9MM contract last winter, has tossed 31 innings of 4.65 ERA ball (with a far shinier 3.10 FIP) and recorded 12.19 K/9 against 1.74 BB/9 this season. The 29-year-old spent 2013-18 in the Yankees’ division, the AL East, as a member of the Orioles.
8:50am: The Yankees find themselves in a familiar position with just six days until the Aug. 31 trade deadline: battling for first place in the AL East with a pitching staff that has been thinned out by injuries. Luis Severino won’t pitch this year after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and James Paxton just landed on the IL after weeks of shaky results with diminished velocity. Just as Aroldis Chapman returned for his season debut, Zack Britton went down with a hamstring strain. Tommy Kahnle had Tommy John surgery. Southpaw Luis Avilan is out with shoulder troubles. On top of the injuries, Domingo German’s suspension removes him from the depth chart for 2020.
New York still possesses a deep bullpen, even with Kahnle out for the year and Britton sidelined into September, but the rotation is much shakier. Gerrit Cole has been excellent thus far, but Masahiro Tanaka hasn’t thrown more than 71 pitches in a start. Jordan Montgomery has been shaky in his four starts, and J.A. Happ has yielded nine runs in 12 2/3 frames with more walks (10) than strikeouts (6). Cole and Jonathan Loaisiga, who has thrown a total of 5 1/3 innings, are the only Yankees pitchers who have started a game this year and currently carry an ERA under 4.60.
Unsurprisingly, the Yankees are in the market for arms — both in the ’pen and more importantly in the rotation. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees could be particularly intrigued by deals that could allow them to acquire a starter and reliever in one fell swoop. Most clubs are expected to be a bit more averse than usual to parting with prospects at this year’s deadline, given the shortened amount of time they’ll control the players in 2020 and the fact that ownership groups are less willing to take on salary. The Yankees are no exception, so doubling up in a single deal makes some sense.
SNY’s Andy Martino writes that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has already been in touch with the Indians, who are said to be at least “open” to offers on recently demoted right-hander Mike Clevinger. The 29-year-old has been excellent dating back to 2017 (2.97 ERA, 10.2 K/9 in 464 2/3 innings) and has two years of club control remaining beyond 2020. However, he also angered his organization by violating health-and-safety protocols and taking a flight with the club before the team learned of his actions. Clevinger was limited to 21 starts last year due to a teres major strain and an ankle injury, as well.
Elsewhere, Jon Morosi of MLB.com writes that the Yankees are among the many clubs to have inquired on Mariners righty Taijuan Walker. ]Walker is among the surest bets to move between now and Monday afternoon’s deadline, so it’d be more surprising to learn that the Yankees haven’t kicked the tires, but the initial interest is still worth noting. Walker is on a one-year, $2MM deal in Seattle this season and has pitched to a flat 4.00 ERA with a 25-to-8 K/BB ratio in 27 innings. Once one of MLB’s top pitching prospects, he pitched just 14 innings from 2018-19 due to injuries but has looked healthy thus far. Walker’s most recent start saw him hold the Dodgers to three runs on four hits and a walk with eight punchouts in seven innings.
There are obviously plenty of other places for the Yankees to look, but Cleveland and Seattle represent a pair of logical trade partners. If Clevinger is to move, the Indians will assuredly want immediate Major League help. They’re in second place in the AL Central and in clear win-now mode. Affordable outfield help will be paramount on the team’s wish list, as their current group has woefully underperformed. Speculatively speaking, Clint Frazier is a former top draft pick by the Indians. If Cleveland believes Miguel Andujar can play a competent left field, perhaps he’d be of interest as well. For a pitcher of Clevinger’s caliber, even with his stock down, they’d likely seek some additional prospect value rather than a straight-up swap, though. The rebuilding Mariners, meanwhile, may not be quite as insistent on adding MLB-ready help given that they’re not in the 2020 playoff picture. However, they’re beginning to see the fruits of their rebuild emerge at the big league level, so players who could help in the next year or two still seem likely to be an area of focus.