The Yankees needed a bat more than a pitcher, but got neither at the trade deadline

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With the trade deadline come and gone, the Yankees have no help on the way other than hoping for the returns of injured players. Considering the frequency of injuries since last season, that’s a lot to hang your hat on. We’ve already seen Aaron Judge’s injury recurrence. Who’s to say that won’t happen with Giancarlo Stanton or James Paxton? The Yankees could have added some insurance via trade yesterday, but ultimately, nothing came to fruition. It was apparent that the team balked at costs, most notably on the pitching side of things. Per Andy Martino, the ask for Lance Lynn and Mike Clevinger was sky high:

This year might have seen the highest deadline prices yet. According to league sources, the Texas Rangers and Cleveland Indians were asking for two of Clint FrazierDeivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt for Lance Lynn and Mike Clevinger, respectively.

If that’s accurate, I can live with not dealing for a starter. The Yankees would have had to either: a) give up two potential long-term rotation arms or b) give up one long-term rotation arm and actively hurt the offense this year by trading Frazier. B is untenable given the offense’s current status, which leaves you with A. Dumping García and Schmidt for either Lynn through 2021 or Clevinger through 2022 would have been a tough pill to swallow. I can’t blame Cashman for not pulling the trigger there.

I know it feels like the Yankees have a pitching problem — and don’t get me wrong, it could be better — but the offense is the real culprit of late. There are no shortage of guys slumping (Gary Sánchez) or guys banged up (Gio Urshela, Luke Voit). Then there are players like Mike Tauchman, who’ve lost the magic from a year ago. Same goes for Mike Ford.

To illustrate the team’s lack of a pitching problem, at least in comparison to the offense: the Yankees have allowed just 4.21 runs per game this year, which is 8th-best in baseball. That’s barely behind the pitching-heavy Rays, who sit at 4.08. Meanwhile, the offense has averaged 3.6 runs per game since August 16th. Remember, Judge and Stanton aren’t coming through the door anytime soon. Gleyber Torres seems closer, but it’s not like he was hitting all that well when he was healthy.

Oh, and need I mention Luke Voit’s “foot stuff”? Imagine if that gets any worse and he needs to spend time on the injured list. This offense is teetering and it’s essentially led to division title hopes going up in flames, especially after yesterday’s loss to Tampa Bay. So for me, not getting at least one bat was far more disappointing than passing on Lynn or Clevinger.

The Yankees reportedly went after Starling Marte, but he wound up with the Marlins. Miami traded Caleb Smith and two prospects for Marte. I know Smith had a nice run in 2018, but the 29 year-old lefty hasn’t been special since. I’m not going to pretend I know much about Humberto Mejía or Julio Frias, the prospects sent to Arizona. Neither played above High-A last year, though Mejía has gotten some big league time this year out of necessity given the pandemic. The Yankees couldn’t beat that?

There’s nothing to do now other than sit back and hope for the best. Maybe there is a little bit of Next Man Up magic that’ll resurface in the coming weeks, but frankly, I’m having a hard time being optimistic. As many have said, that novelty has worn off quickly. Trading for a hitter might not have been a panacea, but there’s no doubt it would have been a boost.

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1 Comment

  1. Brian M

    I wouldn’t pay anywhere close to that price for Lynn. But Clevinger? I think Deivi and Clint for him would’ve been a steal on our part, especially since he’d be ours through 2022 and he’s arguably the best pitcher in baseball. You can’t expect a guy of his caliber to come cheap. And sure it would hurt our offense, but assuming everyone is healthy come the playoffs (always a big if with this team) Clint would be riding the bench anyway. Who would have a bigger impact for us in a short 3 game series (and the remainder of the playoffs), a bench bat or a bonafide ace?

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