By Brendan Kuty and Chris Kirschner
Aug. 2, 2023
NEW YORK — In a room packed with reporters and TV cameras, Brian Cashman sat at a table with a microphone in front of him and folded his hands. The trade deadline had passed. The Yankees general manager had done almost nothing to improve a roster that has so throughly disappointed all season. His attention turned toward how his last-place club would handle the final two months of the season.
“We know that we have better baseball in us,” Cashman said, “although we haven’t shown that and proven that.”
By the end of the night, his Yankees had suffered the kind of defeat that had become all too familiar. They lost, 5-2, to the Rays at Yankee Stadium because they couldn’t hit, their high-priced offseason signing Carlos Rodón was terrible (4 innings, 4 runs) and boos rained from the crowd multiple times, even partially drowning out Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” when the final out had been recorded.
If the Yankees truly have better baseball in them, they’re going to need to start showing it soon. At 55-52, they were 3 1/2 games out of the third and final wild-card spot. The teams ahead of the Yankees battling them for playoff positioning made trades that beefed up their lineups, rotations and bullpens. The Yankees? They traded with the White Sox for a middling reliever in Keynan Middleton, and acquired a failed pitching prospect who the Rangers had put on the DFA scrap heap.
“It’s on us as players,” star Aaron Judge said. “We’re fully capable with the guys we’ve got in this room to go out and compete on a daily basis.”
But compete and win on a daily basis? That hasn’t happened for quite some time.
So, where do the Yankees stand now after an all-time bad trade deadline? Let’s discuss.
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) August 2, 2023
Our trade deadline grades
Kirschner: F. It’s almost a nightly occurrence now where the Yankees offense gets shut down by an opposing team’s starting pitcher, and it doesn’t even matter how good that pitcher’s stuff is. So of course the Yankees added a couple of bats to inject some life into this group, right? Nope. The Yankees added two middle relief pitchers, one of which was optioned to Triple A.
Rays starters Tyler Glasnow and Zach Eflin combined to throw 13 innings, allowing six hits and amassing 13 strikeouts in the first two games of this series. Because they made no external additions, it’s now on Anthony Rizzo, Giancarlo Stanton and DJ LeMahieu to carry this offense, as teams will likely take a cautious approach with Judge.
“They’re professionals,” Cashman said. “They’re obviously extremely talented. Hopefully they’re saving the best baseball for the last few months.”
More troubling for the Yankees this deadline, they appeared to have no direction. They didn’t get better for the future. They didn’t address any of their problems this season. They mostly stood pat, which was the worst course they could’ve taken. This was a failure by Brian Cashman and the front office.
Kuty: I give them an F, too. Look, in hindsight, last year’s Yankees trade deadline also deserves an F, but for a totally different reason. Back then, they acquired Frankie Montas, Andrew Benintendi, Scott Effross and Lou Trivino for a gaggle of prospects. They hardly helped last year, mostly due to injuries, and ditto for this year. But this time around, the Yankees were inactive. The bright side: They won’t regret trading any prospects … because they didn’t trade any of them. But the Yankees didn’t address needs in left field or at third base — problems that should have been addressed in the offseason. They added Middleton, who few Yankees fans knew existed prior to Tuesday. And they kept up with the party line that this team — which sits in last place in the American League East — can and will play better than it has, despite having little evidence to prove that. This was bad.
Our biggest takeaways
Kirschner: Cashman’s most eyebrow-raising comment came when asked to define the direction for the Yankees moving forward. “Obviously, we’re in it to win it,” he said. “So we stayed the course because of that.” How is it obvious that this team is in it to win it? The Yankees are 55-52 in 2023 and 101-101 in their last 202 games. This is a mediocre at best team that has flaws up and down its lineup. Even if the Yankees were to get to the playoffs, this team isn’t advancing far. Cashman has built a team that is relying on several players who have shown serious signs of decline. It’s asking a lot for those guys to look like the versions of themselves from a few years ago. So the declaration of them being “in it to win it” doesn’t compute with the reality of where they stand. There’s a legitimate chance of them missing the playoffs completely, and they could be totally out of the race by the end of this weekend after the Astros come to town with newly acquired Justin Verlander. Oh, Framber Valdez also threw a no-hitter on Tuesday. The Yankees offense is in trouble.
Kuty: You think the Yankees’ problems are bad right now? Wait until next season. Not only did the Yankees not address this year’s roster, they did nothing to fix any of the problems facing them for 2024. For all the signs the Yankees say they have seen that LeMahieu, Stanton and Rizzo can snap out of their season-long malaise, they’ve shown just as many reasons that each might just be in the decline phase of their careers. Stanton is hitting under .200 and he can’t run. Rizzo has hit one home run in two months. LeMahieu is striking out more than ever and, when he’s not, he’s smashing the ball into the ground. With the money they’re making, they’re currently projected to be the heart of the order again next year. That’s a scary proposition. Plus, for all the players the Yankees have coming off the books this year, they didn’t do anything to address those positions. The biggest worry will be at center field, where Harrison Bader will be a free agent and likely seek a multi-year deal, though he hasn’t shown that he’s much more than a defensive specialist.
Under-the-radar things we learned
Kirschner: Cashman acknowledged that upgrading left field has been a position he’s tried addressing but “getting your hands on it is the more challenging aspect.” The Yankees had interest in Cardinals outfielder Dylan Carlson, but St. Louis held on to him. But what was most interesting in Cashman’s response when talking about the left field hole was him discussing being constrained by the payroll.
“What’s been available from the wintertime with the decision we made within the budgets we had — I think this is our highest payroll we’ve had,” Cashman said. “That’s what we had to show for it. We couldn’t push through any further unless we were able to subtract a significant amount to add a significant amount. We’ve relied on the kids and went with the competition going into spring training and it’s led us to where we’re at right now.”
The Yankees have a nearly $300 million payroll but the only actual left fielder they’re currently paying is Aaron Hicks, who’s now with Baltimore. But for Cashman to mention not being able to do something because of a budget that doesn’t have to exist says a lot.
Kuty: When asked if the Yankees have anyone in the minors that could help them in August or September, Cashman brought up center fielder Everson Pereira, ranked No. 51 on Keith Law’s midseason top prospects update. Pereira posted a .908 OPS with 10 homers in 46 games at Double-A Somerset. Then he was promoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he’s had a .941 OPS with five bombs in 19 games. The 22-year-old from Venezuela is also considered a good defender. He might be worth giving a chance to solve the left field problem over Band-Aids Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Billy McKinney. The run would also give him big-league exposure that would come in handy toward speeding up his development in time for 2024.
Kirschner: Where’s the hope that fans are supposed to have with this team moving forward? Judge can’t do it all. Gerrit Cole pitches every five days. Who else is there to get excited about after them? Carlos Rodón has a 6.29 ERA. Anthony Volpe is hitting .208. Jasson Domínguez is not close to making his major-league debut, and neither is Spencer Jones. Unless Steinbrenner wants to add significant payroll and go after Shohei Ohtani in free agency, who is making this team substantially better next season? All of the veterans will be a year older. Game-changing prospects are not on the horizon. This feels and looks like a team stuck in mud and there’s no way out.
Kuty: This team’s everyday lineup isn’t even set. They don’t know who their left fielder is. They don’t have a good answer at third base every day, considering LeMahieu’s struggles. Is Luis Severino, who just called himself the “worst pitcher in the world,” going to stay in the rotation or head to the bullpen? Will Rizzo continue to get everyday at-bats when they could move Jake Bauers, who’s actually hitting, to first base? A hallmark of a good team is stability, and the Yankees are like a two-legged stool. How could the Yankees be convinced that they’re going to play better when they have so many questions about who they’re going to play?
We’re most interested to see …
Kirschner: We have not heard from Hal Steinbrenner since June, when he said he was confused why fans were upset about the state of the team. I’m wondering if he regrets those comments and has gained clarity on why fans continue expressing their disappointment with this team. Steinbrenner doesn’t speak much publicly, but it’ll be fascinating to see if he makes himself available in the coming days/weeks to speak about the state of his franchise, which feels stale.
Kuty: I want to see how the Yankees handle Judge the rest of the way. Here are Judge’s defensive positions/games since he’s returned from the IL: Friday, DH; Saturday, right field; Sunday, rest; Monday, DH; Tuesday, DH. On Tuesday, Boone said that Judge has been dealing with some added soreness in his sprained right big toe that has come with playing again. At the plate, Judge appears to be having no issues. He’s reached base in 10 of his 17 at-bats since Friday (4 hits, 6 walks). But it’s clear he’s not running close to full speed, and Boone said that’s likely because he’s both worried about feeling pain in his toe, and because he doesn’t want to make it any worse. If the Yankees continue to lose, and if they fall farther out of the playoff picture, would they just shut down Judge?
(Top photo of Brian Cashman: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
The New York Yankees entered the trade deadline with many questions and somehow left with more. The Yankees -- the last place Yankees -- made two minor trades at the deadline, picking up relievers Keynan Middleton and Spencer Howard in separate deals, and that's it.What does the MLB trade deadline mean? ›
The Trade Deadline is the last point during the season at which players can be traded from one club to another. The 2023 Trade Deadline falls on Aug. 1 at 6 p.m. ET. Prior to the most recent CBA, the Trade Deadline almost always fell on July 31 at 4 p.m. ET.Can MLB teams still trade after the deadline? ›
As of 2019, there is only one MLB trade deadline. Players can still move teams via waivers, but no trades can take effect after the deadline.In which of these years did the New York Yankees fail to win the World Series? ›
|2004||101-61||Lost AL Championship Series (Won 1 Round)|
|2003||101-61||Lost World Series (Won 2 Rounds)|
|2002||103-58||Lost AL Divisional Series (Won 0 Rounds)|
|2001||95-65||Lost World Series (Won 2 Rounds)|
Ruth, contacted in Los Angeles where Yankees manager Miller Huggins helped secure a contract that would pay the home run king $20,000 per season in 1920 and '21, claimed to be not surprised by sale to New York, adding: “When I made my demand on the Red Sox for $20,000 a year I had an idea they would choose to sell me ...Do the Yankees sell out every game? ›
Since the current Yankee Stadium opened in 2009, most games have NOT sold out. While there are high demand games that do sell out like Opening Day, Old Timer's Day, number retirements and games against high profile opponents like the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets, tickets are generally sold at the door.Can an MLB player refuse to be traded? ›
According to MLB, players can refuse a trade if they have "accrued 10 years of Major League service time and spent the past five consecutive years with the same team".What happens if a baseball player doesn't want to be traded? ›
If a player has been on an active major league roster for 10 full seasons and on one team for the last five, he may not be traded to another team without his consent (known as the 10 & 5 rule). Additionally, some players negotiate to have no-trade clauses in their contracts that have the same effect.Why do baseball players get traded so much? ›
Players move from team to team on the whims and wishes of general managers looking to make their clubs better — be it in the near term, for a pennant push, or down the road. Sometimes these deals happen during the winter months. Other times they happen in-season, most commonly at the July trade deadline.How much is a waiver fee in the MLB? ›
Outright Release Waivers are irrevocable and cannot be withdrawn once they are requested. While a player claimed off Outright Assignment Waivers costs $50,000 (formerly $20,000), a club can claim a player off Outright Release Waivers for the minuscule sum of $1.
MLB trade deadline rumors tracker: Latest on Justin Verlander, White Sox, more. The 2023 MLB trade deadline is Aug. 1, but there's already plenty of buzz across the league.How many times can a minor league player be called up? ›
Only one Minor League option is used per season, regardless of how many times a player is optioned to and from the Minors over the course of a given season. (Players may only be optioned five times per season; after that, it requires outright assignment waivers to assign the player to the Minor Leagues.)What was the Yankees worst season ever? ›
The 1966 New York Yankees season was the 64th season for the Yankees. The team finished with a record of 70–89, finishing 26.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles.Why can t the Yankees beat the Astros? ›
The fact of the matter is the Astros are better than the Yankees at literally everything. Better offense, better pitching, better defense, better baserunning, better decision-making, better player development, better at identifying talent, they're tougher, and they have a championship edge the Yankees so clearly lack.What is the oldest baseball team in the United States? ›
The Cincinnati Red Stockings made their mark as the first openly professional baseball club in 1869. Members of the team would go on to form a club that still plays ball today, the Atlanta Braves.What trades did the Yankees make? ›
|Aug 2, 2023||D. German||Placed on Restricted List|
|Aug 1, 2023||K. Middleton||Traded From Chi. White Sox (for RHP Juan Carela)|
|Aug 1, 2023||W. Calhoun||Refused Minor League Assignment - Free Agent|
|Aug 1, 2023||S. Howard||Traded From Texas (for cash considerations)|
|New York Yanks / Bulldogs|
|New York Yanks / Bulldogs logo|
|Relocated||1951 Became Dallas Texans|
|Based in||New York City, New York, United States|
It all happened on Presidents' Day weekend in 2004, when the Yankees made one of the biggest blockbuster deals they had ever made, trading for Alex Rodriguez. The deal was announced on Valentine's Day, and Rodriguez would be introduced on Feb. 16 inside the Hall of Fame Club at the old Yankee Stadium.