The time has come upon us where fans are holding their breath, executives are making calls, and the social media GMs are out in full force. Yes, the MLB trade deadline is approaching. The obvious headline is superstar Shohei Ohtani, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, and he is the talk of the town, especially in New York when it comes to the New York Yankees and New York Mets.
New York’s baseball teams have had a tough go this year. The Yankees are battling in a ridiculous division without their star player, and the Mets, well yeah, it’s not good, but let’s focus on the Yankees here.
The New York Yankees enter July 20 with a 50-47 record, which is only good enough for last place in the juggernaut AL East division. The Yanks took a huge blow when reigning AL MVP Aaron Judge injured his toe making a running catch at Dodger Stadium. This has caused the lineup to not be as consistent, and a lack of the clutch, powerful bat from the Yankees’ star player. There are a few divisions in baseball (looking at you AL Central) where 50-47 has you in the race for the division and ready to compete, but that’s just not the case for the Yankees. If they want to get to the postseason, let alone compete for a title, they need to win games now.
That brings me to my next point…
Is it really worth it to sell off a decent farm system for rentals in what seems like a lost year for New York Yankees standards?
In my opinion, the answer is no. Come trade deadline season, everyone always assumes the Yankees will be buying, well, because they’re the Yankees. They don’t do rebuilds, they don’t sell premium MLB talent, that’s just not what they do, but this year is the first in a while where the Yankees have to ask themselves if they really have a chance at the World Series, and with the squad they have right now, I don’t think they do.
It would be one thing if the Yankees were performing well with a solid lineup/rotation, and things just weren’t going their way, but that’s not the case this year. There are plenty of holes in the roster, and adding in talented rental players for the sake of doing so won’t do them any favors.
The Yanks have had a solid farm system for a while, and that is a big part of why they are so competitive on a year-to-year basis, and I think they have to maintain that to stay successful. I’m not ignoring the fact that it is a premier free-agent destination which already gives them a head start. I’m just saying the time to buy and go “all in” isn’t now.
The focus for them should be putting a solid team around their elite players. Projects like Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa have hardly worked out, and they are not getting near the performance from Giancarlo Stanton, Luis Severino, and DJ LeMahieu that they are paying for. Adding in short-term pieces at the deadline may mask this problem, but it won’t eliminate the problem.
In the end of the day, anything can happen, and the Yankees could prove me wrong. This is a situation the Yankees aren’t used to being in, and it may force management to move on from the old ways and see that money, history, and power can’t solve everything in this league.