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  • Cory Claus

Yankees should trade Bader and Torres today

The Yankees are going nowhere. Now with teams like the Angels and Blue Jays adding players, the Yankees are even further behind than they were yesterday. It’s not time for a complete sell-off, but it is time to get better for next year.

Yankees stadium still waiting for the next championship

The Yankees are falling out of the playoff race quickly. They just lost two out of three to the Orioles not long after they got swept by the Angels.

Now the teams fighting the Yankees for a playoff spot are loading up.

The Angels have added solid starter Lucas Giolito (3.86 ERA), IF CJ Cron (.260/.304/.476), and OF Randal Grichuk (.308/.365/.496). The Rangers are all about the pitching and have collected both Max Scherzer (4.01 and improving) and Jordan Montgomery (3.42 ERA) for their starting rotation.

The Blue Jays have also gotten in on the fun, adding SP Jordan Hicks (3.67 ERA). Now there’s a chance the Orioles add Verlander before the deadline.

Meanwhile, the Yankees are stuck.

They have too many underperforming players, such as Stanton, Rizzo, the improving Lemahieu, Severino, and German.

They’re also stuck with a top-heavy payroll with Judge, Cole, Rodon, and once-again Stanton.

Anybody who thinks that the Yankees are one or even two players away from becoming contenders hasn’t been paying attention. Plus, they have made it clear they have no interest in ballooning their already high payroll. They want to lose 1.1 million to get under the Cohen tax, not spend millions more.

Plus, they need to rebuild this team around good, young, homegrown, and inexpensive talent.

Yankees Facts of Life

The fact is, the Yankees are not going to go out and get big-name, big-money players right now and further gut their farm system. That is not a recipe for success.

But they also don’t need to dismantle this team, either. With Carlos Rodon, Gerrit Cole, and Aaron Judge, they still have a great nucleus to build around. Anthony Volpe is underproducing, but that kid’s a five-tool star waiting to happen and another part of that core.

Oswald Peraza is another important piece, who will likely be one of the top defensive shortstops in the game next year.

And despite what some on Yankees Twitter, er, X I guess, think (I’m looking at you @YankeeSource), the Yankees have some great talent making their way through the system.

Everson Pereira looks like the centerfielder of the near future. Catcher Austin Wells has a big-league bat that he’ll be bringing to the club sometime next season. Jasson Dominnguez is probably another full year away, but he could come up late next season. But he is coming.

If the Yankees didn’t have Rizzo at first, they might be tempted to bring up Andres Chapparo and hope his offense makes up for his defense. And boy, could the Yankees use more offense.

Jared Serna is too far away to tell for sure, but he could be a power-hitting infielder who arrives by 2025, with five-tool shortstop Roderick Arias right behind him.

What the Yankees don’t want to do is trade away these farmhands.

What they do want to do is add more high-end prospects to that list.

They also need to reduce payroll so they can be in a position to add the types of players at next year’s deadline that they can’t add now, guys like Jordan Montgomery (who Cashman should have never traded away), Jeimer Candelario, and even Juan Soto.

Remember that 20 million goes a lot further at the end of July than it does in January. If the Padres were to trade Soto right now, for instance, the team taking him would only have to pay about 10 million for the rest of the year.

What they need most, however, is starting pitching.

They’ve got a great starting four in Gerrit Cole, Carlos Rodon, Nestor Cortes, and Clarke Schmidt. But with both Severino and German gone after this year (thankfully), the Yankees will need some young, under-control pitchers for next season and beyond.

No, Not that Wild Card

Then there’s the wild card in this whole scenario: Estevan Florial. Florial has been so underwhelming that when the Yankees released him earlier this year, not a team in the majors was willing to take a chance on him. So the Yankees resigned him.

And he has been a flat-out stud since. Florial is hitting a mighty, mighty .298/.390/.592 with a more than impressive .982 OPS. He’s got the fifth most homers in AAA with 23, along with his 16 doubles, four triples, and 18 stolen bases.

The man is a force…at Triple-A. He’s been a bust at the big-league level, but he’s only ever gotten limited playing time.

That all adds up to the Yankees trading away at least Harrison Bader, and probably Gleyber Torres.

It's Time For Bader to Go

Bader is easy to part with.

He’s a free agent at the end of the year, so it’s better to get something for him rather than nothing. He won’t bring back much, but at least the Yankees can take the rest of his 5 million dollar salary off the books. That will bring the Yankees payroll down below the Steve Cohen tax threshold.

It will also open a spot for Florial. The Yankees need to find out if he has finally put it all together, or is the ultimate Quadruple-A player. If it’s the latter, they haven’t really lost anything because they aren’t going anywhere anyway, and Bader is one of the reasons.

If he does pan out, though, the Yankees will have an under-control, five-tool star in center field for the next few years. By next year, they could have both Pereira and Florial roaming the outfield for them.

The Yankees Need Pitching

Trading Gleyber Torres is a little more tricky.

Gleyber is one of the few players pulling his weight. His slash of .258/.322/.426 with his 16 home runs and .748 OPS makes him the second-best offensive player on the team, which isn’t saying much about the Yankees. If the Yankees do have a run in them, they’ll need Torres.

But that just doesn’t seem likely, especially with so many other clubs getting better. Not to mention that the Yankees are very likely to trade Torres this offseason, his last before becoming a free agent.

Again, they want to get younger and less expensive. The contracts of Josh Donaldson (21 million) and Harrison Bader coming off the books this year will help; subtracting Gleyber’s 10 million would really put the Yankees in a better position to spend at next year’s trade deadline.

The team would also be trading from strength.

They already have Volpe and Peraza to cover short and second. It’s not unusual for players to struggle in their first year at the majors, so it is likely that both men will improve in 2024. Last year at Scranton, Peraza crushed nineteen home runs and sixteen doubles in 99 games, while slashing .259/.329/.448.

And he was only 22. This year, he’s hitting .261/.352/.495 with 12 homers in 45 games. While there’s no guarantee he can do that in The Show, the Yankees are going to have to play him to find out.

That’s why the Yanks should trade Torres now to the Marlins for a pitcher and two top prospects. If they can pull Braxton Garrett, with his 4.08 ERA and 117 strikeouts in 106 innings, to go with high-upside pitching prospects Max Meyer and Karson Milbrandt, they could restock both the team and farm system with pitchers.

They'd also get a chance to see what they have in Florial and Peraza, and maybe Periera, while giving them time to adjust to the majors.

We warned them of the exact scenario that played out: two good starts against the Angels and Royals, then a seven-run blowout against the Oriole. That makes his fourth seven-run outing of the year.

They didn’t listen.

Now we’re trying again. For the sake of the championships they could start winning as early as next year, let’s hope they listen this time.


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