Tampa Bay Rays Could Help Yankees in Surprise Move for Starting Pitcher

The Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees could make a rare trade for this right-handed pitcher.
Jun 9, 2024; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA;  Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Zack Littell (52) throws a pitch against the Baltimore Orioles in the first inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit:
Jun 9, 2024; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Zack Littell (52) throws a pitch against the Baltimore Orioles in the first inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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The New York Yankees rotation has been one of the best in baseball this season. However, as they found out with Gerrit Cole and many others on the roster over the past few seasons, injuries happen when no one expects them.

Adding another arm to the starting rotation could come back to help one day, even if it's for depth reasons.

Considering they have other areas they need to improve, it'd be a wise decision to not go out and move high-end prospects unless they're getting back a potential ace. All the Yankees need, right now, is a solid three or four arm in the rotation.

Listing 25 starting pitchers who could be dealt at the MLB trade deadline, Kerry Miller of Bleacher Report has Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Zack Littell on the list.

"In theory, the Rays will be littered with healthy options for their 2025 starting rotation. Shane McClanahan, Jeffrey Springs, Drew Rasmussen and Shane Baz should all be back from their injuries, with Zach Eflin, Aaron Civale, Ryan Pepiot, Taj Bradley and Zack Littell also among the list of candidates.

"So, with Littell out to a solid start to the season (3.56 ERA, 3.15 FIP), maybe they explore how much they could get in exchange for the ridiculously-inexpensive-but-more-than-serviceable starter who they probably wouldn't have room for next season anyway."

Littell has been one of the Rays' better pitchers this season as their rotation has been flooded with injuries. For once, in what seems to be a very long time, Tampa Bay has struggled.

This could lead them to move arms for prospects and New York has plenty of those that could interest them.

The 28-year-old hits free agency in 2026, so the Yankees would have control of him for longer than just a few months, another benefit of making a deal for him.

He's worked out of the bullpen for much of his career but made 14 starts last year and has only worked as a starter this season. In his 12 starts, the North Carolina native has posted a 3.56 ERA, 3.15 FIP, and has struck out 66 in 68 1/3 innings pitched.

New York and the Rays trading with each other would be different, but considering they're in a strange position, perhaps they take a Yankees prospect or two and get the deal done.


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Jon Conahan

JON CONAHAN