Where were the Yankees when a Luis Arráez trade presented itself early in 2024?

Seemed like the perfect opportunity to fix a big problem.
New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles
New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

The New York Yankees don't necessarily need to shake up their roster at the moment, especially if we're talking about the offense. The pitching staff needs help, but the front office will first assess where they're at once a number of players return from injury. Their last-ditch effort will be at the trade deadline.

But sometimes opportunities present themselves that force an unexpected reevaluation, and that happened over the weekend when the San Diego Padres shocked everyone and traded for Miami Marlins star Luis Arráez.

According to previous rumors, the Yankees were interested in Arráez back in 2022 when he was with the Minnesota Twins. Remember? Gleyber Torres was supposed to head to Miami for Pablo Lopez but instead the Twins and Marlins made the swap involving Arráez and the right-hander?

But everything eluded the Yankees on that front. Arráez has since gone to two other teams via trade and the Yankees' only deal with the Marlins, despite countless rumors about high-end pitching, involved Jon Berti. Riveting.

Really, the only notable blockbuster Brian Cashman has made in recent seasons was the one for Juan Soto a few months ago. Giancarlo Stanton came before that in 2017. Arráez could've been next, but the Yankees were nowhere to be found.

Where were the Yankees when a Luis Arraez trade presented itself early in 2024?

Additionally, this didn't necessarily come out of the blue. After the Marlins started the season 0-7, MLB insider Ken Rosenthal speculated Miami could be sellers sooner than most would've imagined, and that the Padres were circling the waters.

Knowing Arráez wasn't a fit for the Marlins long term, he was going to be among the first to go, so we're just wondering where Cashman and Co. were when all of this started to materialize. Arráez represents a near-perfect fit for what the Yankees need in their lineup -- a versatile, reliable defender and an actual contact-heavy lefty bat.

Arráez can play first, second and third base as well as left field (though he's probably best suited for first and second) and he won back-to-back battling titles in the AL and NL in 2022 and 2023. He almost never strikes out and has a penchant for hitting in big situations (.346/.403/.458 in high-leverage moments and .365/.422/.466 with runners in scoring position for his career).

Torres, on the other hand, has largely failed as a Yankee ever since 2019, but the Yankees ignored the writing on the wall yet again. They bet on him to succeed in his contract year -- something that very much doesn't fit his personality -- and are paying for it right now as he hits .222 with a .567 OPS in 36 games so far. Not to mention, his defense and baserunning have also been quite bad, which has even led the infamously protective Aaron Boone to call him out.

The Padres sent reliever Woo Suk Go as well as prospects Dillon Head (OF, No. 6), Jakob Marsee (OF, No. 9) and Nathan Martorella (1B/OF, No. 13) to the Marlins in exchange for Arráez and the remainder of the money on his contract for 2024. We'd definitely call that a steep price and one that'd be tough for the Yankees to fulfill because they have to save assets for the trade deadline, but what about a package deal here? There wasn't a single starter or relever Cashman could've plucked? We will say, the offerings were borderline undesirable, but Tanner Scott, Bryan Hoeing, Burch Smith and Declan Cronin could've helped New York upgrade the bullpen.

Subbing out Torres for Arráez could've truly taken this lineup to new heights, but the Yankees' situation didn't allow for such a move a month into the season. Had Gerrit Cole, Tommy Kahnle, Scott Effross and Jonathan Loaisiga been healthy, perhaps it's a different story, but the issues on the pitching front more than likely held New York back in these potential discussions.