If the New York Yankees' front office believed in the team's chances in 2023, they should've added a real left fielder for the first time in two years, as well as some pitching depth. That might've been foolhardy, but it would've been a direction.
If the New York Yankees' front office didn't believe in the team's chances in 2023, they should've absorbed Isiah Kiner-Falefa's words, reacted by selling off any and all rentals (and perhaps Clay Holmes/Michael King, too), and punted on the remainder of the season. That might've been unfair to Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole, but it would've been a direction.
The Yankees traded for White Sox reliever Keynan Middleton and Rangers pitcher Spencer Howard. They did not sell a soul. They did not pick a lane. They are stuck.
It was a parody of an out-of-touch organization. If you'd have scripted it and cast Steve Martin as the GM and Martin Short as the owner, they would've come up with a more convincing addition than Middleton. Alas, the Yankees' bullpen ERA, the best in baseball, might be a little worse with Middleton's 3.96 mark baked in, and there's still nobody in the outfield.
How should the Yankees have approached this deadline? That depends on who you ask, but most non-believers at this point probably would've advocated for landing controllable bats and selling distressed rentals. That's exactly where we stand.
3 trades Yankees should've made at 2023 MLB Trade Deadline
Luis Severino to the Angels for ... Someone. Anyone.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, from essentially the same position in the standings as the Yankees (but with Shohei Ohtani involved), made play after play after play this summer. They turned over tremendous portions of their roster. LAA's Lucas Giolito swap was their largest move, featuring their Nos. 2 and 3 prospects, but Mike Moustakas showed up. Eduardo Escobar was involved. Taylor Ward got hurt, and Randal Grichuk immediately replaced him. CJ Cron is in Anaheim now.
The Angels, in a last-ditch attempt to leap the field and make the postseason, were open to anything and everything. Would they have been intrigued by Luis Severino if the Yankees had paid his entire salary down, save for the small portion they needed to save to get under the luxury tax? C'mon, Angels. $1.1 million for Severino, who can start with Griffin Canning sore or move immediately to the bullpen and save you the trouble of trying to stretch him out and fix him.
The Yankees would've had to include a lottery ticket prospect here, too (think Keiner Delgado), which might've stung, but anything is better than standing pat and exceeding the luxury tax for this godforsaken roster, right? Right.