Same team, new slant.
As the Yankees look for ways to improve the 2021 team, itâ€™s time we look beyond the obvious. Sure, Francisco Lindor makes a ton of sense in a blockbuster trade. So does signing J.T. Realmuto. The same can be said for a win-win deal with the Mets.
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But if the Colorado Rockies are ready to concede (and considering the state of their team, they probably should be) the next few years in the NL West to the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants, the Yankees are an ideal trade partner. But Iâ€™m not talking about star third baseman Nolan Arenado.
This time itâ€™s about a Rockies star thatâ€™s actually been better of late: Shortstop Trevor Story.
Hereâ€™s an idea for a deal that could appeal to both sides, and why each team would do it.
Yankees receive: Story
Rockies receive: Deivi Garcia, Mike Ford, Domingo German
Why the Yankees would do it
Story is outstanding: Since the start of the 2018 season, Story owns a .292/.355/.554 slash line. Even when accounting for Coors Field, that comes out to a 122 OPS+. When you factor in 83 home runs and 65 steals in that span, you can make a real case that Story is now the best overall shortstop in baseball. Yes, even ahead of Lindor. Hereâ€™s a snapshot of the two potential Yankees trade acquisitions over the last three seasons.
WAR per 650 PA: 5.9
Extra-base hits: 191
WAR per 650 PA: 5.5
Extra-base hits: 177
Makes the entire infield make more sense: Story is an excellent defender, and an upgrade over anything the Yankees have put at the position in a long, long time. Gleyber Torres could move back to second base. Luke Voit would be the full-time first baseman. Gio Urshela would be at third. That would give New York two potential Gold Glove-caliber defenders on the left side of the infield, and Torres could be better than average back at second base.
More attainable than Lindor: Despite how close the two players have been, my gut is telling me that Lindor will be more sought after and generate a bigger trade market. That means having to outbid teams like the Mets, Cardinals, Dodgers and Blue Jays in prospect capital. Why surrender an â€œAâ€ package for one year of Lindor when a â€œB+â€ package could bring back Story?
Could be the next Matt Holliday: Alright, Iâ€™ll admit my major gripe with Story. It applies for almost every great Rockies hitter ever: The Coors Field effect. Downplay it all you want, but I canâ€™t look away when splits are so drastic. Hereâ€™s how Storyâ€™s home and road numbers look since arriving to the majors.
Home: .304/.370/.624, 84 HR
Road: .250/.315/.445, 50 HR
Worrisome? Sure. But I once worried this same thing about Holliday, a great athlete and hard worker. He made it work when leaving the Rockies. Iâ€™d bet on Story doing the same. Plus, this line of thinking didnâ€™t stop the Yankees from signing DJ LeMahieu a couple years ago. That seemed to work out just fine.
Why the Rockies would do it
Itâ€™s time to truly rebuild: The Dodgers are light years ahead in the NL West, and not slowing down. The Padres have a slew of blue chip talent, and will be a playoff contender for years to come. The Giants have Farhan Zaidi and Gabe Kapler building a culture. They are better than Colorado now while retooling, and could be way better as prospects graduate to the majors. The Rockies are far off from winning, even with a player like Story. Move him now and get value back.
Easier to move than Arenado: Clubs love team control, so this would run counterintuitive to that. But after watching Arenadoâ€™s offense (84 OPS+) crater in 2020, itâ€™s fair to worry if decline is hitting one of the best third baseman baseball has ever seen. Arenado is owed almost $200M on his mega deal, which comes with the uncertainty of an opt-out clause. Storyâ€™s story is simple: One year of team control before he hits the open market.
Garcia brings top-of-the-rotation upside: Colorado has struggled to develop arms for years. German Marquez (who could be included in this deal to make it true Yankees-Rockies blockbuster) is the closest thing to a recent success. More is needed to compete. Garcia has a chance to get there, and make this deal a win down the line for the Rockies.
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Joe Giglio may be reached at email@example.com.