NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Are the New York Yankees looking to build an unbeatable bullpen?
Elite closer Craig Kimbrel’s name has “surfaced” in talks between the Bombers and San Diego Padres ahead of Friday’s non-waiver trading deadline, according to WFAN and CBSSports.com baseball insider Jon Heyman. But the Bronx isn’t “the most logical or likely landing spot” for a number of reasons, Heyman reported.
First, despite general manager Brian Cashman’s assertions that no prospect is untouchable, the Yankees have been unwilling to deal the jewels of their farm system: outfielder Aaron Judge, pitcher Luis Severino, first baseman Greg Bird and shortstop Jorge Mateo. The Padres would certainly be looking for a big haul if they opt to move Kimbrel, who has led the National League in saves four years in a row, including an MLB-best 50 in 2013. He’s three off the pace this season with 29 saves.
In addition, the Yankees already have two pitchers capable of pitching the ninth inning in closer Andrew Miller (1.57 ERA, 23 saves) and setup man Dellin Betances (1.35 ERA, seven saves). Kimbrel, 27, is signed through 2017.
New York has more of a need in its rotation with the struggles of left-hander CC Sabathia and durability concerns surrounding Ivan Nova, Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda. But if a deal can’t be struck for a front-end starter — the Yankees have been linked to Chicago’s Jeff Samardzija and Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels, among others — shortening games with a dominant bullpen could be an epic Plan B.
“The Yankees are investigating most starters and relievers on the market, so it’s hard to know how much significance to put on the talks,” Heyman reported via CBSSports.com.
The Yankees (56-42) are seven games ahead of Baltimore and Toronto in the AL East.