Yankees trying to navigate trade deadline amid Aaron Judge injury news

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May 11, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) reacts after striking out to end the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees remain on standby for the anticipated return of reigning MVP Aaron Judge, although the waiting period could potentially span several more weeks or even months.

The Trade Deadline Dilemma

As the trade deadline looms in approximately two weeks, the Yankees’ General Manager, Brian Cashman, finds himself at a crossroads. He is tasked with making a critical decision – whether to aim for a top-tier superstar or strategically gather value-based players to enhance the team’s roster.

Potential Trade Opportunities and Their Impact

While an acquisition such as Cody Bellinger from the Chicago Cubs is not a definitive championship-winning move, bringing in stellar players like Juan Soto or Shohei Ohtani could instantly catapult the Yankees back into serious contention – a crucial step as they are rapidly losing ground.

The Current State of the Yankees Going Into the All-Star Break

Entering the All-Star break, the Yankees found themselves in an unfamiliar position – outside of a playoff spot. This is a peculiar situation for a team that typically exudes dominance throughout the first half of the season.

The Yankees’ Continued Struggle Without Judge

Despite this, the Yankees must persist in their pursuit of victory without Judge for the foreseeable future. Any rumors of his return following the All-Star break have been effectively quashed by Cashman. In reality, there is currently no specific timeline for Judge’s return as he hasn’t begun running bases, taken part in rehab games, or showed significant progress towards a comeback.

In the wake of his absence, the Yankees have noticeably faltered, leaving them yearning for Judge’s .291 batting average, .404 OBP, along with his 19 home runs, 40 RBIs, a 16.4% walk rate, and a 189 wRC+.

In 2022, it became glaringly obvious that Judge is the linchpin of the Yankees’ offense, providing the crucial spark that ignites the team. Acquiring a player of similar magnitude at the trade deadline could significantly offset Judge’s absence and invigorate the team upon his return.

Judge’s Rehabilitation and Expected Return

Regrettably, Judge’s recovery process has not hit the necessary milestones, indicating a potential return time frame of approximately four weeks, if not longer.

This esteemed slugger emphasized that it is primarily an issue of pain management rather than any serious damage, suggesting that he might still be dealing with discomfort upon his return. Judge’s current strategy is to manage the injury until he has the opportunity for full recovery in the off-season.

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