With the August 1 trade deadline approaching, the New York Yankees maintain control of a player who possesses substantial value.
Since the start of an extremely speculatory week, cluttered trade ideas have contained two names: Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller. As August 1 draws inevitably closer, fans are somehow failing to mention one name.
That name is Carlos Beltran, a man who can potentially bring back just as much — if not more — value as Chapman yanked from the Cubs. In a baffling sense, people are losing sight of what the guy is doing and what his worth entails not only internally, but externally as well.
At 39 years of age, he maintains a stellar slash of .305/.347/.548 with 21 homers and 62 runs batted in. Current projections have him finishing the campaign with 34 round-trippers and 99 RBIs while maintaining a superb .894 OPS.
With that said, another win-win scenario presents itself for the Yankee front office. Beltran is in the midst of the final excellent stretch of baseball in his illustrious career and currently serves as a rental for any team in need of his services. In other words, they have the opportunity to bolster a growing farm system rather than gaining nothing when his contract expires.
Judging from the Chapman trade, which was largely viewed as a success, they also have the distinct ability to rip a team off.
The team they can and will benefit from — if and when a deal gets done — is the Cleveland Indians. A team sitting 4.5 games ahead in the AL Central at the present, trying to bring the city an unforeseen second championship of the year, general manager Mike Chernoff will likely be in search of one more impact bat to fortify the roster.
With a starting staff already consisting of relatively young and extremely impactful talent, parting with minor league arms will be less taxing on the organization. In order to take that next step towards the promise land, the front office may go to interesting depths to finish a storybook season.
That is where the Yankees come in. Two franchises located approximately 460 miles apart have something in common: they both have assets the other side desires.
After gaining meaningful position players on Monday, the Yanks will be in search of young and soon-to-be-ready starting pitching to set the stage for prominence in the coming years. The Tribe, on the other hand, wants one thing, and one thing only, out of the Yanks: Carlos Beltran.
For those wondering why he would be of value to them aside from an additional bat, look at where the Indians currently stand. They stand in a position which calls for a guy who has been there and done that. More veteran leadership is needed on a roster hungry for a playoff berth.
To take it further, they have the benefit of a DH. While Beltran would help a National League club, he is a guy whose production needs to be had every single day. It is simply unrealistic to keep him on the field without spelling him — or giving him a “half day off” — at least two times a week. Cleveland, in an ideal sense, has a scenario where a DH by committee would be in play.
Carlos Santana and Mike Napoli would both take at-bats at designated hitter with Beltran sliding in there more regularly. Beneficially, a flexible nature would be added given that all three can play the field.
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Perhaps the most vital aspect of what the 18-year veteran brings to the table is his playoff experience and, more importantly, his incredible success in October. His .332/.441/.674 slash with 16 long balls and 40 RBIs in 52 career postseason games is truly exceptional. In fact, it can be logically argued that he is the greatest postseason performer in MLB history.
Ironically enough, he has never won a world series title.
With the minuscule chance of him tasting that glory in New York, he would be poised and determined to contribute at a torrent rate in Cleveland.
Although he makes sense on their end, what will ultimately get this deal done is what the Yankees receive. Brian Cashman will be the one naming the price and he will be the man either listening intently or shutting Chernoff out.
At the moment, a handful of the top 10 prospects in the Indians organization are starting pitchers who can help the Yankees’ future plans immensely. Their number three prospect, Brady Aiken, is a 19-year-old southpaw who can certainly be big league ready by the time the hyped up 2019 success is imminent.
How about Mike Clevinger? Currently residing in Triple-A Columbus, the 25-year-old right-hander’s stellar 2016 campaign has him knocking on the door. The results back up his progress as he is 10-1 with a 3.17 ERA in 16 starts.
If the Bombers want to entertain a longer project, they can roll the dice on Triston McKenzie, who has gotten off to an extremely fast start at age 18.
Simply put, there is talent to be had in Cleveland’s farm. Furthermore, the Yankees now possess leverage, which is an imperative circumstance to have at this stage. Having made a deal a full week before the deadline, they have a scale size as to what they can demand and what is reasonable to demand in this market.
Swiping two of the aforementioned three arms is not unreasonable considering what they received for a rental who pitches one inning at a time. For a guy who plays every day, produces runs every day, spaces a lineup every day, and provides needed experience on that daily basis, it is not preposterous to have a greater demand than expected.
With all of the factors in play, negotiations can feasibly be expected. There will be starting points which will be disagreed upon heavily, but there eventually will lie a common ground.
If the Yankees and Indians want to make it happen, it will happen. The Indians will earn their coveted division title and the Yankees will have a minor league system stockpiled with franchise cornerstones.
The clock may be ticking, but the cards are in order.