As I wrote a couple weeks ago, we are going to start seeing trades soon. Between the need to upgrade the rotation (and possibly the bullpen) and the need to acquire more international bonus pool money to sign guys like Jhon Diaz, we will definitely see trades soon.
A common place the Yankees look to trade guys is players who need to be added to the 40-man roster after the season. After the season, players drafted in 2016 or signed during the 2015-2016 international signing period need to be added to the 40-man roster or they are eligible for the Rule 5 draft where another team may select them. Because the Yankees are so deep, they do not have room on the 40-man for every player they may want to protect. Thus, they trade a few of these players knowing they may not have them after the season anyway. Other teams get a player who may be ready for the big leagues soon and in return, the Yankees get international bonus pool money, or you can use these players as secondary pieces in a trade.
Obviously everyone remembers the famous Caleb Fraretrade to the White Sox for bonus pool money last July. Just kidding, I had to look it up. But the point is, these trades happen every season for the Yankees because the bonus pool money or secondary pieces in a trade are more valuable than players they know they cannot add to the 40-man. For a full list of players who would need to be added this season, Pinstriped Prospects wrote them up here. Over on his Patreon, Mike Axisa looked at which players are most likely to be traded, and we will highlight a few here.
Nelson is a right-handed pitcher the Yankees drafted out of Gulf Coast Community College. He has a good fastball- curveball combination and his fastball can reach the mid-90’s. In 40 innings this year mostly for AA Trenton, he has a 3.15 ERA. Unfortunately he has an issue throwing strikes, and he has walked 23 batters in those 40 innings. With those control issues, he has a long ways to go before he can be an effective major league pitcher. But you always bet on stuff, and some other team might think they can help Nelson harness his control better.
Garcia, another right-handed pitcher, is 6’ 3” and 200 pounds which is a great build for a pitcher. He was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, and has advanced up to AA Trenton this season. Like Nelson, he has a mid 90’s fastball and curveball combination. Unlike Nelson, he has struggled in AA this year pitching to an ERA over 5.00. The Yankees have a ton of right-handed pitching prospects, and Garcia might be one of the victims of a 40-man roster crunch. Thus, it makes sense for the Yankees to try and trade him to a team who has more optimism to bet on his talent.
Gilliam is a corner outfield prospect in the Yankees system. He has spent most of the past two seasons in High-A Tampa, and he was recently promoted to AA Trenton. In 74 games this season, Gilliam is hitting .258/.3338/.405 with 8 homeruns. Like the other players on this list, Gilliam is behind other prospects on the potential depth charts. The Yankees are stacked in the outfield at the major league level, and have players like Clint Frazier, Estevan Florial, and Antonio Cabello ahead of Gilliam in the prospect ranks. Some other team might think Gilliam has untapped power potential, and could use him as a 4th outfielder in the next couple seasons. Similar to a player like Ben Gamel who caught on with the Mariners, Gilliam may have more value to another organization than to the Yankees.
I expect to see a flurry of trades over the next three weeks, and we often focus on the big name prospects who are traded. Those guys are important, but these other players who are secondary pieces or traded for international bonus pool money are also essential. Let’s see if any of these players are traded in the coming weeks.