Welcome to 3rd place Yankees Fans! After the doubleheader split with Boston, the Yankees are now in 3rd place behind the Rays by 1/2 game and Boston by 3.5 games. I've been a strong BUY candidate at the deadline, but the proof is in the pudding.
Our beloved Yanks are as good as Boston at best. They can't seem to compete with the Astros right now and everyone saw what the West Coast Road Trip did to their W/L column a few weeks ago. It's time to call this season what it is. A fluke. An outstanding April has given us fans rose colored glasses to think this team was 1 year ahead of schedule to compete for the AL East Crown, a playoff run and even a World Series Ring.
That's not happening this year, no matter who you trade for. Why?
1. Pitching - in April and early May the starting pitching was outperforming expectations. Now it's fallen back down to earth. With the exception of Luis Severino and CC Sabathia, all other starters are now fluctuating between rocky starts, no run support (not the pitcher's fault) and injured.
If you mortgage the farm for Sonny Gray or any other top level starter to be had at the deadline, what does that give you for the remaining months of the season? 1 to 3 wins. Assuming the rest of the team continues it's hot/cold streak of producing runs, you're probably still coming up short of the AL East Crown and maybe a Wild Card Birth at best. Is that worth seeing the best MLB Farm System in the majors being torn apart? I don't think so.
2. Aaron Judge can't carry this team all by himself. In April / May you saw Chase Headley at the top of the AVG leader boards. Aaron Hicks was ripping the cover off the ball and Brett Gardner had double digit Home Runs. Today? Chase has crashed back to earth, Hicks is on the shelf nursing an injury and Gardner's AVG is lower than Headley's.
Aaron Judge seems to have started to remember how to strike out again...A LOT! So let's not crown him MVP / Triple Crown / ROY just yet. He's having a special season, but they also need Gary Sanchez to have more HR's and hits, Starlin Castro needs to return to form, Matt Holiday needs to find his swing again and Sir Didi needs to continue his .300 Avg pace. All of that is a lot to assume from this bunch who's been losing quite a bit lately.
They're not a World Series Team yes....they still need a couple of pieces.
If I were Brian Cashman, I'd be trying to get all of the bloated contracts off my books NOW. That means anyone blocking a roster position, anyone earning way too much money for their output (looking at you Jacoby) and anyone having a better year than what they have in the past that would maximize value at the deadline.
I'd hate to see Gardy leave but right now he's movable. He's got 15 HR's, and plays a Gold Glove level LF. If he could get his AVG above .280 and steal more than 20 bags in a season he'd be a perennial All Star, and in the top 10 for MVP. But for some reason, he can't seem to hit lately, is hesitant on the base paths and hits too many weak ground balls in the infield. If someone would be willing to take on his very reasonable contract and provide some pitching prospects, I think it's time to get Aaron Hicks into an every day role and see what they've got there.
Ellsbury...where do I start? Horrendous contract, injured too often, not performing well enough to justify keeping him around, blocking Clint Frazier and/or Aaron Hicks or other developing young talent. If anyone would take him and let the Yankees pay most of his salary I'd welcome it. Even a player to be named later or cash considerations would be fine. I like his Clubhouse attributes but he's not the every day Yankee's CF any more.
Headley...see above. Trade for soda machine re-stock in the Yankees Clubhouse a la Moneyball
Holiday? I could see him being traded but he's such a positive presence in the Clubhouse, does hit some HR's and is well liked all around. But I don't see him having much use beyond this year, so you may as well treat him as another Carlos Beltran and see what you can get for him.
Didi / Starlin??? If Gleyber Torres was healthy, I'd say move Starlin and let the chips fall where they may, as of right now there just aren't any MLB ready farm hands pushing a move of either. Didi is too valuable right now and cost effective to entertain a trade. My idea? Move Starlin to 3B, trade Headley and go find a 2B you can use this year and next and then go get Manny Machado in the winter of 2018. By that time Mr. Torres should be ready to rock and roll anywhere we put him.
1B? Lord have mercy. Anyone you put here turns into a Single A level hitting prospect. Bird could be fine next year, he could be done forever. Would you trade away any of the young talent to get Lucas Duda? Hell no! Any other MLB studs hitting 20 HR's this year? Maybe. But if you're not going all in for a run at the WS Ring, why surrender now?
I think it's time to pat everyone on the back and say "you did a helluva job boys" but next year is our year. Stockpile the young talent, go acquire more and try to dump as much dead weight as you can in the run up to the 2018 winter bonanza that is Free Agency.