Looking Back to Look Forward: A Musing on the Yankees’ Competitive Window

The Yankees were, as you know, inactive at the trade deadline. At first, that was frustrating and still is to a certain degree. Bobby covered that in the aftermath and did so quite well. Now it’s my turn. Apologies for rehashing this topic, but when you only write once a week (generally speaking), you’ve got to wait to get your thoughts out.

Collectively, I think we’re all a lot less annoyed about the Yankees’ inactivity a few days out from it. Part of that stems from the Yankees’ big division lead and the good feelings of beating the Red Sox on Friday and sweeping the double header yesterday. Those things remind us that this team is a very good baseball team and could, as constituted, win the whole damn thing.

There is also the truth that making a bad trade is, well, bad, and that you shouldn’t just do something for the sake of doing it. Clearly, whoever they were targeting wasn’t available at the price(s) they wanted to pay and there’s not much wrong with that when it comes to trades.

On the other hand(s), there is still that lingering feeling of frustration. Despite how good this team is, there are legitimate concerns about the rotation and the overtaxation of the bullpen. Multiple times this calendar year, the Yankees have had the opportunity to bolster their pitching and they’ve passed on those opportunities. To their credit, there is legitimate justification for each time they’ve passed, but I can’t help but have questions in my mind about the future.

The Yankees’ competitive window is wide open. They’ve got a young core that’s insanely talented in Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, and Luis Severino. They have a chance to do something special with this group and win multiple championships. But they still need to bolster this core.

For example: Gerrit Cole. The Yankees have long wanted him and this offseason, they will have unfettered access to him in free agency. For the sake of their core, for the sake of winning, they should not let him go if they like him as much as we think they do. They cannot repeat the Patrick Corbin process.

It was probably the right move not to sign Corbin to a six year deal. There are not many pitchers worth that sort of commitment and Corbin likely isn’t one of them. The front office made its evaluation and stuck to it, which is admirable. But it’s possible that pulling the trigger against that evaluation.

Sure, that sounds like an “If tHe BoSs WeRe AlIvE” argument, but I think there’s a logical, rational argument to be made for going a bit beyond your analytical comfort zone if you’re the Yankees.

This isn’t 2013-2016; the Yankees aren’t a middling team with aspirations for a wild card spot at best and sellers at worst. They are on the verge of a championship with a young, cheap core and very few financial commitments in the near and long terms. Spending a bit of front and biting a bullet on the back end could be worth it for a team like that, especially given the on-field and financial incentives for winning big.

Should the Yankees go out and sign every free agent or make every big trade regardless of cost? Of course not. But if they’re on the fence about something, they might want to look at what they have in front of them, this wide open window, and take advantage.

It’s been 20 years since the Yankees had a core like the one they have now. They’ve been searching high, low, far, wide to get it and they finally have it. To do half-measures now, to not fully commit to being the “Death Star,” would be a waste of those talented players and their best and brightest years.


Game 110: Hicks injured as Yankees sweep twin bill with Sox behind Gleyber, bullpen


Game 111: Sweep ’em for Hicksy and the Parrot


  1. dasit

    in the age of 2 wild cards it’s dangerous to think in terms of “multiple championships”
    1996-2001 will never happen again
    not saying this happened, but keeping garcia to increase the odds of future dominance at the expense of 2019 would be silly
    go for it NOW means 2019 not 2019-2023

  2. Unusually balanced take in this article. The Yankees are indeed in the middle of their competitive window. Now is the time to go for it. And as Cashman said the other day, you do sometimes have to overpay a bit. But you also don’t want to prematurely close that window by gutting the farm system for an insufficient return. The fact of the matter is that we don’t know who was available and for what. Cashman, having methodically built this awesome team has earned the benefit of the doubt here.

    • dasit

      it’s human nature to fall in love with players you drafted and developed
      the cognitive distortion of prospect hugging might be the new market inefficiency (can you tell i’m pissed cashman didn’t add a starter?)

    • GhostofCharlesHudson

      I think some lost sight of the fact that-and Cashman emphasized this multiple times-most of the Yankees talent is at the lower levels of the minors, in rookie ball, short season A ball and low A full season. If you look at the returns this deadline, most of the ‘impact’ guys that were traded went for pieces that were either in double A, triple A or the majors. Aside from Frazier, and who knows how rival evaluators view him and and a wet-behind-the-AAA-ears Garcia the upper levels of are pretty much bereft of Top 50 level talent. This is due as much to promotions to MLB as anything else – Judge, Sanchez, Severino, Andujar, German, Loisaga soon enough and eventually Frazier and perhaps Albert Abreu. Plus the fact that injuries have ruined the seasons of a lot of the more highly thought of Yankee prospects (Breux, Sigler, Pereira, A. Garcia, F. Perez, Whitlock, Florial to a degree, Frank German, Otto, Schmidt)….it was just really poor timing to go for the Brass Ring.

  3. Your a Looser Trader FotD

    I disagree about Corbin. I’d say the odds were high that there would be at worst only one ‘bad’ year on a six year deal.

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