MLB insider's early list of trade deadline targets doesn't help Yankees at all

Come on, man.
St. Louis Cardinals v Detroit Tigers
St. Louis Cardinals v Detroit Tigers / Duane Burleson/GettyImages

There's no doubt the New York Yankees will be making additions before the trade deadline, but, believe it or not, they're probably not going to need to make over the lineup, which is something that was called for from 2021-2023 due to the team's inconsistent offense.

This time, the focus will solely be on the pitching staff. Depending on Gerrit Cole's health, the rotation will need a big-name starter. What's guaranteed, however, are bullpen additions. That unit is going to need the most help.

Already tested by countless injuries and underpeformances, the bullpen has admirably survived up until this point. Reinforcements are on the way, too, which should give the Yankees a proper gauge of what they'll eventually have to target outside the organization.

But raise your hand if you're banking on Tommy Kahnle, Scott Effross, Lou Trivino and JT Brubaker to a) return fully healthy and b) absorb high-leverage innings right off the bat to better define the bullpen's structure. Kahnle's been consistently injured since 2020; Effross had his Tommy John surgery interrupted by offseason back surgery; Trivino just suffered a setback in his comeback from Tommy John surgery; and Brubaker last pitched in 2022 and is coming off major surgery (with just 63 career games under his belt).

To make matters worse, a few "early trade deadline candidates" have been tabbed by MLB insider Jon Heyman, and literally none of them will help the Yankees at this juncture.

MLB insider's early list of trade deadline targets doesn't help Yankees at all

Here's who Heyman listed:

1. Nolan Arenado
2. Bo Bichette
3. Pete Alonso
4. Kyle Tucker
5. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
6. Luis Robert
7. Jesus Luzardo
8. Justin Verlander
9. Alex Bregman
10. Michael Conforto
11. Mason Miller
12. Luis Severino (NO WAY)
13. Yusei Kikuchi

Not only are most of these players on rival teams that probably will rake the Yankees over the coals in trade talks, but none of them necessarily fill a glaring need, with the exception of Miller, whose cost is prohibitive (and quite frankly not worth it because of the position he plays). Padres' rookie sensation Jackson Merrill was viewed to be the requisite return for Miller, and it's hard for a team to surrender that type of talent for someone who will be throwing 60-70 innings per year, no matter how dominant they are.

Let's eliminate all the outfielders here too. The Yankees have no space unless they were to make major changes. Three of the candidates here are Blue Jays and, outside of Kikuchi, don't fit what they need. Then there are three Astros players, all of whom carry a massive price tag, and the Yankees have to be careful because of their payroll situation. Not trading for Pete Alonso. Not paying whatever unrealistic price the Marlins want for Jesus Luzardo, who isn't good. Not trading for Luis Severino (and if they did, the Bronx might explode).

The good news, however, is that some relievers have been speculated to potentially be on the move if 2024 doesn't go their teams' way. Two are on Yankees' rivals -- Ryan Pressly (Astros) and JC Romero (Blue Jays) -- but one in Ryan Helsley of the Cardinals could be the perfect fit (depending on the asking price). The flame-throwing right-hander is making just $3.8 million this year and is under team control through 2025.

Brian Cashman will certainly have to work his magic this year, but there isn't a clear picture just yet. Give it a few more weeks and we can probably start properly narrowing down realistic acquisitions. Best to just let it be right now.