Yankees could finish perfect MLB trade deadline with surprise Matt Blake reunion


Odds are, the New York Yankees are setting out on their 2022 MLB trade deadline journey to pick up one player from three separate buckets: outfielder, reliever, starting pitcher. So far, Brian Cashman has gone all chalk in his quest to fulfill this prophecy. That seems a little odd, doesn’t it?

First, Cashman struck for Andrew Benintendi, a long-rumored contact bat for the outfield whose vaccination status didn’t deter the Bombers as his price dropped. On Monday, he added a controllable bullpen arm in Scott Effross of the Cubs, who wasn’t a popularly-discussed target, but who the deep-divers learned about a while back and hoped to acquire.

As for starting pitching, New York’s rotation ERA sank to the 20th-best mark in the league during their .500 month of July. It’s no secret the team needs arms, with Jameson Taillon and Jordan Montgomery regressing, as well as Luis Severino floating on the Injured List. One starter will be a phenomenal help, especially if it’s the “Playoff No. 2” Jack Curry has been hinting at since last week.

Two? That could really take the pressure off the Bombers’ current arms down the stretch, especially as Nestor Cortes approaches the outer reaches of his theoretical innings limit and Severino attempts to work his way back from another muscular injury in the shoulder area. Frankie Montas is now a Yankee, but if analysts have learned anything from the surprise acquisition of Effross, it’s that Cashman is attempting to add additional control whenever possible.

Rumors emerged last week that the Cleveland Guardians were shopping starter Zach Plesac, while also dangling ace Shane Bieber in exchange for an “exorbitant” package. We sure about that? There’s been next to no smoke about the Yankees and Bieber, but there are plenty of breadcrumbs indicating he could be a stealth addition, and the Guardians might be bluffing on his potential cost.

Yankees Rumors: Shane Bieber as final controllable starter trade?

You want to talk about the exact opposite of leverage? Everyone knows the Yankees need a clear No. 2 at this year’s deadline, forcing Anthony Volpe into some unsavory Luis Castillo talks. But conversely, everyone knows the Guardians print pitching, even in the post-Blake era.

They also know that Bieber’s velocity has been trending downward this season, featuring his first prolonged slump since his 2020 breakout. His fastball isn’t breaking any planes anymore (10th percentile in velocity) and bizarrely, his curveball has stopped spinning (13th percentile vs. 61st for the fastball). That’s led to an increase in hard contact (17th percentile in average exit velocity), leaving a significant gap between his actual results (118 Ks in 118.2 innings, 3.41 ERA) and his expected ones.

This screams, “Stay away!” … if Bieber’s the Yankees’ primary target. Again, are we sure the Guardians are demanding the highest possible price to move him? Everyone else sees what they see.


If the Yankees finish this deadline with a single starting pitcher, it’ll be a great start, but it might not be enough. If they can raise the potential ceiling on their second addition from Jose Quintana to Shane Bieber, that would be a spectacular deadline.

Bieber has 2.5 years of control remaining. If acquired, Matt Blake would only have two months to fix him for postseason play. No pressure.

As a centerpiece, Bieber isn’t happening. But as a wild card, it would embody Cashman’s recent dedication to stealth and team control.

Or they could just add Plesac’s 79 Ks in 104 innings if they want to shoot for the moon and land disappointingly among the stars.