The New York Yankees sit perched atop the AL East (and all of baseball) with a 44-16 record, and that’s while absorbing countless flaws that would sink a lesser team.
They’ve gotten next-to-no production from both Aaron Hicks and Joey Gallo, and have only seen a recent spike behind the plate after they learned to lean on Jose Trevino. The projected bullpen has been decimated by injuries, losing Aroldis Chapman in the short-term, Jonathan Loaisiga in the mid-term, and Chad Green in the long-term. The rotation has been impeccable, but beyond the five starters at the MLB level, there’s precious little on the farm (and Luis Gil’s down for the count with Tommy John).
Though any irrational fan is currently worried about a potential chemistry disruption with the current crew, a few shrewd trade deadline acquisitions would greatly help the 2022 Yankees’ pursuit of history.
Over the weekend, MLB insider and New York regular Joel Sherman of the New York Post predicted a trio of acquisitions that wouldn’t “shock” him. Knowing Yankee fans, odds are this city would be thrilled with two of them.
According to Sherman, Brian Cashman could be aggressive and end up with Royals outfielder (and old foe) Andrew Benintendi, as well as former fan favorite Yankees closer David Robertson in a deal with the Chicago Cubs (yes, again).
As for the third target … could the Yankees be the landing spot for depressed asset Victor Robles, formerly an up-and-coming World Champion with the 2019 Washington Nationals? Depends on what they’d be willing to surrender.
Yankees trading for Andrew Benintendi, David Robertson … Victor Robles?
Benintendi is an obvious fit, if Hicks and Gallo’s recent momentum doesn’t continue and they fall back into their co-authored first-half malaise. As a rental, his exceptional season both offensively and defensively (119 OPS+) won’t be nearly as costly, and his fit in the AL East is unquestioned. The Yankees need versatility in the outfield, and it should come from either the ex-Red Sox or Ian Happ, who cameoed nicely over the weekend.
Robertson remains an interesting case. The competition for rental relievers will be high, and an escalating bidding war could prevent a third union with D-Rob in the Bronx. Add in some animosity surrounding his most recent departure and a perceived slight of stadium workers, and it seems quite possible his 0.971 WHIP and 1.59 ERA will end up elsewhere. Like Happ, Robertson’s showcase in the Bronx Friday night was impressive, as he showed off new life on his fastball. If Sherman’s predicting a trade, he knows best — perhaps the issues prior to his 2019 departure were overblown.
Robles, though? The Nats’ defense-first center fielder is still just 25 years old and showed flashes of brilliance in 2019, smacking 17 home runs … while maintaining just a 91 OPS+. He’s regressed offensively since then, and it’s very unlikely he’ll ever be a net-positive offensive player, much like Isiah Kiner-Falefa at short.
If the Yankees pull off such a deal, one would assume it would be the second half of a “help me, help you” trade that involves Hicks or Gallo heading elsewhere. With both their bats heating up, taking on an anchor like 2022 Robles wouldn’t seem prudent.
But, hey, it’s just a prediction for now.