Posted on July 30, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
The New York Yankees have acquired starting pitcher Jaime Garcia from the Minnesota Twins. The Yankees have been deep in talks with the Oakland A’s for starter Sonny Gray in recent days. However, with the sides unable to reach an agreement, the Yankees have moved onto the Plan B for adding a starting pitcher before Monday’s trade deadline. As part of the deal, the Twins receive pitching prospects Zack Littell and Dietrich Enns.
This is the second time in less than a week Garcia has been traded. Minnesota acquired him from the Braves last Monday, believing they were a contending team. However, the Twins have lost every game since then except the one that Garcia started. Now two games under .500, the Twins no longer see themselves as playoff contenders. Thus, they have flipped Garcia for a team looking for rotation help.
New York’s rotation actually has the third lowest ERA in the American League. However, the loss of Michael Pineda to Tommy John surgery has created a hole in their rotation. With the team involved in a tight race atop the AL East with both the Red Sox and Rays, the Yankees needed to shore up the back end of their rotation.
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On the season, Garcia is 5-7 with a modest 4.29 ERA. However, nearly half his starts came at the new hitter-friendly park in Atlanta. In terms of pitchers available on the trade market to fill the final spot or two in a rotation, Garcia is as good as anyone. He also has seven career postseason starts, bringing playoff experience to the table.
Initial reports indicate that even with Garcia on board, the Yankees are not giving up their pursuit of Gray. Reports coming out Saturday night indicate that talks have stalled between the A’s and Yankees because of New York’s unwillingness to include prospects Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier. However, reports coming out Sunday morning indicate the two teams continue to have talks. Many still view the Yankees as the favorites to land Gray before the deadline.
Adding Gray would give the Yankees a frontline starter who could help lead their rotation into the playoffs. He could also anchor their rotation for years to come, as he’s under contract through the 2019 season. Thus, acquiring him in addition to Garcia is still on the table for the Yankees.
As for the Twins, they made a valiant effort to stay in contention past the all-star break this season. But it’s clear they are still a rebuilding team, and so trading Garcia less than a week after acquiring him is the right move. They may have also upgraded their farm system in the process.
The prospect the Twins traded to Atlanta was just 19 and years away from the majors. Meanwhile, Littell and Enns are both in the upper levels of the minors. Littell was ranked as New York’s no. 22 prospect, according to MLB.com. Between advanced-A and double-A this season, he’s 14-1 with a 1.87 ERA. Enns has a 2.29 ERA in seven starts at triple-A this season. Both could be contributing to Minnesota’s pitching staff by this time next season.
Overall, this is a fruitful trade for both sides. The Twins are not contenders, and despite giving it their best shot, they were wise to flip Garcia before the deadline. The Yankees, meanwhile, solidify the back end of their rotation, even if they don’t end up with Gray. Of course, the Yankees still appear to be leading the Gray sweepstakes with a little over a day left until the deadline.