Last offseason when the New York Yankees traded Adam Ottavino to the Boston Red Sox, most fans — on both sides! — were floored. A trade between the game’s most hated rivals and it involved an impact player?! Sure, Ottavino was on the decline, but he’s still an asset.
Now all we need is the Yankees and Mets to make a deal in order to break any and all barriers we previously thought existed on the trade market …
But seriously, did the Ottavino trade open up the door for more inter-division trades between the Yankees and their rivals? If you think about it, the Yankees aren’t who they used to be. They’re no longer a behemoth teams are afraid to make even better (although we’d still argue there’s a Yankee Tax on the trade market because they still technically hold onto a shred of that reputation of yesteryear).
If opposing GMs see an opportunity to stick a player they don’t want on the Yanks and get something of value in return, why wouldn’t they do it? In case you haven’t noticed, a good amount of the trades general manager Brian Cashman has made haven’t worked.
If you look at the history, the O’s, Rays and Blue Jays aren’t necessarily fearful of trading with the Yankees either. Baltimore sent Zack Britton to New York; Tampa and New York just made a deal for Mike Ford last year and the two were involved in a three-way trade with the Diamondbacks (Brandon Drury deal, disgusting) back in 2018; and Toronto sent JA Happ to the Bronx back in 2018, too.
OK! So what deals can the Yankees potentially explore with their division rivals when the lockout ends?
These 4 trades between the Yankees and their AL East rivals aren’t out of the question.
4. Yankees-Orioles Trade: Jorge Mateo
You might remember Jorge Mateo! In fact, you should! The former Yankees top prospect was sent to the Oakland Athletics years ago in the (failed) Sonny Gray trade and has bounced around the league ever since, making stops in Oakland, San Diego and Baltimore.
He’s currently with the Orioles, but outside of filling innings on a barren MLB roster, what’s his actual future role in Baltimore, especially if this team has no plans to compete in the next few years?
In New York, Mateo could be a super utility player thanks to his experience at second base, shortstop, third base, and all three outfield spots. And he’s got an overall .988 fielding percentage across 111 games in various roles.
Depending on how the Yankees address their infield and outfield, acquiring Mateo as a bench piece to fill in all over the diamond and provide speed everywhere seems like a prudent move. Mateo was an above-average hitting in 32 games with the O’s last year (102 OPS+!) after coming over from the Pads and batted .280 in that short stint.
If the Yankees shift Gio Urshela to shortstop and put DJ LeMahieu at third base, they’re going to need some depth there after trading Tyler Wade. Mateo could be a worthwhile fit.