San Francisco Giants closer Will Smith ranks among the best relievers in the game, and the New York Yankees have shown a willingness to acquire relievers even when it wasn’t necessarily an area of need in the past.
However, the Yankees bullpen is strong enough to make a Smith trade unlikely. Furthermore, other Giants relievers like Nick Vincent, Tony Watson, and Sam Dyson won’t appeal to New York as assets.
Of course, I know why you’re all here, and it’s not to read about Will Smith or any other reliever.
Rumors have swirled around Giants ace Madison Bumgarner for the last year and the Yankees have long made sense as a potential landing spot.
Masahiro Tanaka and Domingo German have formed a strong duo at the top of the New York rotation, but injuries have hit the rest of the starting staff hard.
Luis Severino, James Paxton, Jordan Montgomery, C.C. Sabathia, and Jonathan Loaisiga are all on the injured list. Veteran J.A. Happ has managed to stay healthy, but he has struggled to a 5.16 ERA and 5.71 FIP in 11 starts.
The Yankees could simply sit back and wait for their starters to get healthy. On paper, they already have enough for a deep playoff run. An organization that hasn’t won a championship since 2009 might not be too keen on playing it safe, though.
Here’s a quick recap of my thinking on Bumgarner’s potential trade value if you’re new to the sell-off series:
First off, his contract situation limits his potential return. His salary is a reasonable $12 million, but it expires at the end of the year. A rental starter that is less an ace and more a mid-rotation arm with ace upside is simply not going to bring back a package with multiple stud prospects.
He has a career-worst 4.10 ERA on the year. However, he has also regained velocity and is posting his best strikeout rate, FIP, and xFIP since the 2016 season, when he was still one of the best pitchers in the world.
No other available starter will have his reputation and pedigree. That alone could drive up the price and allow the Giants to secure a better return.
With that in mind, what follows is my best attempt at building a fair deal to bring Bumgarner to New York.