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BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 10: New York Yankees left fielder Clint Frazier (77) warms up prior to the game between the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles on July 10, 2018, at Orioles Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, MD. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Prospect hugging and the trade deadline: What will the Yankees do?

I just want to get this out of the way since we’re on the subject of trade talks. There’s a really good chance Max Scherzer won’t be playing for the New York Yankees.

It’s a cool thought but it’s as likely as Manny Machado, Patrick Corbin, or Bryce Harper
putting on the pinstripes. I don’t know where this narrative was born from. Maybe it was mass Twitter hysteria? Maybe it was A-Rod picking a random ace out of a hat on a Fox show and running with it the way he did with Jacob deGrom last year? Whatever the case, I don’t see it happening.

Do I want this to happen though? Absolutely. Scherzer to the Yankees will be filed under I-Won’t-Hold-My-Breathe regardless of how much I’d enjoy that. If the Nats didn’t want to trade prospects for Harper and pulled teeth in order to move Gio Gonzalez last year, I can imagine it would be next to impossible to get a Scherzer deal done.

Now that that is out of the way, with the Yankees depth, they absolutely have pieces to move by the trade deadline. With Clint Frazier and Thairo Estrada balling out at the major league level, Mike Ford
having a tremendous time of it in the minors and Estevan Florial being the golden goose that he is, if the Yankees wanted to, they can make moves.

The thing is, these are all very good, young ball players. If the Yankees get a pitcher at the deadline and he’s great then hell yeah. Let’s get that 28th ring. I would be remiss to say there wouldn’t be a part of me that feels a little uneasy knowing it took unloading Frazier or Estrada and seeing and they did well somewhere else.

The Yankees trading away some great young pieces and getting the equivalent of Chris Archer in return feels like a nightmare. That Rays and Pirates deal is a cautionary tale where great young talent was on the cusp of breaking out and the Pirates traded them away for someone who is literally breaking every time he’s on the mound.

I don’t know how much they care about things in Pittsburgh but here in New York, that’s a press disaster with the back pages of newspapers putting clown makeup on Brian Cashman. At the same time the Twittersphere surely blows up with sarcastic Hal Steinbrenner pages. Lots of whining and crying and the actual Mr. Steinbrenner pretending it doesn’t suck that much.

Now if the Yankees do go to the trade market there are two names that come to mind. They are Madison Bumgarner and Marcus Stroman.

With Bumgarner this is the most obvious choice. For one, the Giants need outfield depth. They’ve thrown out everybody in the field. They’re at a point where they’ve had backup catchers and Tyler Austin out there.

Think about that. Tyler Austin, the guy who rolled around over his own ankles in the middle of a fight with Joe Kelly – and yes we can say that now because he’s not on the Yankees – is catching balls in the outfield. (At least hopefully catching) We sometimes find ourselves annoyed at Clint but I mean, better him than Tyler Austin.

The obvious choice for trading Bumgarner would be Frazier – which is absolutely ridiculous to me – or a Josh Stowers. Maybe I’m just an optimist but, for as bad as he has been in the outfield, I really feel like Clint has all-star potential. That bat speed is electric. I don’t think you can overlook offensive prowess like that because of a few oopsies.

Me ignoring Frazier’s mistakes

If Bumgarner ends up waiving that no-trade clause he has on the Yankees and Clint ends up going as a centerpiece, I don’t know how much of a victory that is. Yeah, you got your capable arm but Clint has a lot to offer a team for years – bad defense or not – and who knows what MadBum’s future is. His k-rate is plummeting so even if the Yankees sign him to a deal after this season and it isn’t a rental, who knows where the guy is in a few years.

Now when it comes to Marcus Stroman, a deal like that probably wouldn’t be like the one we saw last year where the Blue Jays just got Brandon Drury and we got a JA Happ who played above his head. They’d probably want a little more – and by a little more I mean pieces that are more capable. To send over Clint, Estrada or even a Stowers has the potential of being the equivalent of America helping to arm the Russians during the Cold War. Who wants to get blown up with their own missiles?

If you send over Clint, you’ll have two guys in him and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at the center of that lineup. That electric bat-speed between the two of them has pain-in-the-ass potential for years to come. Same if you send over Estrada. We’ve seen him shut down games with swing of the bat several times. It’ll be less fun if it’s used against us.

Some might call what I’m talking about prospect hugging. During a time when the Yankees are bullpenning 2 out of 5 games, starting pitching is a premium so if they do say goodbye to a young player, I don’t think it’ll be the doom of the Yankees. It’ll just be a move that hurts.

Thankfully, for now, they don’t have to make a regrettable move that’ll bite them in the ass in the future. That Dallas Keuchel guy is out there still and all he costs is money.

Personally I don’t care what Hal spends. If he has to hold back on having a golf membership in Oakland for whenever the Yankees go out there during the season, then so be it. Better he suffers than I suffer by watching Clint Frazier mash one against J.A. Happ later in the year.

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