Marcus Stroman
Getty Images

Report: Yankees have expressed interest in Marcus Stroman, Madison Bumgarner

2 Comments

Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have reached out to the Blue Jays about a potential trade for right-hander Marcus Stroman. They’ve also scouted Giants southpaw Madison Bumgarner, though there don’t appear to be ongoing discussions between the two sides just yet.

While no deal seems imminent on either front, the Yankees could certainly use the extra rotation help, and Davidoff adds that they intend to do so in advance of next month’s trade deadline. The club is currently working with a rotation that ranks 13th-best in the league (per FanGraphs), hampered in part by injuries to Luis Severino (rotator cuff inflammation), Domingo Germán (left hip flexor strain), Jonathan Loaisiga (shoulder strain) and Jordan Montgomery (Tommy John surgery). A starter of Stroman or Bumgarner’s caliber would undeniably give them the boost they need to improve that ranking and stabilize the rotation as they move toward the postseason.

As MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand pointed out on Saturday, however, the Yankees still have reason to hesitate before making any sizable upgrades to their pitching staff, especially with Severino nearing the end of his recovery from right shoulder inflammation. Per Feinsand, the club may wait to see how Severino’s recovery process plays out before jumping into the fray for Stroman or Bumgarner, both of whom are expected to command sizable returns on the trade market. Complicating matters is the issue of Severino’s return date, which will be ‘sometime in July’ and could put more pressure on the team to make a quick decision before the deadline.

Stroman, 28, has been a fairly stable presence in the Blue Jays’ rotation for the last six seasons. Despite some hiccups — including a disastrous six-run, four-strikeout performance against the Diamondbacks on Friday — he’s already started to improve on his 2018 totals, turning in a 3-8 record in 14 starts with a 3.31 ERA, 3.1 BB/9, and 6.9 SO/9 through 81 2/3 innings. He’ll remain under team control through the 2020 season, too, giving the Yankees another viable long-term starting option next to Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, J.A. Happ, and the soon-to-be-retired CC Sabathia.

Bumgarner, on the other hand, no longer looks like the stalwart ace that once led the Giants to multiple World Series titles. His last several campaigns in the majors have been overshadowed by injuries, including a shoulder sprain and fractured finger, and he’s pitched to a mediocre 3-5 record in 13 starts with a 4.05 ERA, 1.8 BB/9, and 8.9 SO/9 across 80 innings this year. Should the 29-year-old lefty strike a deal with the Yankees (whom, it should be said, are one of eight teams on his no-trade list), it would be on a much less permanent basis, as he’s slated to enter free agency at the conclusion of the 2019 season.

Angels’ Andrelton Simmons opts out of final 5 games

Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
Leave a comment

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shortstop Andrelton Simmons has opted out of the remainder of the Los Angeles Angels’ season.

The Angels announced the four-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop’s decision Tuesday before they faced the San Diego Padres.

Los Angeles (24-31) is still technically in the playoff race with five games left in the regular season, and Simmons clearly caught the Angels by surprise, although the club said it respected his decision.

The 31-year-old Simmons, who can be a free agent this winter, is finishing his fifth year with the Angels. After spraining his ankle in late July and missing 22 games, Simmons is currently batting .297 with 10 RBIs while playing his usual stellar defense, albeit with four errors in 30 games.

“At this time, I feel this is the best decision for me and my family,” Simmons said in a statement. “We don’t know what the future holds, but we would like to sincerely thank the Angels organization and Angels fans for welcoming and making us feel at home.”

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged he was caught by surprise when general manager Billy Eppler told him about Simmons’ decision Monday night after Simmons went 1 for 4 with an RBI single in the Angels’ home finale. Maddon texted Simmons, but hadn’t heard back by Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve really enjoyed this guy a lot,” Maddon said. “I’m a big fan. This guy is a good baseball player, and I’ve enjoyed the conversations, too. It’s just unfortunate. He’s really a big part of what we’re doing right now.”

Simmons is a favorite of Angels fans for his defensive wizardry, and owner Arte Moreno has described Simmons as perhaps his favorite player to watch on the roster. Simmons has batted .281 with 36 homers and 281 RBIs during his five seasons with Los Angeles, and he won the Gold Glove in 2017 and 2018.

“He’s a thinking kind of a player, and I’ve enjoyed him a lot,” Maddon said.

Simmons will be a free agent this winter, and the Angels have an obvious replacement for him in David Fletcher, who has a .374 on-base percentage while regularly hitting leadoff for the Angels during his breakout major league season. Fletcher has been playing second base since Simmons’ return from injury.

But the Angels haven’t publicly closed the door on Simmons’ return, and he could be given a qualifying offer. Maddon has repeatedly said he would like Simmons to return in 2021 if possible.

The Angels haven’t had a winning season during Simmons’ five years in Anaheim, although Simmons said last week he wasn’t discouraged by the lack of team success. Simmons played his first four major league seasons in Atlanta, and he hasn’t appeared in the postseason since 2013.

Simmons also said he hadn’t been involved in any recent contract talks with the Angels, but he had enjoyed playing for the club. When asked if he wanted to return to the Halos, Simmons said he would have to “plead the fifth.”