Ken Rosenthal's Yankees trade deadline column will infuriate any believers

A few months ago, this would've sounded ridiculous.
Baltimore Orioles v New York Yankees
Baltimore Orioles v New York Yankees / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

If you'd like to get further enraged, imagine reading this Ken Rosenthal column two months ago or prior to the season.

Reading it now? Eh. Nothing can hurt me more than the team's already hurting me and, honestly, if there was ever a year to save money, it's probably 2023.

Rosenthal examined the Yankees' deadline direction on Wednesday morning (following another two-hit loss to the struggling Angels' pitching staff), and unlike most analysts, he didn't just blindly declare the 50-46 Yankees "buyers" and move on.

Instead, he noted that while the team is just 2.5 games out of a Wild Card spot, their recent conduct isn't befitting of a group that needs to go all in. Neither is their current payroll.

The Yankees are $1.1 million over the vaunted "final" tier of the luxury tax, meaning if they can't shave payroll this summer, they'll be subject to a massive financial penalty. According to Rosenthal, they "want to add a left fielder, bullpen help and possibly a starter," but in doing so, will probably both target cheaper options and look to dump some of their current concerning contracts.

That includes names like Wandy Peralta ($1.2 million more this season), Isiah Kiner-Falefa ($2 million), Luis Severino ($5 million) and Gleyber Torres ($3.3 million).

Yankees need to sell assets at MLB Trade Deadline to save their 2024 first-round pick

An initial version of Rosenthal's column asserted the Yankees could avoid watching their first-round pick drop 10 spots by getting under the top number, but -- bummer! -- they've already assured themselves of that penalty. There's no avoiding it. Accepting that penalty, for this roster, feels almost as unforgivable as the 2022 Red Sox paying the tax for their mediocrity. But, then again, unforgivable failure is par for the course here these days (and it's also my favorite U2 album).

The Yankees will absolutely pummel that initial tax threshold of ~$230 million, but luckily, they won't be losing any free agents this offseason whose compensation packages will change drastically as a result. Severino, God love him, is probably not receiving the qualifying offer.

Stuck to that payroll like thick glue is the hideous money still owed to Josh Donaldson (likely out for season) and Aaron Hicks (playing solidly for the Baltimore Orioles). Blame those two, blame the team's malfeasance, blame the offense's complete inability to hit without Aaron Judge in the lineup like they're the 2008 Cavs without LeBron.

The Yankees are too close to the postseason to sell off every distressed asset -- and, plus, that's impossible. Who wants Giancarlo Stanton right now? If they can't pull off a hybrid model and find some way to shave cash off the roster (Peralta gone, enter Dylan Carlson?), then they're in even more trouble than you probably thought.