by Cary Greene
June 14, 2022
I’m beginning to wonder whether or not the 2022 Yankees could be quite content to cruise towards the July 31st MLB Trade Deadline and roll right past it, without making a single trade to “improve” the team.
In a few past articles I’ve suggested the one weakness of this year’s Yankees is that they could be “even better” against right-handed pitching. I’ll state right up front that I think an opportunity exists for Brian Cashman to tweak the Yankee roster with a few simple, low-prospect-cost moves that would put this year’s Yankees on a collision course with the Dodgers in what would be a World Series for the ages.
I’ve long suggested that Brian Cashman should trade for Andrew Benintendi and those rumblings have long been brought up here on SSTN, in fact I think the idea was first brought up by Andy Singer, possibly two full seasons ago if I remember correctly. I’ve also written about it on and off and Ethan even did a piece on this subject the other day. Mainstream media is now also finally writing about what a great fit Benintendi would be on this year’s Yankees and even the Yankees talk shows are bouncing the idea around these days.
Benintendi is a pretty good fit, but Kansas City would have to want to trade him and even though he’s now in his walk year and despite the Royals already being all but out of contention (currently 13.5 games back in the AL Central, which the Yankees are 18-2 against collectively this season), the Royals are after all the Royals. They may still think they have a shot at making the playoffs - who the heck knows with them? They tend to blunder away opportunities to get better and instead have shown a penchant for falsely believing they’re still in contention - when it’s clear that they’re far from being a contender
I proposed a deal with the Phillies yesterday here on SSTN: https://www.startspreadingthenews.blog/post/a-trade-with-the-phillies
In that article, I shared the idea that the Yankees could pull off a separate trade with the Phillies for lefty shortstop Didi Gregorious, lefty catcher Garrett Stubbs, and lights-out righty reliever Seranthany Dominquez.
With a trade like that, the team would seem to have no weaknesses. These moves would be made as a way of making the Yankees invulnerable to tough right-handed pitching, which they’re sure to see in the playoffs, but also, a reliever like Dominguez could make what is already a stellar Yankee bullpen almost a super-bullpen.
Below are 2022 splits (Batting Average and OPS) against right-handed pitching so far this season, for all players concerned. As you can see, these moves would make the Yankees pretty lethal, as if they’re not already, and not one of these moves would be painful in terms of prospects given up as both acquiring Benintendi and looting the Phillies could be done without using top-prospect capital.
2022 Avg & OPS splits vs RHP included below, to emphasize the trade rationale
1. Benintendi LF (.306/.774)
2. Judge CF (.359/1.205)
3. Rizzo 1B (.226/.835)
4. Stanton RF (.260/.873)
5. Carpenter DH (.357/1.685)
6. Donaldson 3B (.260/.773)
7. Gregorious SS (.328/.831)
8. Stubbs C (.310/.927)
9. Torres 2B (.244/.702)
Bench: LeMahieu (.220/.644), Trevino (.278/.764), Hicks (.229/.622),
Goners Would Include: Gonzalez (.190/.477), Gallo (.213/.731) and Higgy (.161/.472)
Player(s) Demoted as a Result: Ron Marinaccio 11.1 IP 12.0 BB% / 34.0 K% (shows he’s got great stuff but that he’s also still struggling with command)
Another course of action entirely could wind up happening at this July’s Trade Deadline and it may involve the Yankees doing absolutely nothing in terms of trades. That’s right, the Yankees might choose to do nothing. Mainly, because they’re so chalked full of depth that they might be able to field a major league team without a single active 26-man roster player on it. Don’t believe me? How would this team look?
1. Inciarte - CF
2. Florial - RF
3. Andujar - DH
4. Bird - 1B
5. Locastro - LF
6. Dietrich - 2B
7. Evans - 3B
8. Peraza - SS
9. Rortvedt - C
Bench: Brantly C, LaMarre OF, Guzman 1B/OF,
The Yankees “second team” might easily finish ahead of the Orioles in the American League East, so what if … the Yankees simply chose to use their depth to plug any holes that injuries might open - from the end of July right on through the remainder of the season and into the stretch-run. The Yankees are easily good enough to get by.
There’s a great chance Zack Britton, Aroldis Chapman and Jonathan Loaisiga are all going to be back in the Yankee bullpen this year. Miguel Andujar has already proven that he’s ready to be called back up as soon as there’s an opening.
There’s also a good chance that Joey Gallo’s OPS will continue to rise to the point where he's a viable contributor for the remainder of the season. Aaron Hicks is also still probably a serviceable 4th outfielder on a World Series contending team.
The Yankees certainly don’t need to make any changes at all. That is how well Brian Cashman built this year’s team. He did a vastly better job than most bloggers and baseball writers really wanted to give him credit for at the beginning of the season.
What if the Yankees simply stand pat at the Deadline and go with what they have? Could they still be perfectly well off and even be considered a favorite to win the World Series?
Or, should the Yankees make a few well thought out moves that would make them even better?
Now is your chance, let me know what you think. Comments on this topic should make for a great discussion.