Remember when the Yankees beat up on the Twins last month? Good times. It felt like just what the doctor ordered for a struggling Yankees team. They played fairly well for a couple of weeks thereafter, only to go back into a slump at the end of June. This current series against the Mariners has a bit of a similar feel to that Minnesota one. After an ugly homestand, the Yanks are beating up on a not-so-good Seattle ballclub away from the Bronx.
Whether or not the Yankees can build off a series win against Seattle remains to be seen, but as I’m about to discuss, the schedule is about to get very tough. So without further ado, I have some thoughts on the team’s upcoming games, the trade deadline, and the amateur draft. Let’s get to it.
The Yankees upcoming schedule will determine how the team behaves at the trade deadline. Take a look at who the Yankees face before the July 30th deadline:
- Today: Seattle
- 7/9 – 7/11: 3 games @ Houston
- 7/12 – 7/14: All-Star Break
- 7/15 – 7/18: 4 games vs. Boston
- 7/20 – 7/21: 2 games vs. Philadelphia
- 7/22 – 7/25: 4 games @ Boston
- 7/27 – 7/29: 2 games @Tampa Bay
Yup, the next few weeks really will be the Yankees last chance, and the eight (!) games against the Red Sox will be the most important of them all in determining the team’s fate. Boston is 6-0 vs. New York already this season and 8.5 games up on the Yanks in the division. If the Yankees falter against the Sox again, the season will be just about over. Well, any division title hopes, at the very least.
It’ll be really interesting to see the team’s playoff odds graph after that stretch. Things could absolutely nosedive or make a huge rebound. Aaron Boone’s already said the season is on the line as it is, but really: no upcoming slate is more important than this one.
By the way, it’s not like they get any reprieve when not playing Boston. Playing in Houston this weekend will be tough, as will be the Trop at the end of the month. The easiest two games will be home against Philly, who are an enigma themselves, but talented.
In a normal season, I’d say that playing .500 over this upcoming stretch would be pretty successful, no? But if they beat Seattle today, then go 8-7 over the next 15 up to the deadline, they’ll be 53-48. That would leave them at an 85-win pace. Basically, the worst spot to be. Probably too good of a record to tear things down, but not necessarily enough to buy.
I can’t say I’m particularly confident in the team going 8-7, by the way. It’s a very tough schedule! Really, the team would have been better buying now (weeks ago, really) if they wanted to right the ship. The wait-and-see approach will make it far more likely that they wind up sellers. I suppose that’s fine rather than trying to band-aid this team, though.
If they sell, who should the Yankees put on the block? The first place to look is the team’s impending free agents. The problem with that: Corey Kluber is the lone one, and he’s hurt. Nonetheless, rentals don’t really fetch big returns anyway. This isn’t 2016 anymore, folks.
The Yankees do have a bunch of free agents after next year: Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, Rougned Odor, Aaron Judge, Gary Sánchez, Jameson Taillon, and Chad Green. Justin Wilson, Darren O’Day, and Brett Gardner could be on the open market too.
Trading Judge or Sánchez would be a mistake. Judge is the team’s franchise player, and for as much of a roller coaster Sánchez can be, catchers don’t grow on trees. If you want to retool to win next year, those guys need to stay.Embed from Getty Images
Next, forget Odor and Taillon: they aren’t getting the Yankees anything at this point. Odor stinks (and is too luxury tax friendly, sigh) and Taillon’s stock has only decreased this season. Wilson, O’Day, and Gardner also have just about no value.
That leaves us with the big bullpen arms in Chapman, Britton, and Green. And uh, given what we’ve seen from Chapman of late and Britton’s recent health, neither are going to get much via trade other than salary relief. So, that basically leaves the Yankees with Green as the most attractive piece. He could actually get a pretty decent haul.
The Yankees could also shop a few other players who are further away from free agency, especially if they want to refurbish the lineup’s balance in terms of handedness. Clint Frazier, Gleyber Torres, and Miguel Andújar are at their nadirs, but I suppose they could go. Gio Urshela or Luke Voit would draw much more interest, however.
All that said: I’m not ready for this team to sell just yet. Let’s see how the Yankees do over the next few challenging weeks. Whether they sink or swim, a lot of these guys can still be traded in the offseason if the Yanks want to retool then. There’s not necessarily a rush to tear down this roster since many aren’t free agents in the winter, anyway.
Yes, trading them in the winter rather than this month could fetch a slightly worse return since a half season of control will be in the rearview mirror, but I’m not so sure that’s going to dramatically alter the quality of trade returns either.
The 2021 Amateur Draft is Sunday. Rohan has done a great job covering a few potential first round options for the Yankees, so do catch up on those posts here. We’ll try to get another profile or two in the coming days, along with a draft primer.
It sure would be nice for the Yankees to actually have a successful first round pick one of these years, huh? Obviously, Aaron Judge was an unmitigated triumph, but that’s now eight years ago! The picks since have left a lot to be desired, though it’s too soon to judge the likes of Austin Wells, Anthony Volpe, and T.J. Sikkema. But every other year before that, other than the Judge pick? Yikes:
|2020||1||28||Y||$2,500,000||Austin Wells (minors)||C|
|2019||1||30||Y||$2,740,300||Anthony Volpe (minors)||SS|
|2019||1||38||Y||$1,949,800||T.J. Sikkema (minors)||P|
|2018||1||23||Y||$2,815,900||Anthony Seigler (minors)||C|
|2017||1||16||Y||$2,184,300||Clarke Schmidt (minors)||RHP||-0.1||0|
|2016||1||18||Y||$3,282,000||Blake Rutherford (minors)||OF|
|2015||1||16||Y||$2,650,000||James Kaprielian (minors)||RHP||1.4||1|
|2015||1||30||Y||$1,800,000||Kyle Holder (minors)||SS|
|2013||1||26||Y||$1,839,400||Eric Jagielo (minors)||3B|
|2013||1||32||Y||$1,800,000||*Aaron Judge (minors)||CF||23.2||503|
|2013||1||33||Y||$1,650,100||*Ian Clarkin (minors)||LHP|
|2012||1||30||Y||$1,200,000||Ty Hensley (minors)||RHP|
|2011||1s||51||Y||$750,000||*Dante Bichette (minors)||3B|
|2010||1||32||Y||$954,000||Cito Culver (minors)||RHP|
Only three of these players have actually made the major leagues! And other than Jordan Montgomery (4th round, 2014), there aren’t many mid-to-late round success stories either. Nick Solak (2nd round, 2016), Taylor Widener (12th round, 2016), Garrett Whitlock (17th round, 2017) are probably the other best non-first rounders in recent memory, and they’re not even with the organization anymore. Solak and Widener turned into Brandon Drury, who turned into JA Happ. Whitlock, as you know, was lost in the Rule 5. Oof.
Simply put: the organization has done an abominable job in replenishing the farm system and major league roster via the draft. Not saying that this is an easy task to do, but sheesh. It’s been pretty bad.