One year ago around this time, the New York Yankees got themselves a late Christmas gift when they made a trade with the Cincinnati Reds to land Aroldis Chapman. A year later, the Yankees may be looking to make another potential blockbuster deal.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today has reported that the Yankees and Chicago White Sox have continued their trade talks involving Jose Quintana and with the talks continuing, the deal could now involve closer David Robertson.
Yankees fans all know Robertson very well considering he was an All-Star reliever for them and was the one-time heir to Mariano Rivera when he became the closer in 2014 after Rivera’s retirement before he signed a four-year deal with the White Sox to become their closer.
It’s not certain what the Yankees would have to give up in the deal, however, with Robertson now being included in this potential trade, the Yankees wouldn’t have to absorb the remainder of the $25 million owed to the right-handed reliever over the next two years. Essentially; Robertson would be taking the spot of Andrew Miller in the bullpen and if he were acquired, would be another prized arm of a super bullpen in New York, one that includes Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, and Tyler Clippard; all players who have closing experience and have thrived in New York.
Getting Robertson back at a reduced rate and making him the setup man with Betances and Chapman makes the Yankees bullpen that much better. As much as some Yankees fans would still like to have Miller in the mix, having someone like Robertson would certainly help things.
As far as Quintana goes, having a left-handed starter who can throw 200 innings and record 180-200 strikeouts is certainly something the Yankees could use. With CC Sabathia in the final year of his contract, the Yankees are going to need a lefty starter of the future and Quintana fits what they are trying to do; acquire younger starting pitching who can help now and later.
Last week, the Pittsburgh Pirates were also reported to being in the mix and ramping up their trade talks for Quintana and possibly willing to part with some of their prospects to do so. So what would sway the White Sox to make a deal with the Yankees over Pittsburgh?
Possibly the Yankees willingness to take Robertson back in the deal and allow Chicago to shed some more salary off their books in their current roster purge. That alone might be able to put the Yankees over the top as far as trade talks go, but it’s not definite.
Talks around baseball have said that the Pirates would need to dump salary (possibly Andrew McCutchen’s) if they got Quintana in a trade; the Yankees would have to do no such thing and can absorb both deals. Pittsburgh’s possible hesitance to dump salary could be another factor as to why the Yankees might have the leg up here.
Again, not definite, but a possible leg up.
Either way, Brian Cashman is certainly eyeing the 2017 season as a chance for the Yankees to not only get younger but continue to compete again in the American League East. The second half of the 2016 season showed that the Yankees could compete in the division and in the American League. Re-signing Aroldis Chapman to the five-year, $86 million deal also showed that the Yankees want to win in 2017.
Landing Quintana and Robertson in a potential deal would only further emphasize the notion that the Yankees are in it to win it next season.