The Runner Sports

Yankees Acquire Jaime Garcia From Twins: Next Step Is Sonny Gray

On Sunday morning, the New York Yankees announced that they acquired left-handed starting pitcher Jaime Garcia from the Minnesota Twins. In exchange for Garcia and the Twins paying the remainder of his contract, the Yankees sent minor league pitchers Zack Littell and Dietrich Enns. Littell, who was the Yankees’ 22nd best prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is the main prospect in this deal. The right-hander was pitching in Double-A Trenton before the deal was made. On Saturday, Littell was scheduled to start, but was scratched at the last moment for now obvious reasons.

For Jaime Garcia, this is the second time he has been traded within a week. On July 23rd, the Atlanta Braves traded Jaime Garcia and Anthony Recker to the Twins. Now, Garcia is on the move again after only making one start for the Twins. In his one start with the Twins, Garcia picked up the win against the Oakland A’s. Earning his fifth win of the season, Garcia pitched 6 innings, gave up 3 earned runs, and struck out 7.

In his first season away from the St. Louis Cardinals, Garcia was posting respectable numbers. Between the one start with the Twins and his tenure with the Braves, he posted a 5-7 record with a 4.29 ERA in 19 starts. Averaging more than 6 innings per start, Garcia also had a strikeout to walk ratio of 3.3. The veteran left-hander has won a World Series ring with the Cardinals back in 2011. His postseason resume is respectable as well, holding a 3.94 ERA in 7 starts. That postseason experience is definitely something the Yankees were looking for in Garcia.

How Does Jaime Garcia Fit?

At the moment, Jaime Garcia will replace Michael Pineda’s spot in the rotation. That spot was being filled by Caleb Smith and Luis Cessa. Smith had the last two outings on the mound in the place of the injured Pineda. However, both times he failed to get out of the fourth inning (due to manager Joe Girardi’s quick hook). Garcia provides some help in the innings department. While the Yankees have a stacked bullpen that goes five deep of quality arms, it is best to keep the mileage off of them during the regular season. The rental Garcia is a veteran who can go deeper into games than Smith or Cessa.

If the Yankees make another move for another starting pitcher, then Garcia’s role is a bit more complicated. According to a tweet by Bryan Hoch, pitching coach Larry Rothschild does not expect to see a six-man rotation. With the news that the Yankees are still very interest in Sonny Gray, Garcia’s role seems to be a bit of a question mark. Looking at the rotation, there is nowhere to squeeze in a replacement. Rookie Jordan Montgomery might make the most sense if he is on an innings limit, but that does not appear to be the case. C.C. Sabathia is in the middle of his best season since 2012, Masahiro Tanaka will not move (especially after his impressive performance Friday), and Luis Severino is the ace. This will be a developing story as it goes on.

Leverage for Sonny Gray

In MLB’s worst kept secret of the trade deadline, the New York Yankees are pursuing Sonny Gray and appear to be the front-runners for the right-hander. Gray has been hot as of late, posting an ERA of 1.37 in his last 6 starts. Under team control through the 2020 season, Gray is the hot commodity in the starting pitching market after the Jose Quintana trade. With Jaime Gracia acquired (someone the Yankees were interested in before the Twins traded for him), the Yankees are now focused on completing a deal for Gray.

The problem in those negotiations has been the asking price by the A’s. Specifically, they want Gleyber Torres or Clint Frazier for Gray, both who are off limits according to Brian Cashman. While dealing one top 30 prospect might seem odd in a non-Gray deal, it actually gives the Yankees leverage. Garcia is insurance if the Yankees are unable to acquire Gray. Also, it demonstrates that the Yankees are willing to look elsewhere if the A’s do not budge from their position. With reports connecting the Bronx Bombers to Yu Darvish and Lance Lynn, that possibility seems more realistic now. The A’s might not have another suitor as strong as the Yankees, which could make them take a Jorge Mateo or Estevan Florial as the main piece in a deal.

All Eyes on Gray

The Jaime Garcia deal came as a bit of a surprise to the baseball world. There were never any indications of a deal happening until late Saturday night. However, the same thing could be said about the David Robertson trade. From a deal that is under the radar to a potential one that has had eyes on it for two weeks now, Brian Cashman has one more move that he wants to do. Sonny Gray is now the sole target for the New York Yankees. While there are other starting pitchers that have the Yankees “interested,” do not expect any traction to happen there unless Gray is still with Oakland Monday morning.

Brian Cashman: Trade Wizard

Before a potential Sonny Gray deal, Brian Cashman needs to be applauded for the two deals that he has pulled off so far. After acquiring two top relievers and two impact veterans, all that the Yankees have given up is one top prospect. Blake Rutherford is the only “blue chip” prospect that the Yankees have given up for these trades. The only other notable prospects traded were outside of the top 15 (according to MLB Pipeline). That is something that Yankee fans should commend Cashman on. Cashman has lived up to his word; being “careful buyers” while going all-in on the Yankees’ 2017 season.

Griffin Fuller
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Griffin Fuller

Former Division 1 pitcher at Stetson University with an immense passion for the game of baseball. Grew up playing baseball from the age of 3. Student of the game of baseball in every aspect.Located out of Debary, Florida.
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Griffin Fuller
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