Flaming hot Giants have probably taken top trade target off Yankees' board

The Yankees will miss out on what feels like their hundredth opportunity to trade for Joc Pederson.
San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

Following in their proud tradition of not trading for Joc Pederson in 2021 and not signing Joc Pederson in the resulting offseason, the 2023 Yankees seem poised to not trade for Joc Pederson at the upcoming midsummer deadline.

Fortunately for New York, the lack of a consummated deal won't be their fault this time. Pederson's Giants have turned around spectacularly over the past few weeks, reaching .500 and then blitzing past it with a winning streak to be adored.

Could San Francisco plummet yet again? It's technically possible. But Pederson, along with a seemingly unceasing wave of youth, has helped inject life into the offense. The Giants have been comeback kids for the better part of two weeks now, earning nine straight wins and vaulting not only into a muddled Wild Card picture, but towards the top of it.

This summer's deadline will be a seller's market ... if any sellers want to actually emerge. Competition will be fierce between 15-20 different buyers in order to obtain the stars of the White Sox and Cardinals, as well as the dregs of the A's and Royals. If a .500ish team wanted to pivot to selling, they could theoretically make a killing. Fringe sellers like the Reds and Giants have far too excellent vibes right now to entertain such a thing, though, as evidenced by Pederson himself tracking Tuesday night's walkoff ball four into the mitt and celebrating from the box.

Yankees trade target Joc Pederson off limits if Giants keep surging

It's not like the Giants intended to be deadline sellers entering 2023. They pursued Aaron Judge heavily and agreed to a deal with Carlos Correa before his medicals spiked it. This was supposed to be the year that their money stopped burning a hole in their pocket and started once again fueling the championship pursuit.

Clearly, it was premature to assume they were going to hit the reset button again in mid-May while they trudged along. After missing out on this offseason's big ticket items, they decided to retool with several mid-tier free agents, from Michael Conforto to Mitch Haniger. Much earlier in the offseason, they also handed Pederson the qualifying offer, locking him up for nearly $20 million for the 2023 season (which, let's be honest, already might've ruled him out as a Yankees target, no matter how enticing the fit).

Those signings ... haven't really been game-changers. Conforto's been slightly above league-average offensively, and Haniger's been out long-term. The Giants' juice has come from their rotation, youth movement, and ... well, Pederson, who's seemingly taken it upon himself to change the narrative, sporting a .988 OPS in June and heaping signature moments upon himself.

He tried to tie it up. He did. He did whatever he wanted to do.

And he's a lefty. Pederson would've looked great at Yankee Stadium at any point over the past three seasons, but continues to evade the Yankees' grasp, by hook or by crook. This time around, it's the Giants who got the last laugh. If they couldn't pair Pederson with Arson Judge, apparently no one can.