Last night, the New York Yankees fell to the Angels 5-1 which dropped them to 1-4 since the start of the second half of the season. Even if Carlos Rodon pitches a gem today and the Yanks win, they have lost their first two series after the All Star Break.
Last night’s loss kept them in sole possession of last place in the AL East. Had Boston won last night, New York would’ve found themselves two games back of fourth place in their division. Last year’s MVP and arguably the best offensive player in baseball, Aaron Judge, is gearing up for a return after injury his toe against the Dodgers at the beginning of June.
Judge’s return will be a huge boost to the offense which has been arguably the worst in baseball. The Yankees will point to how massive the return of Judge will be, and it is, but even with how great Aaron Judge is, he’s not enough to fix the flaws of this baseball team.
The Yankees are a victim of horrific roster construction and a clear lack of direction in the clubhouse. The roster is awful especially considering the fact that Hal Steinbrenner is fitting the bill for nearly $300 million. Aaron Boone is completely uninspiring and there seems to be no urgency with this team which translates to the play on the field.
The trade deadline is drawing near and it’s usually a time to be excited about what the Yankees could do to improve their chances of winning a World Series. However, this year, it appears that they’ve backed themselves into a corner with no great options.
What should the Yankees do?
The first thing most fans would love for the Yankees to do is become buyers at the highest level. Go out and trade for a guy like Shohei Ohtani, Juan Soto, or a Nolan Arenado. Don’t get me wrong, I would be ecstatic to see any of those guys dawning the pinstripes. However, that wouldn’t be enough to fix this team.
This team needs bullpen help, catching help, and another starting pitcher. So, why not go out and get more? Well, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported this morning that as the deadline nears, the Yankees seem to be interested in getting under the luxury tax. If that’s the case, they cannot afford to go out and get one of those star players and fix the other issues on the team.
Rosenthal suggested that the Yankees might be doing a little buying and selling. Buying for positions of need and selling off expendable pieces that can save them a little money. This is likely the best option at this point, but it’s a tricky proposition to make exactly the right moves.
The next option would be just selling altogether and building up the farm system even more. New York doesn’t have a ton to sell off, but they could look to just keep the current core together and sell pieces off that would net them some solid returns like they did in 2016.
Obviously, that’s not a great option considering the pulse of the fanbase and the fact that despite how pathetic they’ve been, the Yankees are still only a couple of games out of the last Wild Card spot. Then, you have the stand pat or make minor moves route.
This route would bet big on the return of Aaron Judge while making very minor moves to sure up some holes in the club. Another rotational outfielder with a decent bullpen arm. With how bad this team currently is, I don’t think it would be enough and again, that’s not a good option.
Brian Cashman shoulders the blame in my opinion for this. He’s used $300 million of Hal Steinbrenner’s money to construct a terrible baseball team that is 500 over their last 200 games played. Now, one of the more exciting times of the year is drawing near and the Yankees don’t really have a great path forward.