NEW YORK -- This unique season has given the Yankees an opportunity to see how dominant they could be at full strength, enjoying a few weeks when Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton seemed to belt homers with relative ease. It has also presented a reminder that injuries will continue to be a major part of their storyline.
As the Yankees approach Monday’s Trade Deadline, they believe that their roster is one capable of going all the way, especially if general manager Brian Cashman adds reinforcements to help in what figures to be a taut battle with the Rays for the top spot in the American League East. Tampa Bay has taken six of seven meetings with the Yanks thus far.
“It’s such a unique year, and I think Cash and everyone in the front office is navigating what that all means,” manager Aaron Boone said on Tuesday. “They’re certainly doing their due diligence and going through the process, having conference calls and Zoom calls. What comes from that? It remains to be seen.”
An important wrinkle to this year’s Trade Deadline is that teams can only trade players who are part of their 60-man player pool (assigned either to the big league team or the alternate training site). Clubs are permitted to include players to be named later in trades, however. Additionally, scouts have not been allowed to attend games in person, so all assessments of prospects have been done based on provided video and data and past knowledge.
Buy/sell/hold: The Yankees will be interested in buying prior to the Deadline, reinforcing a roster that many prognosticators viewed as a championship favorite. Their depth is again being tested, as it was in 2019, when they set records by having 30 players serve 39 stints on the injured list. Seemingly a lock to reach the expanded postseason, they’ll probably have to make a move or two to push for the top seed.
What they want: The priority would be a starting pitcher to supplement Gerrit Cole and Masahiro Tanaka in a playoff rotation, especially after losing James Paxton to a left flexor strain that figures to limit the left-hander’s availability. And after losing right-hander Tommy Kahnle to season-ending surgery, the Yankees would like to add a reliever -- someone who could bolster the late-inning bridge to closer Aroldis Chapman.
What they have to offer: Judge's status is in limbo, but with other position players like DJ LeMahieu, Stanton and Gleyber Torres expected back within the next two weeks, the Yankees feel as though they can part with some of their hitting depth. Miguel Andújar and Clint Frazier figure to be discussed in any potential trade, as both are blocked on the depth chart. Mike Tauchman would interest teams, but the Yanks view him as a regular contributor. The Yanks have eight prospects who rank in their top 15 (per MLB Pipeline) at the alternate site, with pitchers Albert Abreu, Deivi García and Clarke Schmidt all included in that group.
Chance of a deal: 90 percent. With Paxton and Tanaka eligible for free agency, Cashman may see this as an opportunity to add a pitcher, both to boost this year’s chances and perhaps to solve a potential issue for the winter. They touched base about the Taijuan Walker before the Mariners traded him to the Blue Jays, and they surely are monitoring the Indians’ Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac. Expect to hear Matthew Boyd (Tigers), Kevin Gausman (Giants), Lance Lynn (Rangers) and Robbie Ray (D-backs) among others mentioned in rumors.