Will the 2021 New York Yankees be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline?
Though some of you seem to perversely want to see a massive sell-off, let me assure you those are no fun. Those signal the start of multi-year rebuilds, and also indicate a catastrophic failure has taken place. Count me out on waving around a “Catastrophic Failure 2021” pennant.
In terms of expectations for this current roster, though, I’m quite measured. There’s a chance they go on a Nationals-esque run from the middle of the pack and we’re having a very different conversation in mid-July, sure, but right after the All-Star break, we’re blessed (?) with eight games in a 10-game stretch against the Boston Red Sox.
If the Yankees are going to push for some big-name trade candidates, you’ll know about 10 days before the deadline.
On Friday, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com posted a logical assessment of the team’s trade deadline plans in his latest mailbag, and connected the team specifically to two targets.
Yankees Rumors: All-Star hitter and pitcher coming at MLB Trade Deadline?
As Feinsand sees it, the Yankees will remain buyers and not sellers, pending a further July collapse (and would that really shock anyone?). In terms of who they’re targeting, though, he posits one very familiar name and one on the other side of the ball who we thought would be an overpay, but perhaps carries a lower price tag now.
"“Forget Scherzer, though; the Nationals are above .500 and threatening to move past the first-place Mets any day now. Story seems like a more realistic option, as the Rockies aren’t going anywhere, and Story has no plans to re-sign in Colorado. As long as Luke Voit is healthy, acquiring Story would necessitate the benching of Gleyber Torres, however, and despite his subpar season, I’m not sure the Yankees are ready to do that.“Acquiring a center fielder (Starling Marte?) and a starting pitcher (José Berríos?) would seem to be the type of moves we’re more likely to see from the Yankees in the coming weeks.”"
Marte doesn’t need to be dissected much further — other than his right-handedness, there are no negatives to adding an All-Star center fielder where there were only spare parts before. He would transform the lineup dramatically if the Bombers can entice him out of Miami.
As for Berrios, he’s likely not a true No. 1, but wouldn’t have to be in the Bronx. Remarkably consistent, he’s posted ERAs in the high-3.00s for the past five full years, peaking at 4.00 on the dot in the shortened 2020. This season, it’s been more of the same: 3.52 ERA, equivalent 3.59 FIP, 96 whiffs in 94.2 innings, and a 117 ERA+ (a number that’s never been below 107 in any campaign after his rookie year).
Very good pitcher with the potential for occasional brilliance (remember when he locked horns with Corbin Burnes earlier this year?). If the Twins come down on his price whatsoever, there’s no reason the Yankees shouldn’t try it.
Following Anthony Volpe’s recent leap forward, the Yankees officially have five of Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects, in addition to several pitching prospects over-performing their pedigree at the high levels of the minors.
Without a second truly elite option behind Jasson Dominguez, though, it might be time for Brian Cashman to start cashing in some chips, even in a season we somewhat believe to be lost.