At this point, the New York Yankees would need to move heaven and earth ahead of the MLB trade deadline in order to come back to life. At least that’s what it feels like.
The Bombers still have a chance to turn it around, but everyone’s been saying that since mid-April when they were 6-11. More of the same. They’re hovering around .500 and can’t beat the teams in their division. The writing is on the wall. Changes have to be made.
But the Yankees likely aren’t reeling in a big fish at all. And they certainly won’t be doing it well before July 31. Why not try their luck and go after a few guys who could help turn things around before then?
If it works out, great. Then maybe you go for the jugular and exceed the luxury tax threshold if you feel the early acquisitions have you on the right path. If not? Limited damage. Back to the drawing board in the offseason or perhaps even as extreme a pivot as selling off some other guys at the deadline.
The Yankees need a lot of things, let’s be honest. But atop the list is a left-handed bat (preferably one of the contact variety) and/or center fielder (which would preferably be a lefty bat!). A first baseman could help, too.
Who can help fill those needs on a very extensive part-time basis? We think we have an idea. And they’re all right in Brian Cashman’s wheelhouse in terms of price, both contract-wise and trade package-wise.
The Yankees could acquire these three trade candidates before July 1.
3. Tyler Naquin
The Cincinnati Reds have arguably the best outfield in MLB, at least from an offensive standpoint. Tyler Naquin is the worst of the bunch and he’s slashing .257/.333/.509 with 20 runs scored, 11 home runs and 38 RBI in 51 games.
Think the Yankees could use that production from the left side of the plate in center field, where Naquin’s been a solid defender over the last three seasons? “Solid” for the Yankees might as well be “elite.” Aside from Aaron Judge, the Yankees are trotting out Clint Frazier (a bad defender) as well as Miguel Andújar and Tyler Wade (both of whom are primarily infielders) into the outfield on a nightly basis. Brett Gardner is no longer serviceable.
Naquin shouldn’t cost all that much either. He’s had an up-and-down career, having played in just 376 games since debuting in 2016 due to injuries and poor production. The 30-year-old doesn’t exactly move the needle, but he would fill a significant need for the Yankees, allowing them to trim the fat off their roster (Nestor Cortes, Brooks Kriske, Chris Gittens/Mike Ford) assuming those guys continue to underperform or not fill much-needed voids.
If needed, Naquin can play all three outfield spots, so the Yankees can figure out some sort of rotation if they like using Wade and Judge there as well. That’ll help with flexibility.