Where Do The Yankees Go From Here?
Stuck in Limbo?
As the clock struck 6:00 PM Eastern Standard Time on August 1st, Yankee fans across New York were awaiting the announcement of what deals GM Brian Cashman had made. The news that the only trades made by the Yankees front office were for pitchers Spencer Howard and Keynan Middleton sent Yankees twitter into a frenzy. The 56-52 Yankees not making any trades to bolster their struggling lineup was a shock to many fans, as the team is currently only 3.5 GB from a Wild Card spot.
On the surface, it is very easy to criticize Cashman and the Yankees for not making any significant moves at the deadline; however, it is much more complex than it seems.
The Yankees, despite having their worst season since 2016, realistically had no reason to be "sellers" at the deadline. The Yankees just inked Aaron Judge to a massive 9-year deal worth $360 million last offseason and are still paying Gerrit Cole and Giancarlo Stanton hundreds of millions for at least the next 5 years. Considering Cole and Judge are arguably the best at their respective positions right now, it would be hard to justify going into rebuild mode like their neighbors in Queens. Additionally, the Yankees were in the ALCS last season and are still very much in the playoff push this season, so it is much more reasonable to be mad at the Yankees for not buying than not selling.
While it is more reasonable to be disappointed in Cashman for not going all in for the second half, that take is not fully justified. The Yankees have, for a very long time, held their top prospects, Anthony Volpe, Jasson Dominguez, and Oswald Peraza, in such high regard that it is now almost impossible to trade them. The front office has been unwilling to part ways with their top prospects for much better and longer-term players than those who were made available at this year’s deadline, so it makes sense that Cashman did not want to give up too much for rental players. For example, at the trade deadline last year, the Yankees were hesitant to part ways with these prospects to acquire Juan Soto from the Padres. None of the players that were moved at this year’s deadline were even close to the caliber of player that Soto is. In addition, the Yankees have so many problems in their lineup that the acquisition of a player like Tommy Pham or Mark Cahna would have most likely not moved the needle and would have cost too much to justify the move.
The Yankees are in a very interesting spot, as they have a number of aging stars but also a decent number of young prospects who the front office sees as untouchable. The Bronx Bombers have been a winning team for over 30 years now (their last losing season came in 1992), so it is not unreasonable to have faith in Cashman to figure it out and help build a squad that can lead the Yanks to the promised land.