While shortstop should be the Yankees’ top priority this offseason, center field is an important position to address as well. Aaron Hicks, who the Yankees signed to a long-term extension a few years ago, has been unable to remain on the field due to a myriad of injuries. Yes, he’s currently healthy and headed to winter ball, but the Bombers could use some insurance, or someone who can bump Hicks into a fourth outfielder role. That’s where Starling Marte comes in.
With Houston’s 7-2 victory over Atlanta in Game 2 last night, the World Series is level at 1-1. I was hoping Atlanta would win, and not because it’s the Astros. Rather, because it would be fun to remind everyone what happened the last time they were up 2-0 in the Fall Classic and headed home for Games 3 through 5.
Ah, yes, that’s the stuff. But hey, at least we can remind everyone that the last time there were World Series games in the state of Georgia (1999), the Yankees also took care of business.
Anyway, I’ve come around to accepting the possibility of the Astros winning the title this year. Obviously, it was never my first choice coming into October, but I’ll be able to be happy for Dusty Baker if his club pulls this off. He absolutely deserves a ring with his body of work. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m openly rooting for the Astros, but the world won’t end if they do win it all.
So, with that, allow me to share some of my Yankees-related thoughts. A lot of this is going to be about a certain article that you presumably read (or read snippets of) this week, so brace yourselves. I’m not going to link to it here, but if you really want to look for it, it’s not hard to find.
It’s that time of the year again. Trade season is about to heat up across MLB over the next month and change. This year, the trade deadline is 4pm eastern on July 30. As we approach that date, we’ll profile a number of players the Yankees should have their crosshairs on in discussions with other ballclubs. Today’s profile: Marlins’ center fielder Starling Marte.
Simply put, the Yankees need to add a center fielder. Aaron Hicks is out for the season and 37 year-old Brett Gardner simply isn’t a viable option. He’s been better of late, but it’s too much to ask of him to play there every day. Estevan Florial isn’t ready. And running out Aaron Judge in center isn’t ideal, either. So with the Marlins out of contention (29-39) and Marte in the final year of his contract, this sure looks like a match made in heaven.
Though we’re all waking up this morning with a more sour Yankee taste than we’d like, the fact remains that the team is in contention. Given that fact and that it’s June, it’s time to look forward to the rest of the year and what can be done to improve the team.
In a surprise not many saw coming, the Yankee offense is the thing in need of improvement. The pitching staff has, for the most part, been excellent and likely won’t need too much tinkering. Luis Severino’s impending return will help bolster it, too. Now, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t look to explore trade options, but the priority needs to be the offense.
With Chris Gittens now called up to (potentially?) plug the first base hole and, thus, move DJ LeMahieu back to second base, the can be kicked down the road a bit and the focus can shift to the outfield, specifically center field, LHB if possible. Beggars, though, can’t be choosers and any outfield help should be considered.
Of those, only Taylor and Marte are listed as CF and both are RHB. One name not listed, perhaps because his contract is pretty friendly–is Ketel Marte of Arizona, who plays center field and is left handed.
If the rest of the Yankee offense were clicking, I’d be okay with going after Taylor, who’s a good defender. But given his offensive profile and what the Yankee offense is doing right now, I think he’s a pass, even if his cost would likely be low. Starling Marte is just a better hitter and, even if he’s right handed, the Yankees have to take a surer thing to get the offense boosted a bit. Ketel Marte offers enough of a sure thing at the plate, too, and he is left handed, something the Yankees sorely need.
While early June certainly isn’t late, the time has come for the Yankees to press things a little bit. With each passing game, it’s harder and harder to say ‘they’ll come around’ or ‘they’ll snap out of it.’ Is it possible their hitters do that? Absolutely. But with their record falling over the last two weeks and few of those hitters showing signs of coming around, it’s time to go get some help.
4:00 p.m. EDT: Ding ding ding. Nothing for the Yankees today, unless we get a surprise late announcement like the Zack Greinke trade last year.
3:40 p.m. EDT: Cashman has a few “narrowed-down” talks for relievers and position players. (Brendan Kuty)
3:39 p.m. EDT: Boston makes a move. Kevin Pillar goes to the Rockies. (Mark Feinsand)
3:34 p.m. EDT: Old friend alert. Milwaukee traded David Phelps to the Phillies. He reunites with another old friend, Joe Girardi. (Ken Rosenthal)
3:19 p.m. EDT: The Yankees aren’t optimistic about getting a deal done, though they’ve been in touch on Gausman, Bundy, and Lynn. (Heyman)
2:58 p.m. EDT: Another deal: Jonathan Villar from Miami to Toronto. (Ken Rosenthal)
2:56 p.m. EDT: The Marlins are close to landing Marte. Take him off the Yankees’ wish list. (Craig Mish)
2:22 p.m. EDT: The Diamondbacks appear likely to move OF Starling Marte for the best deal they can get by 4 p.m. The team does not intend to pick up his 2021 option, so a trade will have to do. (Joel Sherman)
2:07 p.m. EDT: Texas “would love” to get Deivi García for Lynn. Duh. (T.R. Sullivan)
1:52 p.m. EDT: The Blue Jays have acquired LHP Robbie Ray from Arizona. He’s been awful this year, but has been connected to the Yankees in the past. (Rob Longley)
1:41 p.m. EDT: The Yankees have checked in on RHP Kevin Gausman. (Heyman)
1:05 p.m. EDT: The Yankees have been in touch with the Rangers over the last 48 hours regarding Lynn. (Jon Morosi)
12:40 p.m. EDT: The Rangers could be motivated to trade RHP Lance Lynn. The team may regret not dealing Minor last year, so they don’t want to make that mistake with Lynn while his value is high. (Joel Sherman)
12:31 p.m. EDT: Another trade: LHP Mike Minor from the Rangers to the A’s for two players to be named later. Mark another pitcher off the board who could have fit the Yankees. (Jeff Passan)
12:25 p.m. EDT: Radio silence in terms of Yankees-related rumors at this point. As per Martino’s report linked below, it sure seems possible that the Yankees don’t make any moves.
11:15 a.m. EDT: Clevinger is off to San Diego. Cross one target off the Yankees’ list. (Robert Murray)
10:25 a.m. EDT: The prices are too high for the Yankees at the moment. They’re not anywhere close on RHP Mike Clevinger or RHP Lance Lynn. It’s also not clear if San Francisco will move RHP Kevin Gausman. (Andy Martino)
T-minus six hours until the 4 p.m. EDT trade deadline. A number of trades went down yesterday — none of them involving the Yankees — and a few more are sure to occur today. We’ll update this post for any deals made and rumors involving the Yankees throughout the day. Here are the latest Yankees-related rumors:
The Yankees have talked to the Brewers about LHP Josh Hader, but there’s “no traction” there. They’ve also checked in on RHP Mike Clevinger. (Jon Heyman)