As the trade deadline of July 31st is fast approaching, we in the baseball community are riled up about the possible future moves. While the selection of players on the trading block don’t feature big-name players like David Price and Yoenis Cespedes as it did last year, there are many decent, above-replacement-level players that can definitely help a contender achieve the ultimate dream of winning the World Series.
As we know, the back-end of the bullpen is one of the most volatile parts of a team. These days, it almost seems as if anyone with a good fastball/slider combination can step up and close out games effectively. The closer position is never a lock as it was in the times of Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman, and the sabermetrics community has discovered that getting the last three outs of the game isn’t as hard as described by the old-school baseball folks.
Despite the innovative thinking in bullpen construction, who doesn’t love a flame-throwing (105.1 mph) lefty monster with a nasty slider to go along with the heat? Who wouldn’t want the service of the great Aroldis Chapman, the current closer of the New York Yankees.
The Yankees, though over .500 by one game, is 6.5 game back of the mighty Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox in the AL East standings. They’re 5.5 games out of that second wildcard and judging by the strength of the teams ahead of them, it seems as if that they have a slim chance of making the postseason.
Not with a lifeless lineup and inconsistent rotation. The only way for the Yankees to contend while opening up a relatively bright future is to trade their closer. Now, don’t get me wrong: the Yankees have one of the best bullpens in baseball with their three-headed monster of Miller, Betances, and Chapman, but their lack of offensive production (second-last in the AL in OPS and and 11th in runs), plus inability to prevent runs remain glaring holes. The lineup has been punchless, ranking 11th in home runs, last in doubles, and second-last in hits. Those struggles are hard to overcome but a Chapman trade can energize the lineup and excite the fanbase. The Yankees rank first in strikeouts (by pitcher), mind you, so their pitching struggles probably aren’t as severe as numbers suggest.
Offense, offense, offense. MAJOR LEAGUE offense what the Yanks need. A-Rod is hitting .210 with a merger 29 RBIs producing an ugly .610 OPS. Mark Teixeira is having even worse of a season: below the Mendoza line at .189 and an utterly pathetic .591 OPS. The two producers of the 2015 season, eating up payroll over 55 million dollars, are combining for a -0.1 WAR. Yeah, that’s right: the Yankees are paying half-a-hundred-million dollars to lose more games.
While Carlos Beltran has been a bright spot in the lineup, earning his ninth All-Star selection, he desperately needs some help. To fix that problem I’ve come up with a rather unconventional yet convincing win-win trade:
RHP Aroldis Chapman and RHP James Kaprielian to the Los Angeles Dodgers for OF Yasiel Puig and 1B Cody Bellinger
Here’s the breakdown: The Dodgers desperately need bullpen help as well as rotational help because of the saddening Kershaw injury. Since the Yanks don’t have much to contribute when it comes to starters, Aroldis Chapman can definitely form a lethal tandem with Kenley Jansen. In fact, that almost came to fruition before it was derailed by Chapman’s past irresponsible actions.
The Yankees need offence. While Puig’s season isn’t that pretty either, he has shown his talent and sky-high potential over the first couple of months of the season as well as in his first full season. While injuries and streakiness have plagued him and killed his production, Puig’s .467 career slugging percentage represents a much better option than what the Yankees currently have. James Kaprielian to the Dodgers further stockpiles their Minor League pitching inventory. Julio Urias, Jose De Leon, Frankie Montas, Grant Holmes, and the control-oriented James Kaprielian makes a good Major League rotation!
Cody Bellinger to the Yankees makes sense. With Greg Bird out for the year and his future relatively uncertain, Bellinger would be the logical successor to Mark Teixeira at first. His smooth stroke and fielding abilities remind scouts and me of James Loney. He would be a good piece for the Yankees to have.
While this Cuban-for-Cuban trade probably won’t happen, it really is a win-win deal that benefits both the Dodgers and the Yankees.