All hell is about to break loose at the Yankees' trade deadline, one way or another.
Either a generational superstar is headed to the Bronx, or a group of people who make a living being angry are about to inflate their own expectations, then make themselves furious. Which one seems more likely?
The current Yankees stand at 49-42, heading into the break with a dispiriting loss to the Cubs and an out-of-character midseason hitting coach firing. The new guy, Sean Casey, could subsist entirely on vibes. The Yankees are clearly hoping he'll be a spark, if only by accident.
Does that sound like a team that's a Juan Soto or Shohei Ohtani trade away from contention to you? Does this coin-flip playoff team sound like a group that would even entertain such things?
Somehow, fans have convinced themselves they'll be walking away from this summer's deadline with one of those two massive names. Derek Jeter wants the Yankees to be the Yankees and push for Soto (and it certainly would be an impressive show of force and return to form if they did). Buster Olney, someone else with old-school Yankees ties? He thinks Brian Cashman will be the biggest agitator in the Ohtani trade talks. We'll believe it ... when we see it.
Yankees Rumors: New York pushing hardest for Shohei Ohtani trade
Rumor had it the Yankees were pressing on Ohtani last summer, too, so this fascination is clearly long-held (and who wouldn't want a shot at Shohei?). However, the one thing standing in the way ... who's to say this deal happens between any two parties? Word on the street is that Angels owner Arte Moreno doesn't want to be the man responsible for trading a superstar unlike any other, and could you really blame him?
Just a few days ago, the consensus was the Ohtani still would not be traded. Knowing that it would be wildly embarrassing to submit an overwhelming prospect offer for the star righty/slugger, acquire him, and then not sign him to a $500 million extension, would Brian Cashman really be able to offer enough prospect capital and swallow that financial pill at the same time? No pile of prospects will match up to the impact of one (1) Ohtani. The Yankees, or any other team, would just have to pray Moreno and Co. like their Nos. 1-5.
It's classic Modern Yankees to be involved at the forefront of a potential splash that never materializes for anybody. Losing Ohtani to the Rays and Rangers would be less typical than losing Ohtani to ... nobody, as the deadline passes with a whimper. Who's betting on the Yankees finishing second in a race that never really even started?