Aaron Judge won the Home Run Derby and the American League took home its 5th straight All-Star Game.
Now that the second half of the season has sprung into action, the Yankees need to turn their focus to winning games… and Brian Cashman has to turn his focus to the trade deadline.
His team is 9-21 in their last 30 games which marks the worst record in baseball during that span. The MVP candidate Judge is 1-22 since his jaw dropping performance in Miami.
Yes, the Yankees should be buyers, that’s not the question…
The big question for Cashman is whether he feels if his club is going to play more like the 9-21 team as of late or the 38-23 team what once held the 2nd best record in baseball.
Can a certain trade really put the Yankees over-the-top as serious contenders for this season that also wouldn’t conflict with the rebuilding blueprint?
He has made it crystal clear he won’t be willing to give up top prospects, but has also reached out to several teams for pitching and first basemen.
Here’s the moves the Yankees should and should not make within the next two weeks:
•Trade for Sonny Gray
With Michael Pineda undergoing surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament, the need for starting pitching is more desperate than ever this season.
There have already been trade talks between these teams for all-star first baseman Yonder Alonso, and the Athletics have recently scouted the Yankees system…
Sonny Gray would be a great fit at the front of the rotation. He can also take pressure off the young arm of Luis Severino and have an impact on the arms in the bullpen.
The Yankees could still offer prospects to Oakland like Blake Rutherford. Just not the bigger named and prized guys like Clint Frazier and Glebyer Torres.
•Do Not Trade for Addison Reed or Lucas Duda
The reason I think the Yankees shouldn’t go near these guys is not because they don’t have talent, but I don’t believe they will have an immediate impact or are worth giving up prospects for two players who could potentially leave after this season.
It’s obvious the Yankees need bullpen help, as the team leads the league on blown games this year with 19.
What’s the point of trading valuable assets for players that have the ability to leave after half a season? Then the trade really slaps you back in the face, especially when it’s from your crosstown rival.
The Yankees actually reached out to the Mets for a deal involving the two.
A guy like David Robertson is a better option for bullpen help, he’s been in pinstripes before and his rights would be owned for beyond the rest of the season.
•Do Not Trade for a First or Third Baseman
Call me crazy about not wanting a new first and thirds baseman, but hear me out:
To start off, Chase Headley is the Yankees third baseman this year and there’s no reason to change that.
He’s a great fielder and a streaky hitter, but they have bigger problems than him.
Like I said, you don’t want to pull off a trade that foils the blueprint for rebuilding. Once Headley comes off of contract, the stage will be set for a healthy Glebyer Torres and Miguel Andújar to take over 3rd base.
There’s no need to trade for a temporary third baseman… and not to mention Manny Machado is a free agent after next season.
But now back to first base: Bird has been a disappointment, especially after his second surgery in two seasons, but whether it’s good or not, he is still the future starter at that position and he won’t be given up on;
And for good reason too. Bird has the potential to be a better pure hitter than Gary Sanchez and Judge. No, that doesn’t mean Bird will be joining them in the Home Run Derby, it just means he can hit for a higher average.
With Tyler Austin coming back, I think a team of Austin, Ji-Man Choi, newly acquired Garrett Cooper, and even switching in Matt Holliday there could be sufficient. Aaron Hicks coming back off of injury also gives Joe Girardi more leverage with his roster.
Getting someone like Alonso or Duda will just take away prospects from the farm system and give the Yankees a temporary first baseman to finish out the season.
The Yankees have a difficult deadline ahead – similar to the Mets. The Yankees are buyers, but careful buyers. The Mets are sellers, but careful sellers as they can still look to win next year.
If a deal should be made at the deadline, it should be centered on getting help in the rotation and bullpen, before looking for corner infielders.
Relief pitching, despite the bullpen’s very weak performance of late, can be trusted more than the starters. Thus, adding a starter or starters can put the Yankees over-the-top of their struggles and turn them back into contenders this season while still being able to follow the rebuilding plan for years to come.