MLB.com recently published a column on seven trade proposals for this offseason and one involved the Colorado Rockies trading Trevor Story to the New York Yankees.
The rumors and proposals keep flying around for the Colorado Rockies and the left side of their infield and there is a new one from MLB.com involving sending shortstop Trevor Story to the New York Yankees.
The proposal, made by Manny Randhawa, who covers the Rockies, looks like this.
He ends his portion of the column by saying, in the “Who says no?” section that the New York Yankees would be the ones to say no. Personally, I think that’s incorrect. Why? Let’s look at the return.
The former Rockies reliever Adam Ottavino, 35, has shown glimpses of dominance while with the Yankees and while he was with the Rockies. The Rockies do desperately need bullpen help, as you have seen throughout the past few seasons and, at bare minimum, Ottavino would be a depth piece in the bullpen, and at best, he would be the Rockies’ set-up man. However, there are several issues with him being in a deal from a Rockies perspective.
First off, he only has one year left on his contract. Secondly, it’s not like he has been the most consistent reliever out there. He pitched to a 2.19 ERA in 148 games between 2018 and 2019 with the Rockies and Yankees but in 2020, he pitched to a 5.89 ERA. While his FIP and other peripheral stats indicate that Ottavino may have been a victim of bad luck, the exit velocity and hard-hit percentage against him indicate that he was not a victim of bad luck. In fact, he went from being in the five percent of the league in hard-hit percentage against in 2019 (29.3 percent) to the worst two percent in 2020 (50.0 percent).
Yankees manager Aaron Boone demoted Ottavino to a middle-relief mo-up role down the stretch and into the postseason for the Yankees and he still hasn’t been particularly great in the postseason with the Rockies or Yankees (7.04 ERA in 12 appearances). His walk rate is also way higher than you would like, as he has walked 5.2 batters per nine innings since becoming a Yankee so, as it was when he was a Rockie, control is not Ottavino’s strong suit.
For Clarke Schmidt, who will be 25 by the time the season starts, he is the Yankees number two prospect, a pitcher (and the Rockies are in desperate need of pitching), MLB-ready or close to MLB-ready (he made his MLB debut in 2020 but he has pitched three games in Double-A, which is the highest level he has played at in the minors), and in MLB.com’s Top 100 prospects (#83 overall).
Considering the Rockies pitching depth, Schmidt could easily find himself on the Rockies’ major league pitching staff on Opening Day if a trade was pulled off. For comparison, Rockies pitcher Peter Lambert was MLB.com’s 88th best prospect entering the 2018 season.
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Would you, as a Rockies fan, trade, arguably, your best player for one year of an inconsistent reliever, $9.5 million in salary relief (Story is projected to make $18.5 million in 2021 while Ottavino is projected to make $9 million), and a pitcher like Peter Lambert? The answer is likely no.
While obviously not the be-all, end-all, the website “Baseball Trade Values” has that proposal for the Rockies as being a major loss, as Story has a trade value of 33.70 and Ottavino and Schmidt combined to a value of 17.00. It is a good start to a trade but it’s not enough from a Rockies perspective, not the other way around.
Considering that DJ LeMahieu reportedly wants five years and $125 million from the Yankees (and they are balking at that), it’s not a foregone conclusion that he will return to the Yankees. For the rest of the Yankees offense, they do have a lot of offense and don’t necessarily need Trevor Story in theory but if LeMahieu doesn’t resign, they have more of an issue. Plus, the Yankees aren’t necessarily known for being the healthiest team in baseball (Stanton, Judge, Tauchman, Voit, Urshela, Hicks, and Sanchez were all hurt in 2020 at some point and they have had numerous other injuries in the past few seasons).
If the Yankees don’t want to offer more than Ottavino and Schmidt, the Rockies can move on to a different suitor or keep Story, which they should do anyway unless they are blown away by a deal that will make them a better team in 2021, not some “maybe these players will help us in six years.”