By Mike Ricchione
All stats as of June 21
The New York Yankees have been interesting throughout the first half so far.
The Bronx Bombers own the major’s best record while not all of their pieces have been producing the way they would’ve hoped them to.
Murderer’s Row 2.0 which contain outfielders Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and catcher Gary Sánchez have still not reached their full potential.
The rotation has also been a cylinder that hasn’t been firing.
The rotation consists of their ace Luis Severino and then it drops off after that.
Last year’s trade deadline acquisition, right-hander Sonny Gray has watched his ERA balloon from 3.55 in 2017 to 4.89 in 2018. His WHIP is at 1.48 and opposing batters are hitting .267.
Left-hander CC Sabathia, the elder-statesman of the pitching staff has been serviceable.
Sabathia, who turns 38 in July, is 4-2 with a 3.30 ERA but has become a five-inning pitcher.
He went deep into the ballgame twice this June going seven innings on June 5 in Toronto and seven-and-two-thirds against the Rays.
Right-hander Domingo Germán has been 2-3 with a 5.85 ERA in his last seven starts.
For the season, Germán has posted a 2-4 record with a 4.77 ERA.
Currently on the DL, is right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (hamstrings) who is 7-2 thanks to his 7.31 run support per nine innings but also has a 4.58 ERA and career-highs in walks per nine, 2.35 and home runs per nine, 1.98.
Left-hander Jordan Montgomery is out for the season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery which he received on June 7.
This rotation can lead the Yankees to the postseason but it won’t earn World Title number 28.
The Yankees front office are heavily pursuing a starter or two in order that their rotation can compete amongst their biggest competition in the Houston Astros and their most hated rival, the Boston Red Sox.
Who could they be going after? Let’s take a look below.
Jacob deGrom and/or Noah Syndergaard
For a week or two, the New York Daily News created a hot topic for New York sports talk with this cover from May 18.
It was also a sore subject amongst Mets fans.
The Mets, who were projected to go 82-80 by USA Today have been a disappointment this season.
Since starting the season 11-1, the Mets have been an abysmal 20-39.
An important crossroads has fallen upon the Mets, do they continue to use deGrom and Syndergaard as pieces to build around or do they trade those pieces and restock a depleted farm system which only has one Top 100 prospect in MLB.com Pipeline’s Top 100 prospects.
The Mets front office has expressed that they would like to keep deGrom and Syndergaard but they are listening.
The Yankees have a more than enough prospects to spare as they boast one of the best farm systems in baseball.
A deal between these two is highly unlikely however as the Mets are most likely going to ask for at least one of their biggest rookie contributors, third baseman Miguel Andújar and second baseman Gleyber Torres and some other top prospects such as outfielder Clint Frazier, who technically isn’t a prospect but has spent a considerable amount of time in AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season because of the plethora of talent in the outfield and left-hander Justus Sheffield.
Not only that but also factor in last year’s failures for the two teams to reach a deal for both outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at the deadline.
The Blue Jays are another team that has been a disappointment.
A team that was a darkhorse in the AL East now sits five games below .500 and 16.0 games back of the division.
The Jays aren’t bitten by the injury bug as much as other teams only having four players currently on the DL but three of four are key contributors.
Those include third baseman Josh Donaldson (calf), pitcher Marcus Stroman (shoulder) and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (feet).
Their offseason acquisitions of outfielder Randal Grichuk and shortstop Aledmys Díaz have underachieved this season but have turned it around as of late.
As Donaldson spends more time on the DL, his trade value goes down.
The Blue Jays can compensate for that lost value as much as they can by trading Happ who is also in the last year of his deal.
Happ is a perfect fit for the Yankees as a rental. At age 35, Happ has emerged as the ace for Toronto going 9-3 with a 3.56 ERA with hitters batting .206 against him and a 10.09 strikeouts per nine.
Not only that but he won’t be as expensive as a deGrom or Syndergaard.
However, trades within the division are hard to orchestrate between the parties although unlike the Mets, the two however small, was able to strike a deal last year when the Yankees got first baseman Ryan McBroom for infielder Rob Refsnyder.
Cole Hamels is yet another attractive rental option for the Yanks.
Hamels, another lefty is 4-6 with a 3.41 ERA this season.
Although he has a partial no-trade clause, it would be surprising if he turned down a trade to a team that has the best record in the majors and would give him a lot more run support than the Rangers are giving him currently as well as a chance at World Series title number two.
Hamels’ RS/9 this season is a measly 2.92, a career-low.
Among the regulars in the rotation (Severino, Sabathia, Gray, Tanaka, and Germán), they average 5.74 RS/9.
Again, Hamels wouldn’t cost as much as a deGrom or Syndergaard because of his age and the fact that he is a rental.
Not only that but these two have agreed on a deal recently when in 2016, the Rangers received designated hitter Carlos Beltran for right-handers Nick G/reen, Erik Swanson and Dillon Tate.
Tyson Ross is experiencing a resurgence this season as he missed 2016 due to thoracic outlet syndrome and failed to regain his 2015 form with the Texas Rangers in 2017.
The Padres brought him back this offseason on a minor league deal and it has been great for Ross as he is yet again throwing his slider, one of the best in the majors with confidence and has pitched like it’s 2015 again.
In 2018, Ross is 5-4 with a 3.51 ERA with opponents batting .225 and a K/9 of 9.00.
Yet again, Ross is a rental which is perfect given that he is 31.
The fact that he is on a minor league deal is even better because he is the least expensive out of the previous options we mentioned.
Acquiring him shouldn’t take too many prospects as well.
Mike Ricchione is an aspiring sports media personality. His weekly MLB Talk Show, Rounding the Bases returns Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. starting July 3 only on 107.7 The Bronc. You can follow him on Twitter @MikeRicchione