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Yankees Mailbag: Trade deadline season arrives

The calendar has hit July, and that means it is time for the mailbag to address trade talk properly.

Chicago Cubs v. St. Louis Cardinals Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Good afternoon everyone, it’s time to dive back into the mailbag and answer some of your questions. Remember to send in your questions for our weekly call by e-mail to pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

jmack175 asks: How much in salary can the Yankees take on at the trade deadline without going into that third tier, assuming Cashman will be in the market for a LH outfielder (which is a big assumption at this point)? If so, what LH outfielders will possibly be on sale?

There’s very little wiggle room for the Yankees to play with here. As it stands the Yanks are on the hook for $279 million, well above the $233 million first level of the luxury tax and well into the second tier of the competitive balance tax, though not as close to the $293 mark that enters the third tier as they were projected to be entering the year. They will be moving their draft pick back 10 places for going $40 million over, and at this point there’s little to no chance of them shedding salary rather than adding it, but there’s a chance that they can maintain the payroll they currently have while making additions.

The only way to do so, of course, is by getting a trade partner to throw in cash considerations in a deal, effectively handing a player over to New York while also footing the bill for them even though they don’t play for them anymore. This is how the Yankees made it feasible to add Joey Gallo two years ago — they got Texas to agree to pay down his salary in exchange for better prospects. That’s the ringer, and it remains to be seen just how expensive the market will get. If the Yankees follow my colleague John’s advice and look for players who could help beyond this season, that prospect cost will rise exponentially on top of asking to pay their salary. If they’re hunting on the rental market, however, this plan becomes more feasible.

Outside of Jasson Domínguez — who has remained untouchable through enough trade deadlines that I am confident at this point he will be entrusted with a role in the team’s future — everyone else could be available down on the farm, including Oswald Peraza. Peraza’s had an awkward year, struggling in a brief stay with the big league team but mashing down in Triple-A waiting for a spot to open back up. The only way that this makes sense considering the Yankees’ offensive woes is if they’re holding his value high to see how the market develops, and if they don’t like what he can fetch then Peraza becomes an option for the second half. Outside of him, they’ve also had strong development from Clayton Beeter, Spencer Jones, Trey Sweeney, and others who could fill up a trade package. ‘Tis the season, folks.

EasyRider28 asks: So how does PSA explain Germán’s perfect game after giving up so many runs in his previous two outings? Did he make any noticeable (physical) adjustments?

It’s hard to really “explain” the circumstances that lead to a perfect game. It can happen on a whim, and to aces and random journeymen alike. The Philip Humbers of the world are largely forgotten outside of their one shining moment, and his happened to enter him into one of the most exclusive clubs in baseball history, as Germán did too. I don’t think Germán had much in terms of adaptation in his gameplan that night — rather, the execution just fell into place. Peter made mention of it in his recap on the night that Germán had unbelievable control over his curveball in that outing, and when you have that kind of a weapon going for you against one of baseball’s worst offensive units you’re in for a good night. The stars simply aligned to turn a good night into a historic one.

David C. asks: With expanded playoffs, it seems like there are fewer traditional “sellers” (out of the playoff picture with a handful of good players on expiring contracts) on the trade market these days. Are there any good possibilities for a contender-to-contender trade the Yankees could make to boost the lineup this July?

It’s true that there are more teams in the hunt right now than in recent memory, and many of them stand a legitimate chance of being in this race all the way to the finish line. That being said, some are likely to favor the odds in rebuilding or retooling for a year versus chasing a narrow shot at a deep playoff run, even if recent World Series teams have done so. I fully expect some of the pack to bow out closer to the deadline, especially when the seller’s market makes some GMs act recklessly with their prospects.

That being said, there’s certainly been talk of contenders being willing to swap strength for strength this year. The Astros have mulled it over and would be willing to deal from their outfield pool, and the Angels may be wise to do so too (in a non-Ohtani move, of course). Teams like the Marlins and Phillies are hanging around despite negative run-differentials and could look to shake things up, and somehow the Central teams have to sort themselves out.

The biggest roadblock to uncorking trades may be the big three disappointments — the Mets, Padres, and Cardinals — and whether or not they choose to cut bait on the year. The Mets sound the likeliest to do so, though they clearly still want to compete until their hands are forced. They’re also willing to eat ungodly amounts of money to better their system, so perhaps an inter-city deadline deal can prove beneficial to both sides. The Mariners are on the cusp of being in this tier as well — they moved Heaven and Earth to get Luis Castillo at last year’s deadline, but they didn’t do a lot to bolster their surprise playoff arrival and are paying the price now. A retooling could be in order there as well, and every option being on the board is better for the Yankees than having to compete over two or three outright sellers.