The New York Yankees were dealt a late-May gauntlet of AL East competition following their three-game set with the White Sox in the Bronx.
The Blue Jays came to town. The Rays and Red Sox (first time all year!) are booked for early June. Rev your engines and start hating your enemies! There’s no break in the action here!
Oh, but in between, the schedule-makers have sent the Yanks to Detroit for three weekend games before resuming the divisional rivalries? Thanks? No notes? Normal stuff.
Yes, for no apparent reason, the Bombers have been sent to the midwest to take on the Motor City Kitties this weekend, and that team is actually in a better place than they were the last time we met, having won nine of 11 games recently.
While playing the Tigers for the second series in a month (seriously, why?), what better time to window shop?
Last time Detroit and the Yanks locked horns (once again, this was somehow very recent!), the Bombers had an entirely different set of needs. We didn’t know if they’d have enough rotation depth to survive the season and advocated they keep an eye on Jose Ureña as a trade target, who shut them down in the final game of that set.
Might they still need a rotation upgrade, even with Luis Severino back and the starting five currently on a hot stretch? Sure. You can never have enough pitching. The need isn’t quite so dire anymore, though, and if they do get pitching, it’ll probably be a large upgrade, not a lateral move like Ureña.
No, at the moment, the screaming, blaring needs for the Yankees are outfield depth, infield depth, and versatile lefty bats. Luckily, the Tigers have a few of these pieces that could be of interest.
Also, fun side note: the Yankees actually avoid Tigers ace/trade target Matthew Boyd in this series, as he pitched Thursday’s finale against the Indians. Isn’t that fun? That hasn’t happened since the turn of the century. With that in mind, he’s been excluded from this list. You can keep an eye on him from the bench if you’d like. Watch him chew gum. 80-grade chewer.
Here’s who you should tune your attention to during the on-field action.
These 3 Yankees trade targets could come from the Detroit Tigers.
3. Robbie Grossman
You don’t have to stretch and squint your eyes to figure out why Robbie Grossman would be an excellent trade target for the Yankees. The patient left/right/centerfielder who switch-hits basically screams relevance; he’s a younger Brett Gardner, at least offensively, and he’s already amassed 1.3 WAR this year.
Grossman’s locked down on a two-year, $10 million contract (again, helpful), and the Bombers could certainly use outfield depth next year, too, when the real Gardner might not be there to save them. Remember, the cupboard is bare. Gardner’s passable recent play has masked the fact that Estevan Florial is the only outfielder on the 40-man who isn’t currently playing for the Yankees several times a week, and there’s a third baseman/DH starting in left field most days.
A pro-rated $5 million salary for 2021 is also a perfect price tag for the money-grubbing Yanks, as long as they trade for Grossman around the All-Star break. Sporting a 129 OPS+ at the moment (his second consecutive year at that mark), the patient power threat does a lot more than just warm the throne while the rest of the outfield depth disappears. This isn’t Ryan LaMarre being promoted on a whim; this is someone who’s grown into a real winning player, one of the best scrap-heap-adjacent signings of the offseason by any middling team.
With line-drive skills gap to gap, patience and experience on a series of contenders (2015 Astros to Twins to A’s), Grossman will be the ideal addition for someone at this year’s deadline. And who needs outfielders more than we do?