As I sit down to write this article, it’s only May 18th. One of the first unofficial markers of MLB’s regular season regarding team performance is Memorial Day. Despite that, more than one-quarter of the 162-game schedule has already come and gone. Even with respective lackluster starts to 2023, the Mets and Yankees are definitely still interested in buying at the trade deadline.
For now, at least. While the trade market won’t really heat up for a while, it doesn’t mean the rumor mill can’t start to churn. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand did his part by listing 10 players who are getting buzz as potential trade candidates.
Here they are:
- White Sox SS Tim Anderson
- White Sox SP Dylan Cease
- Royals RP Aroldis Chapman
- Cardinals SP Jack Flaherty
- White Sox SP Lucas Giolito
- White Sox C Yasmani Grandal
- Rockies OF Randal Grichuk
- Reds INF/OF Wil Myers
- Giants OF/DH Joc Pederson
- Rockies INF/OF Jurickson Profar
So naturally, this got me wondering… which of these players (and how many of them) could be targets for the Mets and/or Yankees?
Likely not for both Mets, Yankees
Injuries can change things over the course of a long season. But if I was a betting man and had to put money on two players that neither the Mets nor the Yankees would seriously pursue, it’d be Tim Anderson and Yasmani Grandal.
Both New York squads have lots of middle infield depth to choose from, so it’s hard to see exactly where Anderson would fit. Same with Grandal.
When everyone is healthy, the Mets have Francisco Alvarez, Tomas Nido, Omar Narvaez, Michael Perez, and for the time being, Gary Sanchez at catcher. Grandal could give the Yankees a boost at the position from the standpoint of offense. However, Jose Trevino and Kyle Higashioka are a perfectly fine duo behind the plate.
Definitely not for the Yankees, Maybe for the Mets
I don’t care how desperate Brian Cashman is to upgrade his bullpen. There is just no scenario where I see him being willing to bring Aroldis Chapman back to the Bronx (again).
Just no way. That ship has sailed. Plus, re-acquiring him would mean Cash made a mistake by letting the hurler sign elsewhere in the first place. We know he doesn’t like admitting when he’s wrong.
It’s also hard to see Chapman landing in Queens to bolster the Mets’ bullpen. However, I feel like it could be a possibility based on how things shake out with the reliever market. With Edwin Diaz all but likely done for the year, New York will need to supplement this area of the roster. Depending on what asking prices look like, Billy Eppler may have to investigate Chapman as an option on a deeper level.
Thoughts on potentially available starting pitchers
It doesn’t really matter what the question is. The Mets, Yankees, and any other trade-deadline buyer will be interested in adding starting rotation depth. Whether they do or not is another story.
As the saying goes, you can never have enough pitching at your disposal. Even when you enter the year thinking there’s plenty of depth within your organization.
When it comes to both New York squads, a lot will depend on how healthy their respective rotations get in the coming weeks and months. For the Yankees, there’s anticipation regarding Carlos Rodon’s long-awaited team debut. Luis Severino is on the road back to the majors, while Frankie Montas’ return is also potentially on the docket.
The Mets finally have Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer in the same rotation, but the rotation is far from full strength. Carlos Carrasco is returning on Friday, and Jose Quintana is close to ramping up his activity.
So, how things shake out with those situations will likely dictate how active the Mets and Yankees are in the rotation market. Of the three mentioned above, Lucas Giolito and Jack Flaherty would be rentals as pending free agents. Meanwhile, Dylan Cease has two years of team control left.
Thoughts on remaining available position players
Any and all offensive upgrades will likely be a topic of discussion for each New York team, especially the Mets. Out of this group of players, my initial thought would be guys like Wil Myers and Jurickson Profar would be attractive because of their defensive versatility.
The Yankees are still trying to figure out a solution to their hole in left field. Any of the remaining players above (Myers, Profar, Joc Pederson, Randal Grichuk) could fill that spot. The Bombers did have reported interest in Profar over the offseason, and I think Pederson’s left-handed power would fit in nicely at Yankee Stadium.
So, there you have it. The season is way too young to identify legitimate trade candidates. But Feinsand started it, so we can at least think about how some potential options could fit (or not) in the Queens and the Bronx.
You can reach Matt Musico at [email protected]. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.