Despite not announcing it, the Yankees know who will replace Masahiro Tanaka in the rotation while the veteran right-hander nurses both hamstrings back to full strength while on the disabled list.
Right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga is the favorite to start against the Rays on Friday or Saturday despite the 23-year-old never pitching above Double-A.
What they don’t know is the identity of the pitcher they will acquire before the July 31 trade deadline. Before Jordan Montgomery — who underwent Tommy John surgery last week — and Tanaka went on the shelf, the industry strongly believed the Yankees would attempt to add a starter who would slot in between ace Luis Severino and Tanaka.
Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ, Michael Fulmer will draw interest from teams searching for starters. And if the Mets place Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard on the market, the Yankees will be involved, although it is hard to believe the Mets would deliver either to The Bronx.
Hamels has the bigger name, but a scout who follows the Yankees believes their choice would be Happ.
“Happ has been more consistent,’’ the scout said of the 35-year-old who is 8-3 with a 3.71 ERA in 13 starts for the struggling Blue Jays. “And he pitched good in the playoffs.’’
Since returning to Toronto two years ago, Happ is 38-18 with a 3.40 ERA for the Blue Jays — including a 20-4 record with a 3.18 ERA in 2016.
Happ, who has appeared in 10 postseason games (three starts) is in the final leg of a three-year contract worth $36 million and is making $13 million this year.
As for the stumbling block of the Blue Jays shying away from trading within the AL East, the scout said, “Brian [Cashman] is very good at putting together three-team deals.’’
Hamels, who beat the Yankees on May 22 in Texas, is 3-6 with a 3.86 EA in 13 starts for the Rangers. He makes $23.5 million this year. There is a team option for $20 million next year with a $6 million buyout and a vesting option for $24 million for 2019. In 16 postseason starts, Hamels is 7-6 with a 3.48.
As for Tanaka’s replacement, the Yankees continue to internally discuss it.
“We’re talking through those things every day, a little more earnestly [Tuesday],’’ Aaron Boone said at a Hope Week event on Monday. “We have a tentative plan that we’re leaning toward, but it’s still something we’re working through.’’
Giancarlo Stanton’s hitting woes at home and against right-handers might be helped by seeing Nationals righty Tanner Roark. Even though Stanton is a .242 (8-for-33) hitter against Roark, he has four homers and six RBIs against him.
In Stanton’s last eight games, he hit .250 (8-for-32) with four homers, five RBIs and a 1.008 OPS.
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