The New York Yankees didn’t even go with their Plan A at the trade deadline … if we’re to believe one of the most trusted insiders in the sport.
That’s right. General manager Brian Cashman — as the rumors supported over the last few months — was eyeing a trade for Colorado Rockies star shortstop Trevor Story. However, the Rockies’ demands were deemed excessive given the fact Story is a free agent after this season and has been wildly underperforming in 2021.
But did the Rockies’ stern demands actually end up benefitting the Bombers? Would it have been tenable to acquire Story and shift around the entire infield? Maybe … but it’s hard to say.
Throw in the fact Story is hitting .241 with a .743 OPS while striking out 91 times in as many games and it’s safe to say acquiring another struggling right-handed bat may have fully done the Yankees in.
So what did this end up doing?
Well, it led the Yankees right to Anthony Rizzo, who has been a sort of savior ever since making his debut on Friday.
Here’s the latest from MLB insider Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required):
"“The Yankees’ original plan was to trade for Rockies shortstop Trevor Story, then move Gleyber Torres to second and DJ LeMahieu to first. But no team was willing to meet the Rockies’ price for Story, and first baseman Anthony Rizzo presented, in the words of one Yankees official, “a different way to skin the cat.“The addition of Rizzo not only helps balance the Yankees’ lineup with another left-handed hitter, but also upgrades their infield defense. He is the major-league leader in Outs Above Average at first base.”"
The addition of Gallo was the Yankees’ first move, but that only helped with so much. Another productive lefty bad was needed. Aaron Boone had to stop ping-ponging DJ LeMahieu all over the infield. Luke Voit’s injury troubles had to be addressed. And that’s exactly what happened with the acquisition of Rizzo.
This probably should’ve been Plan A all along, but what do we know? We’re just fans suggesting trades that make sense, and we actually pitched one for Rizzo in the offseason in a salary-matching deal with the Chicago Cubs.
Nonetheless, this Yankees team lacks balance, fundamentals, defense and energy. Rizzo brings all of that to the table and more. He won’t save the Yankees, but his influence could begin to turn the tides.
And if the Yankees really want to, they can address the shortstop position in the offseason when they’ll have many more star-studded options to choose from. Perhaps even Story, available for money alone.