Remember August waiver trades? Good times. Gotta thank the Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros for ruining all the fun back in 2017, however, when those two executed a wildly lopsided deal for Justin Verlander, who promptly turned into Nolan Ryan and helped the Asterisks capture a World Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers that year.
Awesome! It also ruined the New York Yankees‘ run that year. Verlander beat them in Games 2 and 6 of the ALCS before Charlie Morton finished the job in Game 7. It still hurts.
After that transaction, waiver trades were never to be heard from again after the 2018 season. Major League Baseball gave it one more year and then banned them altogether.
In the end, it’s probably for the better, because contenders shouldn’t be able to get even better after the trade deadline as a result of teams falling further out of contention. The trade deadline is the trade deadline. It should be a deadline for a reason.
Nonetheless, that won’t stop us from dreaming of potential scenarios where the Yankees could get better in 2021 as they continue their encouraging run of form since the July 30 trade deadline.
Let’s hop in a time machine back to 2018 when August waiver trades were still permitted. What deals would you want the Yankees to make before the end of the month?
We wish the Yankees could make these three August waiver trades.
3. Swipe Kyle Hendricks from Cubs
The Cubs conducted an epic fire sale before the trade deadline … but held onto Kyle Hendricks and Willson Contreras? For what reason?
Maybe those guys’ markets weren’t as robust, but you can bet a little August desperation would’ve changed that. The Yankees rotation should theoretically be “set” in about a week or two, but injuries and COVID issues continue to throw everything off the axis. Plus, you can never have too much pitching … especially beyond 2022!
We really thought Hendricks would be in the Yankees’ plans ahead of the July 30 deadline, but Brian Cashman opted for Anthony Rizzo as the Cubs auctioned off their best trade chips. We’d much rather that if he had to choose.
But Hendricks, despite having his worst season as a pro, is a top-notch change-of-pace starter and clear No. 2 option behind Gerrit Cole. He’s signed through 2023 with a vesting option for 2024 (all at a bargain) too, so the Yankees could’ve answered some questions regarding Corey Kluber’s and Luis Severino’s futures with the team beyond this year.
Additionally, some short-term questions could’ve been addressed. Hendricks joining the rotation means there’s more stability and fewer questions. That would almost undoubtedly move Severino to the bullpen, kick Domingo German out of the rotation, and give the team a much less Luis Gil-reliant strategy as we approach September.
The rotation is still looking good, though, so we really can’t complain. As for the bullpen …