Yankees could ‘upgrade’ infield at summer trade deadline

MLB: New York Yankees at San Francisco Giants
Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

At the moment, the Yankees have one of the best starting rotations and bullpens in baseball, and that is without Gerrit Cole and several relief pitchers working their way back from injury.

At some point, they will also get Clarke Schmidt back from a right lat strain, so the Yankees have the luxury of using the trade deadline to push their World Series aspirations forward. The team is strong enough to maintain their current pace, even if a few injuries do pop up.

The Yankees can’t work around inconsistency, and the right side of their infield is unpredictable. Both Torres and Anthony Rizzo remain liabilities at times, representing below-average hitters this season.

The Yankees Need More From the Right Side of Their Infield

Torres, who is in a contract year and looking to secure a bag, is hitting just .230/.308/.324, including four homers and 16 RBIs. Defensively, he hasn’t been much better, producing -3 defensive runs saved and a .967 fielding percentage, the worst in his career at second base. There’s plenty of time for Torres to turn things around and recover his lost form, but the deadline is in about two months, and time is running out

Recently, the Bombers pushed Torres all the way to number eight in the batting order, which clearly showcases their lack of confidence. He started the season leading off and was a staple in the heart of the lineup, but his lack of production has forced them into some difficult decisions.

Clearly, Torres lacks confidence, and if he doesn’t turn things around, the Yankees may be convinced to trade for an upgrade, specifically at second base. They might’ve missed an opportunity to land Luis Arraez, who is having another batting champion campaign and is one of the best lead-off hitters in baseball despite his defensive liabilities.

MLB: New York Yankees at Milwaukee Brewers, anthony rizzo
Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

Rizzo, on the other hand, is clearly ineffective. The 34-year-old is hitting .240/.301/.360, including seven homers and 25 RBIs. His hard-hit rate has dropped to 33.7%, representing a career low. He also has a career-worst 5% barrel rate and 86.8 average velocity, so his power has completely deteriorated, which is a huge problem and a sign of regression.

According to Jim Bowden of The Athletic, the Yankees could make some upgrades if their production doesn’t trend in a better direction over the next two months.

“The Yankees’ right side of the infield has underperformed and if the production doesn’t improve, that will be the area of focus to upgrade via trades.”

Fortunately, the Yankees have plenty of prospects they can utilize in a prospective deal. In addition, they look to offload both Rizzo and Torres, reinforce the pitching, and then flip an arm for a new infielder. With that being said, Rizzo is unlikely to be dealt since he’s one of Aaron Judge’s best friends in the clubhouse, and the Yankees don’t want to mess with that chemistry.

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