Blockbuster Trade Proposal Sends José Ramírez to Yankees in Deal Including Gleyber Torres
NEW YORK — With the Trade Deadline just over one week away, trade proposal season is upon us.
In this proposed blockbuster, the Yankees add an MVP-caliber infielder and a left-handed hitting outfielder, but part ways with one of their best young players in the process.
Here's the hypothetical deal, presented in a recent piece over on MLB.com that featured five different possible trades designed to help the Yankees contend for a championship in 2021.
Yankees get: 3B José Ramírez, OF Bradley Zimmer
Indians get: SS Gleyber Torres, RHP Luis Gil (Yankees No. 5 prospect), OF Kevin Alcantara (No. 12)
There's a lot to unpack here. For those that don't follow Cleveland at all, José Ramírez is one of the best in the business. He nearly won the American League Most Valuable Player Award last year, finishing second in that race during the pandemic-shortened campaign (hitting .292 with 17 home runs over 58 games).
The 28-year-old had arguably the best full season of his career back in 2017, leading the league with 56 doubles while batting .318 with a .957 OPS. The following season, Ramírez belted 39 homers with 105 RBI.
Imagining his bat in New York's lineup is certainly intriguing. The Bombers have been missing a switch-hitter capable of adding some balance to the lineup, a player that excels in putting the ball in play, driving extra base hits from both sides of the plate.
Plus, Ramírez is under contract through the end of the 2023 season, some control while other options at the Trade Deadline are rentals for just the rest of this year.
As for Zimmer, he fits the mold of a player this team has been seeking to add for quite some time. The outfielder isn't producing earth-shattering numbers, but he brings speed and defensive versatility to the table, all the while adding another lefty to a righty-heavy order.
Sounds like a plan, right? Well, New York would be sacrificing their presumed shortstop of the future in this deal, packaged along with two of the best prospects in the organization's farm system.
While you ponder the pros and cons, here's the architect of the deal (MLB.com's Thomas Harrigan) with more on why it could work:
Yes, the Yankees need outfielders more than infielders right now, but this trade is as much about 2022 and ’23 as it is about this season. New York’s roster is fundamentally flawed, with too many plodding right-handed hitters and little flexibility. It would hurt to give up on Torres, who is still just 24 years old and produced 62 homers with an .849 OPS over his first two seasons, but the Yanks need to do something bold to salvage their current core’s title hopes.
Ramírez, a switch-hitter and well-rounded star who finished among the top three in the AL MVP Award voting in 2017, ’18 and ’20, would be the spark the franchise needs. The Yanks already have a third baseman in Gio Urshela, but they shouldn’t let that stop them from acquiring a player of Ramírez’s caliber. Besides, with Luke Voit hurt again, the Yankees are going to need DJ LeMahieu to handle first base, leaving an opening at second that Ramírez can fill. This trade also helps New York address its center-field issue. Zimmer doesn’t have much power, but he’s a speedy player who can handle center, bats from the left side and has reached base at a .368 clip over the past two seasons.
Torres is finally starting to turn his season around, but there are still concerns about his longevity at shortstop. Gil and Alcantara certainly have upside, but to reel in a talented player like Ramírez, New York would absolutely need to consider something like this.
All that being said, the odds of this hypothetical coming to fruition are slim. New York appears to be focused on adding a premier outfielder at the Deadline. Ramírez would create a logjam in an already-crowded infield (if everyone is healthy) while the Yankees' shortstop prospects (to fill in for Torres going forward) are still years away in the minors.
Plus, as noted by Harrigan, it's been reported that the Indians would need to be completely blown away to ever actually trade Ramírez. Two top prospects and a 24-year-old phenom is quite the return. Would it be enough, though?
New York and Cleveland do have a history of making Deadline deals. Remember the Yankees' retool in 2016, shipping Andrew Miller to the Indians for the stretch run, receiving a package that included Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield in return.
Winners of nine of their last 12, as the Deadline looms, it's getting harder to envision the Yankees selling. Cleveland, meanwhile, sits 8.5 games back in their division, a club that seems destined to part ways with Ramírez after they traded away Francisco Lindor this past offseason.