During the Yankees' run of success from the mid 1990s into the 2000s, they often used the trade deadline to their advantage. In the world of expanded playoffs, a smart deadline acquisition that bolsters the roster can be even more important and mean the difference between a World Series run and a disappointing early exit. Let's hope the Yankees can swing a deal similar to these over the next 10 days or so.
1995 - David Cone
Players given up: RHP Mike Gordon, RHP Jason Jarvis, and RHP Marty Janzen
Second half stats: 9-2, 3.83 ERA, 122 ERA+, 99 IP, 89 K, 47 BB
With a long overdue playoff berth in their sights in 1995 the Yankees decided to upgrade the rotation at the deadline with the reigning AL Cy Young award winner. Since Jack McDowell failed to ingratiate himself with New York fans, Cone became the de facto Yankee ace during their thrilling, if far too short, playoff run. As Andy Pettitte went through his early career struggles and stars like Roger Clemens and David Wells came and went, Cone remained the anchor at the top of the rotation for the next four years.
1996 - Cecil Fielder
Players given up: DH/OF Ruben Sierra and RHP Matt Drews
Second half stats: .260/.342/.495, 13 HR, 37 RBI, 108 OPS+
George Steinbrenner was perpetually on the search for a right handed power bat and finally had his man in 1996. From 1990 to 1995, Fielder averaged 36 home runs per year and the Yankees paid a seemingly high price for him in Matt Drews, Baseball America's number 12 prospect. However, Drews ultimately never pitched in major leagues. Fielder performed solid enough for the balance of the year but his real value came in the World Series where he bludgeoned the Braves to death with singles on his way to a .391/.440/.478 slash line.
2000 - David Justice
Players given up: RHP Zach Day, RHP Jake Westbrook, and OF Ricky Ledee
Second half stats: .305/.391/.585, 20 HR, 60 RBI, 145 OPS+
The Yankees surrendered three players who would go on to have more than just cups of coffee in the majors (including everybody's favorite tweeter) about a month before the deadline, but Justice was well worth the price. With the team's championship luster fading Justice was the offensive catalyst they desperately needed. It's hard to imagine the Yankees even making the playoffs without Justice in the lineup. His brilliance continued there as he went on to become the ALCS MVP mostly thanks to this blast.
2000 - Glenallen Hill
Players given up: RHP Ben Ford and LHP Oswaldo Mairena
Second half stats: .333/.378/.735, 16 HR, 29 RBI, 175 OPS+
Justice wasn't the only one that provided a spark for the struggling 2000 Yankees. They basically sent pocket change to the Cubs for Glenallen Hill who smacked home runs at an astonishing rate in the second half. In just 143 plate appearances he produced more than Tino Martinez and Chuck Knoblauch combined at the plate. By the time the playoffs rolled around he was relegated to pinch-hitting duties with no success but he was worth it for that second half alone.
2003 - Aaron Boone
Players given up: LHP Brandon Claussen and LHP Charlie Manning
Second half stats: .252/.302/.418, 6 HR, 31 RBI, 90 OPS+
After a successful 2002 campaign, Robin Ventura saw his production fall off significantly at third base in 2003. On the same day the Yankees shipped him out for spare parts, they traded top pitching prospect Brandon Claussen for Ventura's replacement in All-Star Aaron Boone. While the Yankees had high hopes for Boone, he actually performed worse than Ventura in the second half, but then this happened.
Boone never played for the Yankees again due to a knee injury sustained while playing basketball, which was a no-no per his contract. However, that opened up the door for the Alex Rodriguez acquisition which incited even more hate from Red Sox nation.
2006 - Bobby Abreu
Players given up: SS C.J. Henry, C Jesus Sanchez, RHP Carlos Monasterios and LHP Matt Smith
Second half stats: .330/.419/.507, 7 HR, 42 RBI, 138 OPS+
In a trade that could be considered highway robbery, the Yankees gave up four nondescript minor leaguers for Abreu in addition to starting pitcher Cory Lidle. Abreu filled the gaping hole in right field left by Gary Sheffield's injury which of course made Sheffield none to pleased. He was key in helping the Yankees to a division title with his patient approach at the top of the order. After a first round exit in the playoffs, his presence made Sheffield expendable the following year and Abreu kept up his trademark no-nonsense, steady production in pinstripes through 2008. The Yankees never won a playoff series with Abreu, but it was no fault of his.
2012 - Ichiro Suzuki
Players given up: RHP Danny Farquhar and RHP D.J. Mitchell
Second half stats: .322/.340/.454, 5 HR, 14 SB, 113 OPS+
The last Yankee team to make the playoffs needed some offensive help down the stretch and got it in the form of an aging, washed-up Ichiro. He found himself rejuvenated in the Bronx producing at a level closer to the success he enjoyed early in his career. Despite his impressive numbers in the ALCS (.353/.389/.529, 1 HR) the Yankees were swept in a disappointing series. The Yankees unfortunately saw his second half production as a harbinger of things to come. He was signed to a very player-friendly two year contract worth $13 million to be the team's everyday right fielder but provided little value.