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The 2023 trade deadline is a no-win situation for the Yankees

The Yankees find themselves in a serious conundrum as the trade deadline approaches.

MLB: General Manager’s Meetings Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees finished the 2022 season with an offense that struggled to produce down the stretch and into the playoffs. The front office decided this past offseason that upgrades were not needed offensively, and that running back the offense (with an upgraded starting rotation in tow) was the answer. A plea to fans in May by Brian Cashman stating, “Don’t count us out”, a “confused” Hal Steinbrenner in June as to why Yankees fans were upset with the current season, culminating with Aaron Boone postgame after a 5-1 loss Tuesday saying “we can correct it, we got the players to do it”. As the trade deadline approaches the Yankees’ empty words throughout the season have backed them into a no-win situation.

Does the front office believe in this team? It’s an interesting question. Judging by what they tell the media, they certainly do, but anyone who has ever turned on a baseball game knows this offense is putrid. I don’t think this team is good enough to justify selling the farm in an attempt to make a blockbuster move for one of the ultra-big names. And while the Yankees are always in the mix for the top trade deadline pieces, I’m not sure if someone the caliber of Ohtani or Soto even takes this team to where they want to be. Making a move like this would certainly fit the stale Yankees mantra of “championship or bust” but the reality is that this team is more bust than championship at the current moment.

Then, there is the possibility that the Yankees stand pat with their current roster, which seems more logical but just as unrealistic. The front office and manager cant force-feed the fans jargon about this team being good enough to make a run and then leave this roster to slowly slip deeper into the depths of the Wild Card race. Fans would revolt (on Twitter and local sports talk radio). If this was the team’s direction, they would certainly fall back on players returning from injuries as their “acquisitions”, but we all know that is a fallacy. While Judge did carry this team for much of the second half last season, expecting him to come back and immediately turn this entire lineup around is a lot to ask. There is also the idea of the Yankees being sellers at the deadline, which Madison took a deep dive into earlier this week, finding that they just wouldn’t have all that much to sell even if they tried.

So, if the Yankees make a big trade, they deplete their assets for a team that might just be no good, and if they don’t make any significant moves, it would be seen as a slight of a team that the manager, GM, and owner have consistently defended. Enter the murky middle of the 2023 trade deadline for the Yankees. There will be moves, likely to boost left field and the bullpen, but will they have a significant impact? This season has been and will continue to be about the players currently on the roster. If they improve, so will the framework of this season, and if they don’t, a Cody Bellinger or Jordan Hicks won’t solve all their problems.

I want this team to make moves to improve this roster, to inject life into what is currently a seemingly lifeless ballclub. The goal isn’t to try and please the fans, it is to win ballgames, but I’m unsure if this deadline is going to help do much of either.