The New York Yankees may have just taken the biggest risk in a decade with the decision to forgo acquiring a starting pitcher, let alone a reliever. Come the trade deadline at 4pm on Wednesday, all was silent from the Bronx Bombers. While the entirety of Deadline Day did not provide an exorbitant amount of wheeling and dealing, some teams certainly made moves to improve their ball clubs for the postseason. This lack of movement by Brian Cashman and the Yankees may have just sealed their fate in preparation for a World Series push.
Cashman told ESPN,
“We didn’t get close to anything. But we certainly knocked on all doors and had a lot of ideas and exchange of ideas with clubs in our effort to improve.”
The simple reason for the lack of moves was that New York was unwilling to part with some of their top prospects. Particularly top pitching prospect, Deivi Garcia, who was wanted by multiple organizations. Even though Garcia is viewed as a key player for the future, the idea of not trading him after all that has been done by Cashman and the Yankees in the lead up to and months into the MLB season is questionable.
The Yankees knew going into the 2019 season that the biggest question mark was the pitching staff. The bullpen was full with talented pitchers that could offer early relief should it be required. The starting rotation, on the other hand, was left to its own devices. Luis Severino suffered a serious injury that looks to be keeping him out the entire season. Jordan Montgomery was always expected to miss the entire MLB season. CC Sabathia is going to retire at the end of the year and has not provided consistent outings for a few seasons now. James Paxton, the lone pitching acquisition during the offseason via trade with Seattle, has not lived up to the billing.
The injury bug has plagued the Bronx Bombers all season. Didi Gregorious, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Miguel Andujar among many others have all been out due to injuries at varying points in the year. As a result, New York made moves to acquire players like Cameron Maybin, Edwin Encarnacion, and Mike Tauchman. Yet pitching was ignored the entire season.
After the abysmal performances by almost the entire starting rotation at some point in the last ten days, desperation was in full force to trade for a starting pitcher. Opposing teams new this and most likely used that knowledge to their advantage on the negotiating table. Unfortunately, a combination of ridiculously high asking prices and an unwillingness to trade top prospects, New York ended up empty-handed.
The lack of acquisitions is even more troubling for the New York Yankees as some of their top competitors got stronger in the lead up to deadline day. Arguably the Yankees greatest threat to win the ALCS are the Houston Astros. The Astros acquired Zach Greinke from the Arizona Diamondbacks at the eleventh hour. Greinke had a no trade clause in his contract which named the New York Yankees so it was not even an option for New York to make a move for him. Yet, players like Marcus Stroman and Trevor Bauer were all moved to competing clubs.
New York is simply stuck with what they have at pitching-namely, a group of talented but extremely flawed and inconsistent players. It is unreasonable to expect Severino to come back and pitch like a top of the rotation pitcher, and with Delin Betances still out, the bullpen will be asked for even more work later on down the line. The batting can make up for the weak pitching in some playoff games, but if any of the pitchers go out and perform like they have in the past week, such as giving up seven or eight runs in the first two innings, then the Yankees may not stand a chance.
Brian Cashman ultimately took a gamble. He did not like the trade options that were available in the lead up to the deadline, and who could blame him. There really was not a bonafide number one rotation pitcher available, except for maybe Madison Bumgarner who does not come without some uncertainty. As a result, Cashman decided to stick with what he has. The Yankees should have no trouble scoring runs, but come the Playoffs they will find it a lot harder to beat teams if they’re pitching rotation has them in a big hole after a couple of innings. New York can of course win the World Series, but, they took a big gamble by forgoing any additions at the deadline. Cashman has put his full faith in the current starters. They just may not be good enough to get the job done.
Photo Credit-Unsplash: Dan Gold