A few days ago, the Yankees were in a position to regain some ground. They were four games out heading into the Boston, hoping to chip away from the Red Sox lead. After an impressive series against the Royals, it seemed the momentum would be carried. The total opposite occurred and they were swept. It was an embarrassing performance and the season is now on the line. They went into the series verse the Angels with the bats starting to light it up again, unfortunately, they only have won one game thus far, and blew a 7 run lead after a disastrous 9th inning collapse. Something needs to change. If the Yankees want to salvage the season, there are two opportunities to do so. They can promote within, which will save them luxury tax room, or they hit the trade market running.
The first option the Yankees can pursue is promoting within. At this point, there should be no "prospect hugging". The team is operating at 50%, with parts of the team just not performing. On the offensive side, Clint Frazier is not the young hot prospect who battled his way to the top. Miguel Andujar and Rougned Odor have been on and off. Brett Gardner's time is up. Tyler Wade is not a major league ballplayer. These five players are hurting the team more than helping, it makes no sense to keep trying to fit them into the puzzle when they just don't fit. Chris Gittens had a slow start in his stint in the majors, but just came off a tremendous week-long performance in AAA. He was the Triple-A East’s Player of the Week, batting .526, going 10-for-19 with three walks, two doubles, three home runs, and 11 runs batted in.
On the pitching side, Britton and Peralta just headed to the I.L. Champan is falling down the trust tree. Nestor Cortes might be our best bullpen pitcher. Insanity! Now, O'Day and Wilson have returned from the IL, but the team is going to need some bullpen depth. An easy solution would be to move Michael King and James Taillon to the bullpen because they are sub-par performers as starters. Cole has lost some of his lusters recently, Kluber won't be back until September, and who knows what is going on with Severino. I don't know what happened with Deivi Garcia, he was supposed to be the "Prince that was Promised". hopefully, he can turn things around. There also isn't much noise coming from Clarke Schmidt, who has been out with a right common flexor tendon strain. Supposedly he is facing some batters next week. This team desperately needs pitching support. Meanwhile, in AAA, these RailRiders have been balling out and they could offer immediate impact if given the opportunity.
- 2B Hoy Jun Park
A highly touted international prospect in 2014, Park has finally begun to play at his potential. His swing is smooth and he has been making his case to be a part of the big leagues. As of last week, Park was arguably one of the best players in AAA. He ranked 2nd with batting average (.360), first in OBP (.509), first in SLG (.663), and first in OPS (1.172). There is no doubt in my mind that he can be better than Odor and Wade. Supposedly, he is getting groomed to play some outfield as well. He could be the ultimate utility player. Park’s speed, athleticism, and defense are all tools that could be used to the team's advantage. It may have been a long road for the international prospect, but they should not hold him back any longer.
- OF Estevan Florial
We've seen glimpses of Florial now and then, but if he is this coveted outfield prospect, he needs to get a true chance to play. His offensive production is still raw but can offer consistency getting on base. He is a nice left-handed batter, who can get to the short porch easily, hitting six home runs between AA and AAA. His defensive skills are highly touted, one scout noted that "his defense is special, potentially Gold Glove-caliber."
- OF Trey Amburgey
Erik Kratz has been preaching Amburgey for weeks now, and rightfully so. He has been lights out and should be given the shot to compete on the big league roster. He isn't a long-term solution, but he can provide a nice spark for the remainder of this season. After hitting .274/.329/.494 with 22 homers and a 106 wRC+ in 510 Triple-A plate appearances in 2019, he spent some time in the Yankees’ alternate training site last year and was assigned back to Scranton Wilkes-Barre to start 2021. This year, he has unleashed an impressive line of .356/.407/.663 with six homers, a 174 wRC+, and a 1.070 OPS in 118 plate appearances. Numbers like that have to pique the Yank's interest, especially with Frazier possibly out with an injury.
- INF Derek Dietrich
The Yankees opted to choose Jay Bruce over Dietrich at the beginning of the season, which turned out to be the wrong choice. Dietrich in AAA since 5/26 is batting 286/.451/.492 with a 160 wRC+. He offers immense versatility, steady decision-making at the plate, and a lefty bat present. He is more qualified than Tyler Wade so why not?
- RP Trevor Lane
In terms of relief pitching, the Lane Train should be an easy option for the bullpen. In 12 games this season, he is posting a 1.84 ERA with 16 strikeouts in 14.2 innings. His sample size is small but can be valuable in the pen in the coming months.
- SP Luis Gil
The fifth-best prospect in the Yankees’ system had a fantastic May. In five starts in May for the Double-A Somerset Patriots, Gil maintained a 1.69 ERA with 36 strikeouts in just 21 innings. Another option that although a small sample size, could provide a tremendous upside on the big league roster.
Then there is option two. If you aren't going to promote within, then trade them. They made some early moves by shipping off Mike Tauchamn for Wandy Peralta which was a head-scratcher. They moved on from Thairo Estrada and Mike Ford, and also acquired Ryan LaMarre and Rougned Odor. None of these moves have made any sort of impact, you could make an argument for Odor if any. Today they announced the acquisition of Diamondback Tim Locastro. He is considered one of the fastest players in the Majors and gives the Yankees a potential outfield option. Last year, he slashed a .290/.395/.464 in 82 plate appearances. This year he is only batting a .178/.271/.220 in 133 plate appearances. Maybe Cash sees this as another "diamond in the rough", but this is not a major "pendulum swinging" move at the moment.
If you don't want to lose another year in the window, then stock up at the deadline and carry out the season. I broke this section down into two. Realistic options that won't cost the Yankees a tremendous amount, and then the motherload of high name talent who could be moved that the Yankees should at least entertain the idea.
- SP José Berrios (Twins)
The Twins "Ace" could be an answer to the rotation problems. He would be slated right behind Cole, and he currently holds a 3.41 ERA but an impressive K-BB rate, at 20.2%. He is under control through 2022 and at an affordable rate.
- OF Mitch Haniger (Mariners)
Haniger is a hitting machine, and last week he went 9-for-22 with two homers, batting .253/.282/.404. He now has 18 home runs for the season. Haniger is an affordable option, earning just above $3M this season. Seattle has a deep core of young outfielders, headlined by Jarred Kelenic, Taylor Trammell, and 2020 ROY Kyle Lewis. He could be an easy option to trade for, especially knowing this.
- SP Germán Márquez (Rockies)
Marquez is one of the top young arms in the game. Since making his MLB debut at 21 years old in 2016, he has a career 48-36 record, 4.21 ERA, and 729 strikeouts to 211 walks in 724 2/3 innings. Márquez led all MLB pitchers in innings in the shortened 2020 season, and this year he’s 6-6 with a 3.99 ERA and two complete games. He just came off a Maddux CG, almost closing out the no-no, but completed the game in less than 100 pitches. He will be on many teams' radars.
- CF Starling Marte (Marlins)
Can Jeter provide more support to the Yankees? He is an affordable outfielder who has been batting away. He is slashing a line of 317/.422/.511 slash line with 33 runs scored, 11 steals, and six home runs. He has the fourth-most Defensive Runs Saved (3) while also ranking first in defensive rating according to FanGraphs.
- SP Jon Gray (Rockies)
Gray is having a nice little rebound season, but I highly doubt the Rockies will retain him in the offseason, let alone issue a qualifying offer. He will be moved at the deadline, so the Yanks should try to entertain an offer. Maybe one to land Trevor Story too? He currently is on the IL, but can still be an intriguing option.
- OF/2B Adam Frazier (Pirates)
Frazier has not only been one of the best hitters on the Pirates, but he is also one of the best hitters in the NL. He has over 100 hits, batting a .327/.395/.471 slash line to go with a career-high 8.5% rate walk rate, while striking out at a career-low 11.1% rate. He currently leads the NL in All-Star voting for 2B, right above Braves Ozzie Albies. He would be costly, but he is someone that can create a lasting impact for the team.
- OF Joey Gallo (Rangers)
Gallo is a notable name on the market. He was an All-Star in 2019 and a Gold Glover winner last season. He had back-to-back 40 homerun seasons in 2017 and 2018, and he currently is batting .230 for the year. Since June 1st, he is hitting .264 with nine home runs over 23 games. He also leads the majors with 62 walks. However, he is a heavy strikeout guy (tied for 2nd most in the AL with 97), which is something the Yankees don't need. He also is a lifetime .211 hitter, but still an upgrade over the current options.
I don't know how much these guys would cost the Yankees or if their respective teams would even entertain, but if the Yankees want to throw all the chips on the table and make a power move, then these are the individuals that would need to come over. I am tired of the BS narrative of luxury tax and we'll get 'em' next year. The Boss would be disgusted by the efforts this team is giving and do anything in his power to flip the switch. Even though their trade values are considerably "low", maybe it's time to unload Clint Fraizer, Miguel Andujar, Gleybar Torres, and Aroldis Chapman, to get a marquee player in return. I am no expert, just a hungry fan, so these are some players I feel could be available if the Yankees are looking to make a must-win move.
- SP Max Scherzer (Nationals)
- OF Byron Buxton (Twins)
- LF/3B Kris Bryant (Cubs)
- SS Trevor Story (Rockies)
- 1B/OF Trey Mancini (Orioles)
- SP John Means (Orioles)
- OF Nick Castellnos (Reds)
There isn't much more you can say about this team. The offense is inconsistent, the pitching is sub-par, and the management is atrocious. It is becoming unwatchable baseball when you turn on the Yankees on any given day. With lofty expectations coming into the season, the team needs to fix its storyline and turn things around, or an awful judgment day will occur this fall.