The Yankees currently find themselves in a down. Baseball is filled with ups and downs, and teams may find themselves in one or the other at any given point in the season. This causes overreactions galore and it’s best to just let the season play out, at least well past May, before panicking or rejoicing. With that being said, the Yankees are coming off a three-game sweep at the hands of the lowly Tigers after losing two of three to the Blue Jays.
It’s important to note, however, that before that the Yankees had won six in a row, including a sweep of the then Major League-leading Chicago White Sox. Either way, whether they’re sweeping great teams or losing to other teams, the Yankees do need help in certain positions. Upgrading at the trade deadline is always on the radar of contending teams, holes or not.
But the Yankees do have holes. Glaring holes, even. The loss of Corey Kluber (for a minimum of eight weeks) stings. The loss of Aaron Hicks for the season leaves a gaping hole in the middle of the outfield. Luke Voit has hurt again, though it’s not likely the Yankees will target a first baseman since Voit isn’t seen as a long-term loss.
With Luis Severino’s return nearing, he remains a question mark. Expecting him to return and be the dominant ace he was is far-fetched. In time, he has a good shot to return to form, but immediately after injury gives pause to that notion. Behind Gerrit Cole, the rotation needs help, especially without Corey Kluber, who was returning to CY Young form.
With that being said, here are some possibly trade targets the Yankees may want to look into in the next month or two:
Joey Gallo, Rangers OF
Gallo, slashing .216/.367/.765, is having a down year for the Rangers, though that OPS is still above the league average. His 122 wRC+ is a welcome sight, though and 9 home runs so far are something that will draw the Yankees’ eye. A left-handed power bat in Yankee Stadium is something the Yankees have long sought after.
Add to that the fact that Gallo can play corner outfield and corner infield, and you’ve got someone the Yankees could really use. He’s been an average defender in the outfield this year, but over his career, he’s been a plus defender out there, and while not good, a serviceable defender at the corner infield positions. He’s been rumored to the Yankees, and if the Rangers continue to struggle, this just might happen.
Trevor Story, Rockies SS
Story is one of the prizes of the upcoming free-agent class, and with the Rockies in the basement again, the star infielder is probably the most likely player to get dealt at the deadline. That, along with his talent, is going to drive his price through the roof. Lots of teams are going to be in on Story. His down numbers might drive his price back down just a little, but he’s still going to take a lot to trade for.
The Yankees have been linked to him for a while by the Yankees being linked to nearly every top free agent in each class. Bryce Harper, Manny Machado ring a bell? Story is no doubt leaving Colorado, but is it New York he’s bound for?
Maybe, but the Yankees would need to do some shuffling to make this happen. Maybe Voit gets packaged and sent to Colorado and the Yankees shift both Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu to the left, but if not the Yankees will have two shortstops and no clear plan on what to do with them.
German Marquez, Rockies SP
Marquez might be a bigger trade piece for Colorado than Story. Marquez is under team control through 2024 and quite simply, he’s good. Pitching numbers are always inflated in Colorado, but he’s been the Rockies’ best pitcher for a while now. The Yankees, while not in as desperate a need for pitching as they are for offense, could use a strong number two behind Gerrit Cole sans Corey Kluber. The price might be high, but Marquez will probably outplay his numbers once leaving Colorado.
Adam Frazier, Pirates 2B
Pittsburgh is a mess and it’s highly likely they sell at the deadline. If that’s the case, Adam Frazier has driven his return up with a stellar season thus far. His 140 wRC+ is great, but so is his traditional slash of .332/.391/.862. His strikeout rate is a mere 10.9%, offering a high contact, low strikeout left-handed bat.
The Yankees need left-handers, albeit power bats are more helpful. Still, the Yankees should be in on Frazier. His infielder status makes things complicated, but Frazier has played the outfield, so perhaps the Yankees stick him there rather than trotting Miguel Andujar out to left field every so often.
Anthony Santander, Orioles OF
Santander has hit 31 home runs in 130 games over two seasons and sported a 132 wRC+ in 2020. He seems to be one of the players the Orioles may wanna start building around. After all, at some point, you have to stop flipping everyone for prospects and start holding on to people.
Otherwise, the Yankees should be all over O’s starting pitcher John Means. However, Santander was dangled in the offseason and it appears Baltimore is content to ship him off. The Yankees should look into it, given their need for a switch-hitting outfielder since Aaron Hicks went down.
Ketel Marte, Diamondbacks OF
Marte is having another brilliant season, posting a 143 wRC+ and slashing .328/.370/.907. His primary position is center field, something the Yankees have been desperately searching for in the wake of Hicks wrist surgery. His secondary position is basically all of the infield, making him practically everything the Yankees need. Did I mention he’s a switch-hitter?
The Yankees should be all in on getting him, which will come at a price but he’s another big candidate to get moved given how Arizona has struggled mightily. If the Yankees at all can acquire Marte, their outlook is suddenly a lot brighter.
The Yankees have lots of holes. Though both their catchers are two of only four Yankees who are hitting above league average this year, Gio Urshela and DJ LeMahieu have dipped below 100 wRC+ leaving only Kyle Higashioka, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, and Aaron Judge as the only above-average hitters the Yankees have right now. Still, neither has blown anyone away, and platooning will work for now, but an upgrade there would be helpful. It’s unlikely, though, because not many teams have good catchers they’re willing to part with.
Outfield, aside from Judge, has been abysmal for the Yankees this year. Pre-injury, Aaron Hicks was at 80 wRC+. Clint Frazier has stumbled to a 75 so far and is struggling mightily with no end in sight. Tyler Wade, who plays outfield in emergencies (aka this year), has a 69. Brett Gardner has 53 and Miguel Andujar has 51. Safe to say, the outfield requires desperate help. The Yankees may need it here more than anywhere.
First base has been a black hole, though Voit (who struggled before returning to the IL) getting healthy likely helps that. For now, the duo of Mike Ford and DJ LeMahieu has posted 71 and 97 wRC+, respectively.
Essentially every position besides catcher, right field (if it’s Aaron Judge). and DH (if it’s Giancarlo Stanton) has been putrid. You can reasonably expect third base, shortstop, second base and first base to pick it up, as Gio Urshela, Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu, and Luke Voit are all good hitters that will likely not finish a season below 100 wRC+. Either way, the Yankees need help, and these guys should be targeted.