Will the Yankees heed the proposal to trade Nestor Cortes?

New York Yankees starter Nestor Cortes

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With the trade deadline approaching and everyone expecting the Yankees to be active in the market, The Athletics floated a possible trade scenario involving Nestor Cortes. However, the starter remains hugely popular among the fans and considering his performance last season, it is hard to imagine that the Yankees can part away with him.

With Aaron Judge sidelined for an extended duration, the Yankees have been dependent on a diverse group of players who don’t necessarily fit the need of the team. The outcomes, particularly in terms of offense, have been exceedingly challenging. Without the stellar performance of the pitching staff in recent weeks, the Yankees could have found themselves outside the top three spots for the American League wild-card race. However, they are currently in a strong position within the playoff contention and may surpass expectations with reinforcements.

Nestor Cortes trade proposal for the Yankees

In a recent article, Jim Bowden draws on reports about various trade scenarios, including a potential deal between the Yankees and Cardinals. The proposed trade would involve Nestor Cortes being traded to the Cardinals in exchange for outfielder Lars Nootbaar. Additionally, the Yankees would send two prospects to the Cardinals, Drew Thorpe, a right-handed pitcher, and Elijah Dunham, an outfielder.

Nestor Cortes with Aaron Judge and other teammates.

However, it looks like a difficult proposition for the Yankees to trade Nestor Cortes. The left-handed starter is a cult figure in the Bronx. Even The Athletic’s Brendan Kuty knows it well. According to him:

“Nootbaar brings exit velocity, a good eye, and solid enough defense so he could shift to left field this season and head back to the center field next year. Helps, also, that Nootbaar is under team control through 2027 and is a lefty hitter. But to get a young player with Nootbaar’s skills, it’s going to hurt. Cortes is a Yankees fan-favorite, and the club could look to upgrade its rotation again in the offseason. Thorpe, 22, is a former second-round pick with good command and middling stuff. Dunham, 25, could become a third or fourth outfielder with just enough ability on both sides of the ball, and he’ll be eligible for the Rule 5 draft in December.”

Lars-Nootbaar
AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson

Kuty acknowledged that the possibility of acquiring Lars Nootbaar from the Cardinals would only arise if the Yankees chose not to extend the contract of Harrison Bader, who is set to become a free agent this offseason. He suggested that if the Yankees consider Bader too injury-prone as he enters his 30s, this trade could be a viable option.

Bowden expressed his disagreement with the proposed trade, stating that he considers Lars Nootbaar to be a fourth outfielder rather than a regular starter. He pointed out Nootbaar’s below-average defense in center field and doubted his ability to hit consistently to secure a regular corner outfield position. Despite recognizing Nootbaar’s positive attributes such as exit velocity, makeup, and competitiveness, Bowden believed that he wouldn’t provide enough offensive production.

Bowden highlighted Nootbaar’s career batting average of .240 in his first 680 plate appearances and projected him as a 15- to 18-home run hitter, with a career-high of 14 home runs in a single season. Additionally, Bowden valued Nestor Cortes as a dependable mid-rotation starter, emphasizing his age (under 30) and left-handedness, which adds to his overall worth. Ultimately, Bowden stated that he wouldn’t even consider a straight-up trade of Cortes for Nootbaar.

Despite the attractive offer from the Yankees, Nootbar holds significant value to the Cardinals as a key player, particularly considering his young age of 25. His impressive performance in the World Baseball Classic further highlights his potential and contribution to the team. However, it appears that Bader is likely to secure a long-term contract with the Yankees, indicating their commitment to him as a player.

Additionally, he admitted that Nestor Cortes holds a special place in the hearts of Yankees fans, and the team might prioritize further improvements to its pitching rotation in the upcoming offseason. As for Thorpe, the 22-year-old is a former second-round pick known for his solid control but average pitching repertoire. On the other hand, Dunham, 25, possesses enough skills both offensively and defensively to potentially fill the role of a third or fourth outfielder. It’s worth noting that Dunham will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft in December.

Other potential Yankees trade options

Another trade proposal that has surfaced involves Joc Pederson, along with cash considerations to account for luxury tax implications. In exchange, the Yankees would be willing to include right-handed pitcher Will Warren, who currently holds the No. 7 prospect ranking within the Yankees organization, as stated by MLB Pipeline.

Pederson has been displaying solid offensive numbers this season, with a batting average of .259 and 14 extra-base hits, including eight home runs. He has also contributed 30 RBIs and possesses a strong .855 OPS across 47 games. As a left-handed hitter, he would benefit from the dimensions of Yankee Stadium, adding power to the lineup. However, it’s worth noting that Pederson has primarily served as a designated hitter this season, which could create a challenge considering Giancarlo Stanton’s similar role. While Stanton can occasionally play in the outfield, integrating Pederson’s bat into the lineup would require careful consideration of the best positional arrangement.

Cody-Bellinger
AP Photo/Jeff Dean

Another intriguing possibility involves the acquisition of Cody Bellinger, a former National League MVP who seems to have regained his form after a couple of underwhelming seasons. The proposed trade scenario would involve sending right-handers Clayton Beeter (ranked as the Yankees’ No. 13 prospect) and Will Warren, along with outfielder Estevan Florial, to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Bellinger. This season, Bellinger has been batting .261 and has recorded 19 extra-base hits, including seven home runs. Additionally, he has contributed 22 RBIs and holds a respectable .775 OPS across 48 games. Furthermore, the 27-year-old has showcased his speed on the bases, successfully stealing 10 bases in 12 attempts.

Another potential trade scenario involves the acquisition of Joe Kelly, the current right-handed pitcher for the Chicago White Sox. In this proposal, the Yankees would send a package of pitching prospects, including Greg Weissert, Luis Gil, and Carlos Lagrange, to the White Sox in exchange for Kelly.

According to Brendan Kuty of The Athletic, Joe Kelly, the right-handed reliever for the Chicago White Sox, has been performing exceptionally well this season. Kuty noted that Kelly has been accumulating a high number of strikeouts (11.5 K/9) while demonstrating unusually low walk rates (2.5 BB/9). The 35-year-old pitcher is set to become a free agent at the end of this season, with a team option of $9.5 million for 2024, which includes a $1 million buyout.

greg-weissert-new-york-yankees
Charles Wenzelberg / NYP

Weissert, a talented 28-year-old pitcher, possesses impressive pitching abilities, but he has encountered challenges in securing regular playing time at the major league level. Gil, aged 25, is currently in the recovery phase following his Tommy John surgery in 2022, making it unlikely for him to pitch in the majors this season. However, many scouts and analysts believe that Gil has the potential to become a late-inning reliever in the future. Lagrange, standing tall at 6-foot-7 and only 20 years old, is a promising prospect with an exceptional fastball. Although he has yet to compete above the complex ball level, Lagrange is considered a high-risk, high-reward prospect.

Although there is a chance that Kelly could be traded to the Yankees, it is important to note that the team already possesses an exceptional bullpen. Therefore, their primary focus during the trade deadline will likely be on acquiring offensive upgrades rather than bolstering their pitching staff.

Another trade proposal discussed by The Athletics involves the possibility of the Yankees reacquiring outfielder Andrew McCutchen from the Pirates. In exchange, the Yankees would part ways with right-handed pitcher Jhony Brito and first baseman/third baseman Andrés Chaparro.

andrew-mccutchen
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

The Yankees are facing a significant issue with their low on-base percentage, and the potential acquisition of Andrew McCutchen from the Pirates could provide a solution. McCutchen has been one of the most productive outfielders in baseball this season, boasting an impressive .395 OBP that ranks among the top 10 in MLB. Given that McCutchen is a rental player, the cost of acquiring him should be reasonable. It’s worth mentioning that McCutchen previously voiced his criticism of the Yankees’ hair policy after leaving the team in 2018.

In this proposed trade, the Yankees would part ways with Jhony Brito, a promising player who has shown potential but is still a few years away from becoming a reliable starter. However, it’s important to note that there is opposition within the Yankees organization regarding the decision to trade Brito, and McCutchen has recently expressed his desire to remain with the Pirates.

Jeimer-Candelario
AP Photo/Stephen Brashear, File

The Yankees are considering the possibility of acquiring Jeimer Candelario, the Nationals’ third baseman, in exchange for Oswaldo Cabrera, Luis Serna, and Greg Weissert. Candelario has shown solid performance this year, with 26 doubles, 10 home runs, and 38 RBIs in 289 at-bats. The Yankees have been struggling at the third base position, leading to benching players like Josh Donaldson and DJ LeMahieu as they try to regain their form at the plate.

However, trading for Candelario may present a challenge as it would likely only work if Donaldson is designated for assignment. Even in that case, the Yankees could choose to use the roster spot to call up Oswald Peraza instead of pursuing a trade for a third baseman. On the other hand, the Nationals would benefit from acquiring young talent, and Cabrera’s versatility to play various positions would be an asset for them. This potential trade has the potential to be a win-win situation for both teams involved.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

3 thoughts on “Will the Yankees heed the proposal to trade Nestor Cortes?

  1. You are crazy I won’t think changing Nestor Cortes une of the best picher the Yankees got

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