Ranking the Yankees’ needs at the trade deadline

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With a 31-23 record, the New York Yankees trail the Tampa Bay Rays by seven games for the top spot in the AL East. While it may seem like a large gap, considering the team’s performance in early May, the Bombers have done a commendable job of remaining within striking distance.

However, their roster is not without its flaws. There are several key areas they need to address before the trade deadline. Here are some:

Critical needs for the Yankees roster ahead of the deadline:

  1. Third Baseman

Josh Donaldson is poised to return from a lingering hamstring injury. However, he has not demonstrated above-average hitting skills since last year. While he had a decent 2021 season (.827 OPS) in Minnesota, his batting performance was poor last year (.682 OPS). He fared even worse in his 17 plate appearances this year (.489 OPS) prior to his hamstring strain.

Even if you believe he still has potential to improve (which seems unlikely given his age of 37), the Yankees cannot fully depend on him from a health standpoint. They should contemplate acquiring an infielder proficient at the hot corner, possessing an above-average bat, thus reassigning DJ LeMahieu to super-utility roles and Donaldson to the bench.

  1. Starting Pitching

Gerrit Cole continues to perform at an elite level, but beyond him, there are no guarantees. Luis Severino (1.59 ERA in two starts) returned strong after his lat problem but remains a health risk. Nestor Cortes has shown inconsistency, and while Domingo German and Clarke Schmidt have shown improvement, they are far from reliable.

The Yankees need to secure at least one solid starter, as Carlos Rodon’s contribution this season isn’t assured, and Frankie Montas is a questionable option for August or September. They don’t need an ace: just a reliable and consistent pitcher who can provide some innings and offer respite to the bullpen every time he’s on the mound.

  1. Corner Outfielder

Corner outfielder might be the Yankees’ most significant need ahead of the deadline. Aaron Hicks was released, and none among Jake Bauers (70 wRC+), Willie Calhoun (89 wRC+), and Oswaldo Cabrera (51 wRC+) have managed to secure the left field position.

Giancarlo Stanton is set to return soon, but it’s unlikely he can regularly play left field at this stage. Greg Allen can, but he doesn’t offer much impact as a batter. In short: if the Yankees want to contend for the top spot in the East, they need to acquire a starting left fielder as soon as possible.

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