The Yankees may have just taken three out of four from the first place Indians, but these two teams could match up in a trade by the deadline. Having just reached .500 heading into the All-Star break, New York still makes sense as a seller who could offer Cleveland some help to give them a much-needed boost for their playoff push.
Obviously the best way for the Yankees to help the Indians is with their relievers. It's not that the Cleveland bullpen is bad, but for a team looking towards a long run in the postseason, the group they have seems pretty mediocre according to several metrics. They currently have a solid group containing Cody Allen, Dan Otero, Tommy Hunter, and Jeff Manship, but none of them possess much of a track record for success. They just got rid of Joba Chamberlain, who was actually doing pretty well, so it's clear they would want a serious improvement over who they have now.
Adding someone like Aroldis Chapman would immediately push their bullpen to the top of most rankings and would allow the relievers who are possibly playing over their heads to fill out a now richer depth chart. The team seems to have faith in closer Cody Allen, so the long-term change that Andrew Miller would bring doesn't seem to be in the cards here. Still, the 27-year-old left-hander isn't so established that he couldn't deal with a better pitcher coming in to help them get to the playoffs before he leaves in free agency.
Unfortunately, that's the best way these two will be able to match up. While their bullpen could use an upgrade, Cleveland has other issues they have to tend to first, like upgrading their outfield and finding a catcher who can actually hit. Carlos Beltran would be a useful bat for them, but with Mike Napoli and Carlos Santana sharing first base and DH, and Lonnie Chisenhall claiming right field as his own, Beltran would have nowhere to play.
Between Yan Gomes and Chris Gimenez, the Indians have the worst catching tandem in the league, but the Yankees aren't going to trade Brian McCann. Austin Romine is actually having a better season, but Gomes is still owed $17.5 million through 2019, so he's not going anywhere, and they can probably find a left-handed bat to pair with him instead.
According to a recent report, the Yankees are looking for a better package (Eric Jagielo, Rookie Davis, Tony Renda, and Caleb Cotham) than they gave up to acquire Aroldis Chapman in the first place, which duh. At the time of the trade, the left-hander's value had been hurt by the domestic violence investigation and the looming suspension that would come after, so the Yankees were somehow able to get Chapman for a 'discounted' price. Now they shouldn't have much problem getting more value than what they gave up.
When piecing together some kind of package in return for Chapman, I would want to go with quality over quantity. Jagielo and Davis were the better prospects with Renda and Cotham really only serving as throw-ins, so two top 30 guys from Cleveland should do the trick. The Yankees could go for someone as high as No. 9 prospect Rob Kaminsky if they want to try and take a chance on turning the left-hander around from his downward trend over the last year. There's also No. 14 prospect Adam Plutko, who is projected to be a back-end starter as early as this year; however, Cleveland's impressive rotation and better prospects in the system could make him expendable.
In all honesty, the Yankees will probably want something better in return for Chapman, but I just don't know how feasible that will be when we're talking about only two months of control. A team like the Indians might not want to give up the farm yet because their window to compete has just opened for them, but we'll see. Despite their obvious needs, the Indians are good enough not to be desperate at the deadline, and the Yankees might have to hope for desperate.