All is well in Yankee Land as we approach the trade deadline. The Yanks have a healthy lead in the AL East, have been one of the best teams in baseball against opponents with winning records, and could possibly have more reinforcements arriving from the IL before the regular season comes to a close. Aside from fans seemingly having an issue with the lineup night after night, there isn’t much to complain about.
While the Yankees have been rolling through a special season, the last thing the front office should do is fall into complacency. The team is great as is, but the postseason could be a different animal, and it would be irresponsible for a team with the resources like the Bombers to not do everything they can to increase their chances of bringing home a 28th championship.
Fortunately, the Yankees, at least on the surface, appear to be prepared to add pieces before the deadline passes. Brian Cashman has expressed the team’s interest in adding a starter, and the team had a scout watching a recent outing by Marcus Stroman. The starting rotation has been a focal point for the Yanks all season in terms of adding reinforcements. Despite having an offense that can out-hit any opposing lineup, it’s still key to tighten up the rotation with another quality starter for a potential postseason series against the Astros or even the Dodgers, who boast some of the best starting pitchers in the game.
Again, the Yanks have a high-powered offense and the best bullpen in the business, but the early innings can pose a problem in the playoffs against top competition. Masahiro Tanaka has a long history of postseason success, but his susceptibility to the long ball could be the difference between a dominant outing and a dud. James Paxton has been underwhelming to say the least, and J.A. Happ would be hard to trust in a postseason game. There isn’t a bonafide ace on the market, but an arm like Stroman could make the rotation much more stable for a postseason series than it is right now.
Cashman has shown the willingness to go out and grab a starter for a team that was clearly a contender, like he did in 2017 to get Sonny Gray, but the outcome of that deal shouldn’t steer the Yanks of making another trade for a pitcher. The issue shouldn’t be whether the Yanks should get one, but which one would be available. Who knows the Giants’ plans with Madison Bumgarner now that they’ve surged into a playoff race, and given the Tigers’ asking price of Matthew Boyd, that might not be an option either. The Diamondbacks could have a pair of options in Robbie Ray and Zack Greinke, whom the Yanks should have eyes on as well. The point is, the Yankees need to do something. They have a team that can win the World Series. The goal from now until July 31 should be to make their chances of winning it all as high as possible.
The Yankees have the assets to make a trade, whether it be money to absorb a contract like Greinke’s or pieces in the minor leagues like Clint Frazier or Deivi Garcia. Sure, fans like to cling on to prospects, but if it makes the Yankees better in the here and now, when they appear to have a great shot at accomplishing their goal, then the objective should be to go for it. Sometimes prospects are there to use to deal for established talent, and this would be the year to improve the team in the immediate future.
The Yanks are an elite team, but their starting staff has been in the middle of the pack in the league in terms of ERA and opponent OPS. The rotation needs reinforcement, and the Yankees need to make a move. Should the current options become unavailable due to suddenly contending teams or a sweeter offer from other competition, then perhaps more bullpen help from the likes of Kirby Yates or other relievers could help eat up innings. The point is, the Yankees should seek help wherever they can get it. The only inexcusable act would be to sit on hands and not do anything at all.