Under the Brian Cashman regime, the Yankees have enjoyed a strong relationship with the trade deadline. They’ve swung for big names, invoked “Ninja Cash” on seemingly out-of-nowhere moves, and have generally added reinforcements at the bare minimum.
However, for the second straight MLB trade deadline and just the fourth time since 1998, the New York Yankees stood pat at the trade deadline. This uncharacteristic lack of activity led to one of the more boring deadline days for Yankees fans, but it was not entirely unexpected.
The Yankees have endured more injuries than what seemed imaginable, but the holes created from those injuries are mostly temporary in nature. DJ LeMahieu is already back, Gio Urshela looks to have dodged a bullet, Zack Britton and Gleyber Torres are making positive progress (imagine that!) and there’s hope for Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and James Paxton to come back sometime in September. Now, other injuries will inevitably happen, but the ones that have hamstrung the Yankees in the short term don’t seem serious enough to justify paying a lucrative price for a fill-in.
The Yankees entered this trade deadline with no leverage. Everyone knew that the Yankees could ideally use another starting pitcher, another reliever and maybe an infielder. This likely drove prices up. It has been a seller’s market at the trade deadline for several years now, and that is not something with which Cashman is comfortable. He always wants to improve his team, but cannot justify overpaying for it.
The Yankees did have pieces to part with in a potential trade, such as Clint Frazier, Deivi Garcia, Miguel Andújar and other minor leaguers, but these players are needed for roles on the major-league team; subtracting them now would leave the Yankees shorthanded. The trade deadline came at a bad time for the Bombers, really. The pieces that were formerly potential excess trade bait are now vital to the team’s depth in the wake of injuries.
Most importantly though, the Yankees didn’t really miss out on much. Aside from Mike Clevinger, what other big names did the Yankees “miss out” on? Sure, serviceable MLB arms like Mike Minor, Taijuan Walker and Robbie Ray were moved, but when the best remaining possibility on deadline day is a second date with Lance Lynn, I understand why the Yankees ultimately stayed pat.
The fact is, none of these moves were likely to move the needle enough for the Yankees to justify the steep price teams were rumored to be asking for. SNY’s Andy Martino has reported that teams seemed to be asking the Yankees for a greater price than other teams, a frustrating trend but one the Yankees are not unfamiliar with.
Still, it’s strange to see the Yankees not even pick up a bench bat or reliever at the deadline. Unless these prices were also exorbitant, I would have liked to see the Yankees pick up more depth. However, it’s not a deal-breaker that they didn't add anyone. The current version of the 2020 Yankees is the weakest it’ll ever be due to a massive amount of injuries, but this is, in all likelihood, not the group that will be repping the pinstripes in October. While the last week has mostly been brutal, the calvary is coming.
It was unbecoming of the Yankees to not be big players at the trade deadline, but 2020 is a strange season. The risk that it may not even be completed still persists. For the Yankees to have given up some of their most prized assets at this trade deadline, they would have had to be getting back a sure thing.
The fact is, there just weren’t any “sure things” available this year within their price range.