As deadline talks heat up here in early July, the New York Yankees may be able to fulfill a need through their crosstown rival.
It’s hard to ignore the fact that the New York Yankees have been in an absolute rut.
Over the last 22 games, the once top-tier American League contender has gone 6-16 with 11 of their 19 losses since the start of June decided by one-run. Which goes to show you how terrifyingly poor the bullpen has been during this stretch.
Despite owning a back-end tandem that features Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman, the Yankee bullpen has blown seven saves over the last 30 days — the most in Major League Baseball. In that same time frame, New York’s ‘pen also owns the second-highest walk rate (4.58 BB/9) and is tied for the second-most losses (7).
Yes, the Yankees are playing with house money and are enjoying a season over .500 thanks to the Baby Bombers, but competing isn’t far-fetched. If they choose to buy a few pieces by the trade deadline on July 31, they will certainly have the firepower to pull off a trade for some back-end reinforcements while not lighting the farm system on fire.
Reed, who was acquired by the Mets from the Arizona Diamondbacks in August of 2015 for Miller Diaz and Matt Koch, had been stellar in 2017 while filling in as closer for Jeurys Familia after he underwent surgery to repair a blood clot in his pitching arm.
In 40 appearances, the 28-year-old owns a 2.59 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 41.2 innings of work including a walk rate of 1.1 — better than Betances (8.6), Chapman (2.9) and Tyler Clippard (4.4). In fact, when compared to the Yankees’ 7-8-9 trio, Reed ranks first in WHIP (1.10), strikeout-to-walk ratio (8.40) and park-adjusted ERA (164).
The righty also owns 14 saves with opponents slashing a mere .222/.286/.417 with runners in scoring position making Reed a reliable reliever even in the high-leveraged situations New York seemingly can’t trust Tyler Clippard in during the middle innings. With no commitment beyond 2017 and the firepower to pull off a simple deal like this, buying into that production should be a no-brainer, but two questions come to mind.
One is, obviously, who would Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson want in return?
There are a couple of gems the Yankees could offer up that would make this deal look like a no-brainer, considering how deep the farm system is — especially with outfield prospects. Across town, the Mets aren’t primed to enter a rebuild and could even be back in contention by 2018 but when you look at the outfield picture, they only have Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto and Juan Lagares signed following this season. Thankfully the Yankees can offer up some close-to-major-league ready talent who could grow into the position in Queens.
Guys like Estevan Florial or Billy McKinney could be on the table along with a mid-level starter due to the high asking price of relievers these days. Dustin Fowler could have easily gotten a deal like this done, but a season-ending injury also ends the chances of a trade including him this July.
If the Mets want to venture more into young starting pitching, the Yankees still have the firepower in guys like Albert Abreu, Dillon Tate or Zach Littell. As long as the asking price isn’t asinine, any reasonable deal for bullpen help would not only be a smart one to pursue for general manager Brian Cashman, but it won’t decimate the system he’s worked so hard to build up.
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You can’t forget about the concern the Mets will have about trading their best reliever to their crosstown rival. Maybe concern wasn’t the right word, but these two organizations rarely trade with one another.
They have only made 16 transactions with each other since the Mets were established in 1962 and their last deal — Gonzalez Germen for cash in 2014 — was the first since Dec. 3, 2004, when the Mets sent Mike Stanton to the Yankees for Felix Heredia. A deal involving Addison Reed will likely be the biggest trade between the two teams since the Mets traded third baseman Robin Ventura to the Bronx for outfielder David Justice.
According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported that a deal could be discussed, as a “Mets person suggested they’d be willing to talk to the Yanks,” but there are nonetheless complexities with making a deal within state lines.
All of this is speculation, but this deal helps both squads. It gives the Yankees a trusted reliever when they seemingly need it the most and gives the Mets some immense upside as they plan to ship away their expiring contracts. The only question that could stop this from becoming a reality is if Cashman and Alderson are unable to convince their owners that making a deal with the other New York squad is the best for both organizations.