Though it feels like a century ago, the biggest and most common name the New York Yankees were linked to ahead of the trade deadline was St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Dylan Carlson. The Cards had a surplus of outfielders and a struggling Carlson, who's been off for two seasons, now felt like he was falling out of favor.
His 2023 campaign was interrupted by injuries, but manager Oli Marmol benched him plenty. With Tyler O'Neill, Jordan Walker, Lars Nootbaar, Alec Burleson and Brendan Donovan logging outfield reps, Carlson was clearly going to lose playing time.
In the end, he remained in St. Louis while the Yankees did nothing at the trade deadline -- something, for the first time, fans might be thankful for. Carlson opted for season-ending ankle surgery this week after he dealt with ankle soreness all year. Had the Yankees acquired him, he would've represented a different version of Harrison Bader Part II.
Not only would he have done nothing to help the 2023 roster, but his recovery could take up to three months, which will put him well behind in his offseason regimen/workouts. Just what the Yankees would've needed, right? Another injured player either not present for 2023 or potentially compromised for 2024.
Their plan to promote Jasson Dominguez and ride with their top prospect proved to be much smarter until he woke up with elbow pain one day and then needed Tommy John surgery. This team just can't win, but the Carlson alternative would've been far worse.
Yankees avoided another injury disaster by passing on Dylan Carlson trade
Since Carlson is controllable through 2026, is just 24 years old and an athletic switch hitter, the price tag still would've been steep in a trade regardless of how he was performing. His third-place finish in the 2021 Rookie of the Year voting is enough value for the Cardinals to cling to when negotiating with other teams.
But if the Yankees are good for anything, it's not getting cleaned out in trade discussions. Brian Cashman never overpays for assets (pretty much to a fault because he'd rather a worse/depreciated asset for a cheaper price), and it's cases like these where it pays off. Even when the Joey Gallo trade appeared to be a clear loss, Cashman minimized risk by packaging the right prospects together, and it's pretty much like nothing ever happened (it ended up being Gallo for Ezequiel Duran, a risk worth taking).
Even though Carlson still possesses a ton of potential, which might have some fans wondering why the trade wasn't ultimately made, don't forget the Yankees famously cannot fix players enduring offensive issues. In fact, over the last few years, anybody they've brought in has regressed. Almost every prospect that's cracked the bigs has been underwhelming or a total failure.
Carlson, more than likely, would've been another in a long line of disappointments. And the Yankees would've had to give up young pitching to get him. Here's to a win for standing pat.