Whether you believe the New York Yankees should make significant trades at the deadline next week or not, they probably will.
Let’s just get that out of the way up top. Movement will happen. Motives will be questioned. Luis Medina might or might not be headed out of town.
Most of the players the Yankees have been attached to are big-name non-rentals, which was especially the case a few weeks ago when they were barely over .500, seemingly ready to retool for 2022.
It’s hard to be a full-on believer in this year’s team, which has been middling for far longer than it’s been relevant, but still…they’re so close to the Wild Card race that it’s hard to sell a tear-down or complete inaction. Something has to be done, and if such a move could be relevant for next season, too, all the better.
For seemingly years now, we’ve been advocates for a lefty-swinging outfielder (or utility type) and a starting pitcher.
Lately, though? The bullpen’s become a bigger issue than ever before. Greg Allen and Estevan Florial aren’t eternal solutions in the outfield, but at least they approximate how baseball should be played (and should still be supplemented. The rotation? Yes, it’s barren, but Corey Kluber, Nestor Cortes Jr. and Luis Severino are at least a semblance of help.
The bullpen? Beyond Jonathan Loaisiga, who’s coming to save that? We’d rather see Zack Britton traded than see his innings built up.
Though there’s no lefty bat involved, we still think we’ve come up with one trade the Yankees should prioritize, if the rumors are to be believed.
1 Trade Yankees Should Make: Starling Marte/Richard Bleier
Yes, we’re interested in Starling Marte. As much as we love Allen and Florial, Marte is like if Allen and Florial were established big-league All-Stars. Though he’s only under contract for the remainder of this season, he would give the Yankees a legitimate center fielder and fearsome threat with the bat — the type of guy opponents must game plan for who can slot in between Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.
Marte hits bombs. He puts bat on ball. He runs. He defends. Count us in now, work on the extension later.
The Giants, Astros, Phillies, and the rest of the baseball world all seem to be able to agree on their interest in Marte. The Yankees, if they’re interested, will have to act quickly. We thought we’d sweeten the pot, though. Why not add Richard Bleier, too, a steady-as-hell lefty reliever who’s under contract through 2022?
The 34-year-old lefty carries an 0.884 WHIP this season and a 2.89 ERA, following a 2.16 mark last year. In 2018 and 2017, he held ERAs below 2.00…and yeah, sure, it ballooned over 5.00 in 2019 (5.37), but the FIP was still 4.19.
Bleier’s the type of presence the middle of New York’s bullpen can really use (which Darren O’Day couldn’t provide, and Marte is obviously very helpful. As for something the Yankees shouldn’t do?
1 Trade Yankees Should Avoid: Trevor Story
We understand that the Yankees are going to be connected to Trevor Story this offseason, as well as Carlos Correa and Corey Seager…and Javier Baez…and likely some more shortstops we haven’t considered yet.
But why would they surrender assets for Story, who’s struggling mightily, midway through the season? Unless the assets are completely negligible?
That could be the case, but if the cost of Story’s services stings, the Yankees should just wait it out and select their favorite shortstop from the free agent crop.
This season, Story’s posted a 91 OPS+, a .243 average, and just 11 homers…and that’s what he’s produced spending half his games in Colorado! Whether it’s nagging injury, pressure, or a combination of both, Story hasn’t looked himself for most of this season — hey, just like Gleyber Torres!
If the Yankees reverse course and trade for another star who’s looked disappointing in 2021, then we’re not sure what the goal is here, other than to struggle as much as possible while replete with big names.