With just over two weeks left till the MLB Trade Deadline is upon us, expect the hot stove to catch fire. Brian Cashman and the Yankees will once again be at the forefront of discussions in the days leading up to July 31.
The target? Starting pitching.
Last season brought J.A. Happ, while Sonny Gray served as 2017's big acquisition. This summer has the chance to be very different, though, as the Yankees aim to acquire an ace -- or close to it. In many ways, it could be the right summer to make the deal for an impact starter that the team has long sought.
Nearly everything has gone right for the Yankees this season despite a rash of injuries and inconsistent starting pitching. They entered the All-Star break with the games' second-best record (57-31) and third-best run differential (+113). Acquiring a proven arm could do wonders for a Yankees' rotation that currently ranks 12th in baseball with a 4.22 ERA.
The question isn't if the team will get a starter. It's who. No one will ultimately know that answer until a move is made, but two candidates have stood out among the chatter - Trevor Bauer and Marcus Stroman.
While either player would be a strong addition to New York's wobbly staff, both offer unique skill sets...
It's not a given that Bauer will be traded this summer, according to Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic. The Indians aren't out of the playoff hunt by any means, and they'll get Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrascoback from the injured list sooner than later. However, Bauer will surely be dangled to interested teams.
Rosenthal reported that Tim Naehring, the teams VP of Baseball Operations and trusted advisor of GM Brian Cashman, was in attendance at Bauer's last start vs. Cincinnati (7 IP, 1 ER, 9 K). It was another strong outing in a season full of them for Bauer, a 28-year-old who finished 6th in American League Cy Young voting last year. He hasn't quite been as good as last season, but one could argue he's still performed better than any regular on the Yankees' staff.
In Bauer, the Yankees would be getting the league leader in innings (132), and one of the games true power arms. His 149 punchouts currently ranks fifth among starters, with four starts of 10+ whiffs, as well as seven outings of eight or more. Those numbers come out to a 10.2 K/9, the second-highest strikeout rate of his career.