For the first time since potentially 2005, the Yankees feel stuck in a malaise that they can’t get out of this late in a campaign.
That season, famously, the team responded to being stuck in the mud by making big changes — at least, comparatively.
Enter Chien-Ming Wang and Robinson Cano from the farm system. Enter pitching longshots like Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon. Against all odds … the Bombers profited, bouncing back from the doldrums of the 2004 postseason to make it to Game 5 of the ALDS.
Memorable and iconic? Not really. But they survived.
This time around, the Yankees remain at 9-13 towards the end of April following a miniature run through the Cleveland Indians. Nothing about this offense’s struggles makes any sense; they’re middle of the pack in striking out, but each and every player’s slash line is in the ground, and don’t even get us started on the group’s slugging percentage.
If they don’t homer, they lose, and they rarely homer.
The pitching? Well, the bullpen’s been elite, but the starters are mostly behaving like members of the bullpen, completing five innings less than half the time.
Have the Yankees been unlucky and uncharacteristically terrible? Sure. But to the extent where it’s likely to click if nothing changes? Not sure about that.
So, what’ll it be? A prospect promotion or two in the middle of May? Adding Luis Severino at the end of his rehab and calling that a trade deadline acquisition? Another trade for a bounce-back candidate who’s sure to be the wrong call — like, say, Matt Harvey?
Or the Yankees could forget the luxury tax, make these three blockbuster trades (which are, let’s be honest, way too big) and hope a partial roster reconstruction does the trick. Reminder: don’t hug your prospects, because they won’t hug you back.
These 3 massive trades could help set the Yankees’ season on the right course.
3. Trevor Story and German Marquez for Gleyber Torres, Deivi Garcia and Gary Sanchez
The Rockies are either the most likely or least likely trading partner for every shopper in the league.
After all, they ditched GM Jeff Bridich “mutually” on Monday afternoon, but do we have any idea what his in-house replacement’s MO is going to be? Will he be encouraged to deal Trevor Story too late after Bridich sat on Nolan Arenado for years before the situation finally boiled over? If so, we would like to get involved in those proceedings, which we assume would be part of a full implosion.
Enter German Marquez, who’s signed through 2023 with a ’24 team option at $8.6 million per year. Spending $11 million on Corey Kluber and nearly $7 million on Gary Sanchez doesn’t seem ideal for luxury tax purposes anymore, does it?
Is this drastic? Of course! These are drastic trades! And if Torres continues to see the most pitches in the strike zone of his entire career while putting up an expected weighted on-base average of just .230 against them, he’ll find himself on the wrong side of potential shake-ups.
Both for his performance and for the Yankees’ self-imposed financial straits, Sanchez will find himself in many dollar-saving deals like this. Seems like a free All-Star? Sure! But he hasn’t performed like one in a long while, and he’s reaching 2004 Nomar status. Keep an eye on the Rockies. We can’t rule something insane like this out if the funk continues to linger in the Bronx.