Heard an interesting trade idea floated in Buster Olney‘s daily podcast last week while talking with Keith Law.
In light of Masahiro Tanaka‘s possible season-ending injury further depleting the Yankees rotation (which is already without projected 2014 starters CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova and is depending on two 15th round picks who you couldn’t pick out of a lineup in Shane Greene and Chase Whitley right now), could the Yankees come calling the Nationals looking for Ross Detwiler in trade?
Despite all their rotational issues, the Yankees at the All-Star break sit 5 games back of a weak AL East and just 3.5 back in the Wild Card. The Yankees don’t “pack it in,” ever, and have never shied away from spending to get what they need. They’ve already made one shrewd starter acquisition in Brandon McCarthy (traded for cash and ineffective starter Vidal Nuno) and look like they could now use another (Greene has looked ok, but Whitley has not, and the Yankees starting pitching depth in the minors looks pretty bleak).
I’m on record saying the Nats should cash in on Detwiler. And I still am. My arguments are still the same; opportunity cost of an underutilized and replaceable pitcher versus filling a need for a team trying to mask issues at second base and a thinned farm system. And i’m not alone (Adam Kilgore in April and May on the topic, Thomas Boswell said that “Detwiler has been wasted” in his June 23rd chat). There’s now more than a few options for a Detwiler replacement in our system, a guy who can start or relieve, throw low-leverage innings in blowout wins or losses and still develop. In fact, I’ll bet that our most recent 40-man addition Taylor Hill would *love* that role right now instead of pitching in upstate New York (even if the Chiefs are in first place). If you wanted a lefty like-for-like replacement, look no further than Aaron Laffey, off-season MLFA who’s 11-3 for Syracuse on the season and who has 6 years of MLB experience starting and relieving. Heck, maybe the Nats can trade Laffey if they’re so committed to Detwiler; Laffey pitched briefly (and somewhat effectively) for the Yankees in late 2011.
Why not see if the Yankees can give up something that the Nats could use? Minor league depth. Backup middle infielder. Something, anything.
Detwiler, in the meantime, looks like he could be a nice fit in Yankee Stadium. Lefties mitigate the short-porch in right field there, and Detwiler’s sinking fastball sports a decent ground ball rate (45.7% this year, right in line with his career average of 46.5% but below his 50% figure the last year he was healthy and starting in 2012) that could help keep the ball in the park.
(coincidentally … while googling for one of the links above, I discovered this link at the Washington Nationals Fan Forum: someone took my 5/9/14 article on this same topic and posted it there, where it got a ton of commentary. Well shoot; why didn’t those people come and comment here? I would have loved the discussion. I had no idea it was there. But the conversation continues today. I’ll post this link there and see what happens).