Yankees need to add starting pitching at deadline

Commentary

As the All-Star break comes to a close, the shift of focus in Major League Baseball turns to the trade deadline. While the Yankees missed out on All-Star slugger Manny Machado, the Bronx Bombers can now finally focus on addressing the biggest need on the roster — starting pitching. So, who is available for the Yankees to target?

Cole Hamels, Texas Rangers

Hamels is one of the most coveted names on the market this season, and this time, the Yankees may be the ones that finally pull the trigger. Hamels was available for trade in 2015, but the Yankees were unwilling to trade either of their top two prospects to land him. Those prospects were Aaron Judge and Luis Severino, and look how that turned out. Both players were on display in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game. Hamels eventually wound up in Texas, in exchange for a package of six players, highlighted by current Phillies catcher Jorge Alfaro and outfielder Nick Williams.

This time around, the package to land Hamels will likely be less extravagant — though you never know when you start a bidding war. Still, the Yankees would be a front-runner this time around, even without parting with the biggest names in the system. Clint Frazier, Tyler Wade or even Brandon Drury would all be pieces the Yankees could afford to part with in exchange for Hamels.

Yankees fans remember Hamels as the Phillies’ ace, opposing the Bronx Bombers in the 2009 World Series. His proven track record in the postseason would be a huge asset to a team like New York, who entered the All-Star break with one of the best records in all of baseball. The Yankees are likely headed back to the playoffs, and Hamels could help them win it all once they get there.

J.A. Happ, Toronto Blue Jays

The likelyhood that the Jays would deal a starting pitcher to the division-rival Yankees is usually not very high, but this is a special case. Toronto entered the All-Star break 23.5 games out of first place and 14 games back of the final Wild Card spot, while the Yankees have one of the deepest farm systems in all of baseball. Most importantly, Happ is an impending free agent, so the Blue Jays are almost certain to move him by the deadline to avoid losing him for nothing in free agency after the year.

Still not convinced? Another thing that works in the Yankees’ favor is that the Blue Jays and Yankees only have two series remaining the rest of the year, both of which are in New York. That means if Happ were traded to the Yankees, he would face his former team no more than twice. In this case, the Yankees could make an enticing offer that would outweigh Toronto’s aversion to trade within the division.

Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays

Archer is a name that the Yankees have been linked to a lot in the past year by many different sources — and it’s easy to see why. Despite playing much better lately, Tampa Bay is going nowhere this season. As we’ve seen with the Astros, Cubs, and even to some extent, the Phillies, there is no better way to rebuild than tearing it all the way down, which is why I believe the Rays have every reason to move Archer. Though he is not pitching at his peak potential so far this season, the flashes of a top-tier starter have been there on occasion. At 29 years old with multiple years of team control remaining, Archer would be a tough target for any team to acquire. That fact is not eased in the slightest with the Yankees being in the same division. However, with the Yankees’ plethora of young prospects — especially in the outfield — Tampa Bay could ask for a lot in return and get it from New York.

One more thing to keep in mind; the Yankees had concerns about reaching the Luxury Tax threshold in the offseason, which took many big names off the table in free agency. Archer — who is under contract through 2021 at a very reasonable rate — would not present any issues in that aspect for the Yankees.

Other targets include: Tyson Ross (San Diego Padres), Jake Odorizzi, Lance Lynn (Minnesota Twins), Dan Straily (Miami Marlins).

Which, if any, of these names the Yankees acquire remains to be seen, but the need on the Yankees’ end is there. With many available upgrades out there for the taking, it is up to Brian Cashman and the Yankees front office to make a move and further enhance the Yankees’ chance at a 28th World Series title.

Twitter: @bradencarmen

Braden Carmen is an OBSERVER Sports Writer and life-long Yankees fan. Comments on this article can be sent to bcarmen@observertoday.com or by reaching out on Twitter.

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