The Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees were the two best teams in the American League during the season’s first half, per measures like winning percentage and run differential. Whether those two meet in the AL Championship Series come October is anyone’s guess, but it appears they could spend the rest of July competing for shared trade targets — like, say, Toronto Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman and reliever Ken Giles.
According to TSN’s Scott Mitchell, both the Twins and Yankees have inquired about what it would take to land the pitchers from the Blue Jays ahead of the July 31 deadline. The Blue Jays, for their part, appear more likely to deal them in separate trades.
Theoretically, the Blue Jays could wait until the offseason to move either pitcher, as both Stroman and Giles have an additional season of team control remaining. It may behoove them, however, to trade each at the deadline so as to maximize their return.
Stroman is currently dealing with a pectoral cramp. When he’s pitched this season, he’s pitched well — to the tune of a 141 ERA+ and 2.53 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 104 innings. Those marks were good enough to get him named to the AL All-Star team. Giles, for his part, has a 312 ERA+ and 5.89 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He too deserved to be in Cleveland for the All-Star Game festivities, but was not added to the team.
It’s unclear what the Blue Jays expect in return for either Stroman or Giles. You can bet it’s a fair amount, though, based on the quality of pitcher involved and the additional year of team control.
The Yankees are known to be seeking rotation help, while the Twins could stand to add some bullpen insurance. Recently, the Twins signed former Cleveland closer Cody Allen to a minor-league pact. Allen is expected to join the big-league club at some point in the second half.