Now that the A’s asking price on New York Yankees prospects has reached an insane level, it’s time for the Bombers to shift focus.
A plus-arm in what is a questionable rotation and team control until 2020 clearly fit what the organization has in mind: compete now with the future in mind. Without a doubt, general manager Brian Cashman would have pulled the trigger for the right price.
The Oakland Athletics, however, reached a level with their asking price that the Yankees aren’t willing to match.
They have shown interest in the best prospects in the Yankees’ system. That includes No. 5 prospect Estevan Florial, No. 8 prospect Jorge Mateo and No. 10 prospect Domingo Acevedo (all according to MLB Pipeline’s Yankee ranks). Both Florial and Mateo would be a stretch as far as the cost for an arm with long-term questions in Gray, but recent reports show Oakland reaching even higher.
According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the A’s have asked for packages that feature either MLB Pipeline’s 27th-best prospect Clint Frazier or third-best Gleyber Torres, two future superstars the Yankees have declared as untouchable.
The Chicago White Sox got No. 7 ranked Eloy Jimenez, No. 68 Dylan Cease and two outside the Top-100 ranks in their trade with the Cubs involving Jose Quintana. If Cashman wasn’t willing to take that deep of a dip in the prospect pool for one of the most durable arms in the sport (or Chris Sale), how is he justified to do it for Gray, who’s unquestionably heightened by the soft market for starters?
Now, it’s time for the Yankees to shift their focus.
Yes, team control on a starting pitcher is critical, especially when looking past 2017, but not at the cost of Frazier or Torres. Instead of looking long-term at the price of an arm and a leg, Cashman ought to improve his rotation with a one-year rental a starter and address the rotation in the offseason — when the likes of Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta and Marco Estrada hit the open market.
It doesn’t make sense to gamble with young pieces in 2017. With a rotation that ranks sixth in the majors in WAR (9.6) and a bullpen that now features Tommy Kahnle, David Robertson, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman, a marginal improvement to round out the back-end of the rotation will satisfy. It’s cheap and ideal, especially for a team that’s likely headed to postseason play without one.
Billy Beane is likely waiting for someone to jump the gun and since there’s no rush for Cashman to hastily throw a No. 3 starter in his rotation at the price of an arm and a leg, it’s time for Cashman to turn toward a lower level starter.