The New York Yankees are in an interesting spot approaching the 2023 MLB trade deadline -- or, at least, interesting to trainwreck enthusiasts.
With Aaron Judge returning and Gerrit Cole dealing, both within their primes, this team technically owes the roster and fan base a few "get right" moves in an effort to sneak into the dance and make some noise. Their Wild Card and AL East deficits are far from insurmountable, even though this fan base knows better by now.
But the 2023 Yankees aren't a Juan Soto away from automatic contention. No matter what they do on Tuesday, they'll need Anthony Rizzo, DJ LeMahieu and Giancarlo Stanton to perform better. That's no secret.
They'll also need to shed some salary to make room for mid-tier imports.
Brian Cashman will need to thread 100 different needles this week to reinvigorate the Yankees, and these five Bombers could find themselves on the outs while the transition occurs.
Ranking the Yankees most likely to be gone before the trade deadline
Knowing that the Yankees intend to supplement their roster and find (at least) a platoon partner for Jake Bauers/Billy McKinney, trading Gleyber Torres seems out of the question. Considering how unwilling the team has been to hand the job outright to Oswald Peraza, if they have designs on contending in 2024, they'll be keeping Torres. They certainly have those designs. He'd rank seventh here, with Clarke Schmidt in the No. 6 spot.
Bader is a free agent at the end of the season, and has been widely speculated as an extension candidate in New York. Did his price rise too high for the Yankees when he was sparking victories throughout April, May and June? Is it low enough to make sense for Brian Cashman that he's battled injuries and ineffectiveness this summer? Is a "moderate bat, high energy, impressive defense, poor health" center fielder worth a long-term financial commitment?
If the Yankees deem Bader to be a luxury, not a necessity, they might try to send him to a contender at the deadline. Who knows? He might even re-sign anyway with a handshake agreement. It seems more likely than not, though, that his future is too uncertain to make him a long-term Yankee.