Grading Yankees’ transformative 2022 MLB trade deadline moves

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Every New York Yankees fan’s fear was that the 2022 MLB trade deadline would pass with a whimper, as teams like the Padres, Dodgers and Mets reloaded for the stretch run. In reality, though, you had to know the Bombers wouldn’t intentionally close a championship window.

After all, 2021’s deadline featured a pair of Brian Cashman splashes in Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo. That team wasn’t a finished product. It was a borderline playoff contender that needed a midseason overhaul to get over the hump — and barely made it, at that. This year’s roster was different. The 2022 Yankees were an obvious contender beginning to show wear-and-tear after starting at a record-setting pace. And Cashman did not rest on his laurels, even after being outbid for his main pitching target.

Though Luis Castillo will not be pitching in the Bronx — except on Wednesday, f@&* — the Yankees wound down the deadline by acquiring Frankie Montas, relievers Lou Trivino and Scott Effross, and Royals outfielder Andrew Benintendi, as well as dealing Joey Gallo (but you knew that weeks ago) and Jordan Montgomery (which has left a simmering pile of embers, even hours later).

There’s no Juan Soto in that pile, but plenty of additions to the framework, and the Yankees are a more complete team now than they were post-Subway Series.

In order to add core pieces, New York surrendered several upper-level pitching prospects from a system that practically breeds them at this point. Hayden Wesneski, Ken Waldichuk, Luis Medina and JP Sears are gone, soon to be replaced by Will Warren, Matt Sauer, and a number of other fast-risers. You have to give to get, and the Yankees didn’t escape unscathed. They did, however, manage to hang onto Anthony Volpe, Jasson Dominguez, Austin Wells, Trey Sweeney, and — most shockingly — Oswald Peraza.

Will all those players factor into the Yankees’ on-field future, or some tremendous package to be formed later? This extremely active and somehow still non-seismic trade deadline deserves proper grading.

Grading New York Yankees’ 2022 MLB Trade Deadline haul

NEW YORK, NY – JULY 28: Andrew Benintendi #18 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images) /

Grading Yankees’ Andrew Benintendi Trade: A-

New York’s move for Benintendi gets docked a half-letter grade because the ex-Sox is a relatively powerless alternative to Ian Happ, who was also available, and Juan Soto, who was a pipe dream wrapped in a candy-coated rainbow.

That said, the Yankees obtained an All-Star who knows and loves the ballpark, and who can be counted on to pick up runners on base, whether through singles, doubles, well-placed grounders, or sacrifice flies. Benintendi is rented reliability.

He cost only Beck Way, an up-and-coming pitching prospect, T.J. Sikkema, a nasty lefty who’s barely pitched since being drafted and must be protected from this fall’s Rule 5, and Chandler Champlain, a Low-A relief option. Those three pitchers are various levels of intriguing, but you’d sacrifice any and all of them to add more bat-on-ball skills to a Yankees lineup that finished July atop all of baseball in terms of production, but still appeared to need a spark.

For a Yankees team that spent July mostly stuck in the mud and near-.500, you could do far worse than a battle-tested playoff “veteran” who’s still just 28 years old and plays exceptional defense. Benintendi hasn’t had his Signature Yankee Moment yet, but has been ol’ reliable in the interim. No complaints here.