In recent offseasons, the Yankees have preferred trades over free agency to bolster the team’s roster. Sure, there were some noteworthy free agent signings sprinkled in, such as Adam Ottavino and DJ LeMahieu last winter, but the Bombers have made at least one significant trade in each of the previous five offseasons. Take a look:
- Pre-2019: Traded for James Paxton, traded away Sonny Gray
- Pre-2018: Traded for Giancarlo Stanton, traded for Brandon Drury
- Pre-2017: Traded Brian McCann
- Pre-2016: Traded for Aaron Hicks, Starlin Castro, and Aroldis Chapman
- Pre-2015: Traded for Didi Gregorius and Nate Eovaldi
This winter, the Yankees have made two trades: Nestor Cortes to the Mariners and Chance Adams to the Royals. Neither of the moves were earth-shattering.
Considering the Yankees’ behavior in recent years, it’s a little peculiar that the organization hasn’t made a big trade yet. Perhaps this offseason’s lone big splash will prove to be Gerrit Cole, though there’s still time for Brian Cashman and another team’s GM to strike up a deal. And based on rumors, Cashman’s inability to finalize a deal hasn’t been for a lack of trying.
It’s pretty clear that the Yankees would like to trade JA Happ in a salary dump. Alas, there hasn’t been a taker just yet. Teams that struck out on marquee free agent starters may have some interest in Happ as a consolation prize, though his 2019 performance and contract status doesn’t exactly make him an exciting trade target for other clubs.
So Happ is seemingly the most likely player to be moved in a notable trade involving the Yankees, though maybe the Bombers have a trick up their sleeves. Francisco Lindor, anyone? I’m sure the Yankees have been in touch with Cleveland, though one would imagine that such a deal is a longshot. Other teams, namely the Dodgers, appear far more motivated to acquire the shortstop.
But perhaps the crux of the Yankees’ trading activity is that the team has no glaring needs. Does any part of the roster require an upgrade or are there any hole to fill? Not really. Last year, the Yankees needed a starter and traded for James Paxton. This year, the team needed a starter again, but instead of a trade, they signed Cole.
Anyway, all of this is a long way of saying that it’s not a big surprise the Yankees haven’t been active on the trade front in spite of recent history. There’s still a little more than a month until spring training for a trade to go down too. Perhaps Happ will ultimately move or another small trade or two will occur. Someone’s gotta go for to clear space for Brett Gardner on the 40-man roster, after all. But other than that, the current group is probably what the Yankees will bring to Tampa in February.