There was a time when the 2022 New York Yankees were the toast of the town, speeding towards becoming a 1998 replicant with every blowout win and nail-biting victory over their rivals. Even after a .500 July and some less-than-ideal stumbling, the team was still 70-34 entering the date of the Aug. 2 trade deadline.
And right as the horn sounded that day? A Jordan Montgomery trade, Gleyber Torres rumors, the incomplete second half of a Miami Marlins deal, and suddenly, chaos ensued, all brought on by GM Brian Cashman’s half-step-too-cute tinkering. Since hitting the 70-win mark on the first day of August, the Yankees have gone 11-20. It’s hard not to feel like this collapsing corpse is a different team entirely.
Now, how’d that happen? The trade deadline isn’t 100% to blame, but taking trusted voices out of the locker room in shocking fashion didn’t help, as anonymous Yankees confirmed to SNY’s Andy Martino this week.
Martino’s attempted mid-collapse autopsy revealed that the Bombers may have first stumbled when they allowed the Astros to prick their armor and no-hit them at home, but that Cashman’s deadline maneuvers didn’t exactly help matters, even as he brought in the second-most-coveted starter on the market in Frankie Montas, in addition to the now-injured Andrew Benintendi.
Did Brian Cashman blow up the Yankees’ chemistry at the 2022 MLB Trade Deadline?
According to Martino’s anonymous survey:
"It is always foolish to generalize a “feeling in the clubhouse,” when said clubhouse is comprised of more than two dozen individuals — but in some corners of the room, players grumble about what they perceive as too much of a focus by the front office on tuning up for October at the expense of winning in August and September.A few examples: The decision to trade Jordan Montgomery because he wasn’t expected to crack the postseason rotation in exchange for an injured Harrison Bader; the decision to push Severino to the 60-day injured list; the decision to option Ron Marinaccio to Triple-A for roster reasons.A rational explanation exists for each of these moves, especially with the massive divisional lead that the Yanks once enjoyed. But it’s a fact that some players felt a deceleration from above, and objected to it — even if it’s easy to apply a narrative in retrospect, after all the losing that happened after those decisions."
Ah, the Marinaccio thing, too! Right. Doesn’t often get talked about as a potential chemistry-crusher, but it qualifies just the same.
The 2022 Yankees could survive a bit in the playoffs. They could get bounced immediately. They could finish their collapse and miss the dance entirely.
But what they won’t be doing is setting team-wide records and getting written up in the history books, outside of potentially Aaron Judge.
There are a million traditional factors at play here, and an overwhelming injection of the injury bug could end up being what sinks the season. But no matter how the 2022 Yankees’ campaign ends, it won’t be reaching the heights forecast for it in mid-June, before the trade deadline was a twinkle in anyone’s eye.
It’s not just fans who look at Cashman’s maneuvers and wish they exhibited more of the human touch. It’s the players, too. And they’re the ones who actually decide if the Yankees are going to reach their considerable ceiling or not.