Old? Mediocre? Little to no starting pitching prospects? Unfortunately for the Yankees, all three of those are accurate when it comes to their pitching situation. It's one reason why they're desperate to get Masahiro Tanaka. But they've also expressed a willingness to get under the luxury tax. If the Yankees miss out on Tanaka and need a cheap option to keep them under the luxury tax, they could do a lot worse than Jeff Samardzija.
Here are the articles I'm digging from:
You're not going to see many prospects listed below. Why? The Yankees system is so bad that most of them just aren't worth mentioning. It's probably a bottom-five system in major league baseball and that's what could make any deal with them difficult.
Ian Clarkin, LHP: Injured, Negligible Stats
Clarkin was a 2013 first round pick out of high school, so he's a long way from the big leagues. He throws a low-90s fastball, an inconsistent curveball and a changeup that needs work. He needs to improve all three of those pitches because all of them are just kind of average right now.
Rafael De Paula, RHP, High-A: 49 IP, 9.18 K/9, 5.51 BB/9, 6.06 ERA, 4.63 FIP; Low-A: 64.1 IP, 13.43 K/9, 3.22 BB/9, 2.94 ERA, 2.03 FIP
De Paula took forever to get to the States after signing with the Yankees, making his U.S. debut at 21. After crushing Low-A as a 22 year old (13.43 K/9), De Paula came crashing down to earth in High-A, getting lit up in a pitchers' league. He throws an excellent mid-90s fastball and could develop a good curveball in time. His control is terrible, though, and most seem to think he'll eventually end up in the pen with closer potential.
Jose Ramirez, RHP, Triple-A: 31⅓ IP, 8.04 K/9, 6.03 BB/9, 4.88 ERA, 5.05 FIP; Double- A: 42.1 IP, 10.63 K/9, 3.19 BB/9, 2.76 ERA, 4.26 FIP
Ramirez is an injury-prone righty who still has upside at the age of 23. He throws a very good mid-90s fastball, a good change up and a slider that has some potential. Without improved command and a dose of good health, he's probably destined for the pen. But if he puts it all together and can stay healthy, he's a potential middle of the rotation guy.
Gary Sanchez, C, Double-A: 110 PA, .250 AVG, .364 OBP, .380 SLG, .348 wOBA; High-A: 399 PAs, .254 AVG, .313 OBP, .420 SLG, .336 wOBA
Sanchez began 2013 as one of the best catching prospects in the major leagues, but no one seems quite sure what to think about him after his 2013 season. Everyone agrees that Sanchez has huge raw power and his hit tool is rated from average to above average. With a rocket for an arm, the biggest questions seem to surround his receiving skills and his ability to develop those skills. There seem to be a lot of questions about Sanchez's makeup that make people skeptical that he'll ever cash in on his potential. All that being said, he's the Yankees' No. 1 prospect and probably their only top 100 prospect.
Slade Heathcott, CF, Double-A: 444 PA, .261 AVG, .327 OBP, .411 SLG, .334 wOBA
Heathcott has a run-through-the-wall playing style that has caused his career to derail due to injuries. He plays great center field defense and runs well. He doesn't show much power, has just an OK hit tool and has problems with plate discipline. He'll need to improve his hit tool and stay healthy if he wants to be an average everyday player.
Mason Williams, CF, Double-A: 76 PA, .153 AVG, .164 OBP, .264 SLG, .191 wOBA; High-A: 461 PAs, .261 AVG, .327 OBP, .350 SLG, .317 wOBA
Questions abound about Williams' makeup and many scouts claimed Williams looked fat and slower than he had in the past in 2013. Even with the apparent weight gain, he still played an excellent center field. Where it seemed to impact him the most was at the plate, where his bat looked slow and he'd loaf it to first base. He also changed his batting style in 2013, going to a slap style of hitting that didn't seem to work and produced contact, but mostly bad contact. If he wants to regain his former prospect status as a potential above average starting centerfielder, he needs to get in shape, shed doubts about his work ethic and get his bat figured out.
J.R. Murphy, C, Triple-A: 257 PAs, .270 AVG, .342 OBP, .430 SLG, .350 wOBA; Double-A: 211 PAs, .268 AVG, .352 OBP, .421 SLG, .353 wOBA
Murphy is a near-ready catcher who is kind of just OK at everything. His bat is solid and he'll hit a couple homers while working counts. His catching and throwing has come a long way to the point where he can stick behind home plate. If he keeps developing his defense and keep making consistent contact in the majors while working walks, he can be an everyday guy, but some think he'll eventually wind up as a backup.
Aaron Judge, OF, Injured after 2013 Draft
Another late first-round pick in 2013, Judge's carrying tool is his massive raw power. He's 6-foot-7 but has played some center field, so he's an excellent athlete and could be a very good defensive corner outfielder with a good arm. The biggest concern here is his hit tool, which draws big question marks and most see him as a poor average hitter. That being said, if he can tap into that power and hit .260, he could be a monster corner outfield power bat.
Tyler Austin, LF, Triple-A: 366 PAs, .257 AVG, .344 OBP, .373 SLG, .333 wOBA
Austin is another Yankee prospect who profiles as just sort of average at everything in left field. Solid hit tool, solid arm, solid glove with his power a little bit further behind all of the other tools. People seem to think he has a chance to be an everyday player because of his plus makeup and solid all-around tools.
Others to keep an eye on:
Eric Jagielo, Gosuke Katoh, Luis Severino, Manny Banuelos and Greg Bird
Ian Clarkin, Aaron Judge, Rafael De Paula and Slade Heathcott
That's about right:
Nick Kingham, Tyler Glasnow and Josh Bell from Pirates; Brett Gardner, Gary Sanchez, James Russell, Jose Ramirez and Gosuke Katoh to Pirates; Shark to Yankees
It's extremely difficult to find a fit with the Yankees due to their poor system (I'm not even really a fan of the ones I put together above). Their best prospect is Gary Sanchez and then they have a bunch of other guys that are either extremely far away or project to just average major leaguers. The Yankees definitely have a need and if they miss out on Tanaka, Shark could add to their rotation while still keeping them under the luxury tax. The only way I see a deal with the Yankees is if there's a third team that takes Brett Gardner and is willing to give up a top arm to get him.
Feel free to tear my proposed deals to shreds in the comments and create your own.