The New York Yankees went into stasis mode several weeks before the 2022 MLB Trade Deadline, leaving fans to put far too much emphasis on Aug. 2 as a line of demarcation. Sure, things were beginning to look a little less than ideal, but that would all change after Brian Cashman infused the roster with added talent. You’d see. You’d all see. The team was far too good for him to neglect the way he had in 2020, after all.
Pessimistic reports of inaction turned out to be pessimistic in the wrong direction, as Cashman built on his season-saving 2021 deadline (Rizzo and Gallo, ayyy) by adding more players than any anxious fan expected. The issue? He didn’t reel in the big fish, losing out on Juan Soto in favor of Andrew Benintendi and picking Luis Castillo over Frankie Montas based on their respective trade packages.
Oh, and he also lost pitching, dealing Jordan Montgomery for Harrison Bader. Not necessarily relevant to the discussion of this article, but noteworthy nonetheless.
In the immediate wake of this year’s deadline, it was fair to ask whether Cashman had gone far enough, adding the right amount of talent to paper over any chemistry disruption. After all, he hadn’t “held back” in the prospect-surrendering department; four of the Yankees’ upper-level top pitching prospects now resided in Chicago and Oakland. He didn’t seem to have any interest in preserving what the Bombers had built in the first half; he knew there were holes.
That said, Cashman didn’t make the splash that San Diego’s AJ Preller ended up authoring, completely revamping his lineup with a superstar in Soto, as well as All-Star-type bats in Brandon Drury and Josh Bell.
As it turns out, there may not have been much Cashman could’ve done to level up this offense, especially in the new environment of the 2022 season, where half the league’s teams considered themselves buyers as the deadline approached. Benintendi was among the best performers who changed hands midseason (before he was hurt), while most of San Diego’s gambles haven’t worked out.
Yes, even Soto, technically.
Would you rather have Yankees’ 2022 MLB Trade Deadline or Padres’ moves?
A few weeks after the deadline wrapped, it seemed like the Yankees should be jealous of the Mets’ ability to target all the right randos. Now? The Mets should still be applauded for finding Tyler Naquin and Daniel Vogelbach, but Darin Ruf is legitimately the worst of the worst, in terms of players who changed teams midstream.
Perhaps most importantly, though, there was no real winning here. Soto has been solid, if unspectacular, putting up similar numbers to Benintendi with a much larger weight of expectations placed upon his shoulders. Drury and Bell, on the other hand, have been well below-average; if the Yankees had fallen for the ex-Diamondback Drury for the second time in five years, fans would’ve been in a far worse place prior to the stretch run.
Even David Peralta hasn’t made a much bigger difference for the Rays — although he’s got availability in his corner, while Benintendi has to hope his contributions against contenders like the Blue Jays and Mets continue to hold up as he rehabs his wrist.
As it turns out, 2022’s trade deadline was full of Bs and bloop singles, and the Yankees shouldn’t be faulted for not stealing the Padres’ blueprint. Soto will likely rebound in 2023 and beyond (of course he will), but the Pads’ other pieces wouldn’t have helped the Yanks much this season at all. Ditto for the remainder of the players who changed hands.