These two charts show what their values are if they are establishing new levels of production. Shields takes the lead, but it’s not by nearly as much as the last scenario (Edit: It’s much closer now, if not dead-even, but this scenario seems the least likely of the three). The value of Jimenez’s contract is pretty overwhelming. Shields’ contract is getting past the point of being a huge bargain, though it is still a bargain, but Jimenez’s is a massive bargain.
These two charts are if the two go back to being what they were before this season, which I think is the second-most likely scenario. Both seasons could be blips, and it’s possible that either player could just go back to being what they were. In this scenario, Jimenez lays waste to Shields (Edit: Still does, just slightly less so).
As I said, lots of things could happen. That’s the hard part of being a general manager, but I wanted to quantify it a little for you to see their values to illustrate a few important points. One, Jimenez’s contract is a real value, and if you think the Rockies simply need to dump him, you’re insane. Two, Shields’ contract is no longer a big bargain, and it’s the reason the Rays are even considering trading Shields. Three, Jimenez had been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the past two seasons, and we shouldn’t assume that he can no longer be that pitcher. Four, I haven’t even accounted for added playoff value when it comes to the value needed in prospects (I’ll get to that in a minute), but they would probably add a similar amount in value this season. Five, I didn’t modify Jimenez’s stats for the AL, but I wasn’t terribly sure how much I should take off, though I don’t think it’s near enough to make up for the difference.
So now, we look at the Yankees. They obviously need starting pitching, or at least covet it, and they have the prospects to get either pitcher if they choose. For looking at the needed prospects, we’ll use the first scenario as a starting point. Starting with Shields, Victor Wang’s research says that a top 10 hitter would take up $36.5 M of Shields’ $40 M value, and that could be Montero, who would play first or DH for the Rays. A B prospect (Banuelos, Nova, Warren, Heathcott) would finish off the difference, but the Rays may want another guy considering the division (Edit: Those prospects would near completing the difference, but the quality of that third player just went up to another one of those B prospects). Jimenez’s value nears $70 M. If the Yankees gave the Rockies the reported Montero (36.5), Betances (12.5), Banuelos (12.5), and Nova (7.3) deal, that would total what would be needed to total $68-70 M. It’s not an unfair trade at all.
The question you have to ask now is if either pitcher is worth it. While pitchers have a chance to get injured, prospects do as well along with the chance to flame out. Both of these pitchers are essentially guaranteed to be front-of-the-rotation good while they’re on the mound. Guaranteed production goes a long way, and neither has such a terrible contract to hurt the Yankees payroll severely. But do you want to pay that price?