The trade deadline is fast approaching, and while it is expected to be a pretty slow market, that won’t stop writers and fans from coming up with their own ideas. MLB.com writer Anthony Castrovince dreams up five blockbuster deals in an article this week that includes a five-player swap between the Royals and Yankees.
Castrovince writes that the Yankees are in bad need of bullpen help with the loss of Tommy Kahnle and Zach Britton, and could use another starting pitcher with Luis Severino out and James Paxton landing on the Injured List. Royals reliever Trevor Rosenthal is expected by many to be one of the more sought-after relievers at the deadline, and as an impending free agent he makes sense as a player the Royals might deal.
But Castrovince expands the deal beyond Rosenthal and throws in Danny Duffy and rookie reliever Josh Staumont to go to the Bronx in exchange for Yankees infielder Miguel Andújar and minor league pitcher Nick Nelson. He reasons that the Yankees can afford Duffy’s $15.5 million salary in 2021 with the payroll coming off their books next year, and that Staumont is the “key piece” with his terrific performance this year.
As for the Royals, under this hypothetical deal they would get Andújar, an infielder who had a terrific 2018 season, hitting .297/.328/.527 with 27 home runs and 2.9 WAR, finishing second in Rookie of the Year voting. However he missed all but 12 games of the 2019 season with a torn labrum, and has struggled this year with a 2-for-21 performance in eight games. He was a very poor defender at third, and with the emergence of Gio Urshela, has found himself out of a position in New York.
Nick Nelson is a 24-year old right-handed pitcher who has thrown a handful of innings at the big league level this year with a 7.04 ERA in 7 2⁄3 innings. Last year he had a 2.81 ERA with 114 strikeouts in 89 2⁄3 innings across High-A, Double-AA, and Triple-A last year. MLB Pipeline ranks him as the #17 prospect in the system, writing that he throws a fastball that sits at 92-96 mph with a plus hard curveball that can have command issues at times. He throws a changeup/splitter and slider/cutter and has transitioned from a groundball pitcher to more of a fly ball pitcher.
Here’s how Castrovince reasons the deal makes sense for the Royals.
Position players whose value primarily resides in their bat have lost polish in the trade market, and Andújar’s struggles in a small sample in 2020 haven’t helped his stock. But with the rebuilding Royals, he has the potential to be a genuine building block, while Nelson, the Yankees’ No. 17 prospect per MLB Pipeline, is another controllable asset who can also contribute at the big league level immediately. And one thing we have to understand about this particular Deadline (and the upcoming winter) is that moving the kind of money Duffy makes is no small thing.
The Royals have just $36 million in salary commitments even with Duffy in 2021, so I’m not sure that moving money is a big priority for the club. And while moving Rosenthal makes a lot of sense as a short-term asset, Staumont is in his rookie season and would be part of a long-term strategy. Andújar did have a terrific rookie season, but his value has been hurt since then. He has good pop, but he would be yet another player in the lineup with a poor walk rate - 4.1 percent for his career - and his defense is enough of a liability that you would likely have to move him to first base or the outfield.
Still, he does provide the kind of upside and long-term potential the Royals need. Rosenthal is probably not part of the rebuild, Duffy may not be either (and either could be brought back once their contracts are up), and Staumont, for as good as he is, is just a reliever. Would this deal make sense for the Royals?
Would you trade Danny Duffy, Trevor Rosenthal, and Josh Staumont to the Yankees for Miguel Andújar and Nick Nelson?
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