The MLB trade deadline came and went on Wednesday. After a rather slow buildup, the internet exploded around 4 p.m. as big trades before and after the deadline went down. When the dust settled, a few competing teams got a lot stronger. All except the New York Yankees. The plan is unclear. We ask: what, exactly, are the Yankees doing
The short answer is: nothing. They didn’t do anything at the trade deadline outside of landing a minor league player named Alfredo Garcia. If you Google his name, his stats don’t come up, nor his player profile; instead, it’s a Wikipedia entry about a movie called Bring Me Alfredo Garcia’s Head. That’s how irrelevant he is.
There were rumors, to be sure. But the Yankees seemed unwilling to give up what was required to land guys like Zack Greinke or Madison Bumgarner (who wasn’t traded, but it’s hard to believe the Giants wouldn’t have caved if the Yankees made an enticing offer).
Looking to the future is part of being a GM, and Brian Cashmanclearly wanted to be careful about overpaying for an arm that wouldn’t send them over the top. But sitting pat wasn’t the answer. If this year isn’t the time to make a win-now move, when will it be? The Yankees have had an absurd year, sitting with the third-best record in baseball despite literally every important player going down due to injury at one point or the other. The dreaded Red Sox are in their own rut. New York was an ace away from being considered favorites to return to the World Series for the first time in a decade.
Instead, they held on to their prospects and guys who don’t currently have a place on the roster like Frazier. All the while, Houston was working the phones and landed Greinke to give them the most dangerous rotation in baseball. It’s hard to consider the Yankees favorites after this deadline, and in what sure feels like a magical year for the Bronx Bombers, that is not what they were looking for.
Luis Severino can still come back and be effective, but other than that, the rotation is bare. Tanaka has his moments, but also was just shellacked by the Red Sox at Fenway. Aroldis Chapman still isn’t a sure thing. The Yankees needed to make upgrades, and chose not to do so. As previously stated: if not now, when?
The moves they could have made weren’t a sure thing. There wasn’t an obvious target that would have worked out perfectly. But that doesn’t change the fact that the Yankees were a very good but imperfect team before Wednesday. On Thursday, they will be the same team– which can be fine! But the teams around them aren’t the same teams. By their inaction, the Yankees have handicapped themselves down the stretch, and it’s hard to see why.