The New York Yankees were three innings away from entering the All-Star Break with all the momentum in the world, after an otherwise frustrating first half.
When the dust from Gleyber Torres' botched inning-ending double play ball settled, they were instead one loss richer, creating a resounding echo of, "SELL!" chants for the team's entire five-day break. Baseball truly is a game of inches.
Then came the series loss to the NL-worst Colorado Rockies when play resumed. That might prove to be the juncture during which the front office decided to tear it down.
In reality, the Yankees have a far more nuanced task ahead of them. They remain in the Wild Card race, and shouldn't throw in the towel entirely. Plus, most of their biggest problems are unsellable assets. Josh Donaldson can't be given away; he can only be benched until the terms of his employment expire. Just a reminder to fans: If someone isn't competent, no one else is interested in them, either. Nobody's barking at the Yankees' door to acquire any part of DJ LeMahieu's contract.
So, how do the Yankees handle the deadline? Acquire controllable pieces to aid their quest to compete in 2024. Sell pure rentals who can be replaced (and who possess some value). Promote kids. Potentially play your only remaining All-Star trade card and complete what was left unfinished at last year's deadline. Try to reach the finish line with momentum this season and, failing that, set yourself up well for next year. And, yes, bench Josh Donaldson.
Considering he's owed a $10+ million chunk for the remainder of the season, he's probably stuck here (but will be long gone entering 2024). The rest of these players might not be so lucky.
4 players who won't be on Yankees roster (or in Yankees system) in August
It's not the boldest prediction to insinuate that Torres has worn out his welcome in New York, considering the team thought they'd traded him to the Marlins last summer for Pablo López. Instead, López was swapped for .400 chaser Luis Arraez this winter, while Torres is still in the Bronx, still barely above league-average offensively (105 OPS+ at the break), and still "too critical" to the Yankees offense for some to stomach dealing, which is an embarrassing reality.
He is both one of their very few above-average hitters in the Yankees' current lineup, and not good enough. Imagine that.
Torres had a far superior season last year (24 homers, 76 RBI, 115 OPS+) despite a monstrous post-deadline slump. The prevailing wisdom was he'd build on that progress this year without baked-in trade distractions. That has not happened.
If the Yankees do dangle Torres, who hasn't merited an extension, they'd better consummate the deal this time around. Attempting to trade him and failing once more could wreck their starting second baseman's August. He's started the second half scorching hot after a middling first half, making a trade all the more likely if the Yankees continue to slip in spite of his surge.