Earlier this week the New York Yankees traded some minor assets to the last place Chicago White Sox and in return received third baseman Todd Frazier, desperately needed reliever David Robertson, and another reliever Tommy Kahnle who is having a career year. Chase Headley is still manning third base with no end in sight so that thankfully puts Frazier at first base and the Yankees may start receiving production at first. It is obvious Frazier is only going to play the short term role of a stopgap at first until Greg Bird returns; unfortunately it is becoming more apparent that Yankees’ fans will be waiting until next season to see the potential Bird has to offer. After hitting 40 home runs with the White Sox’s last year Frazier will hopefully be able to replicate some of that production in the Yankees’ smaller ballpark.
The Robertson and Kahnle additions were a must; while the Yankees have improved first base, the bullpen has been an outright weakness this year and it did not improve whatsoever as the season progressed. David Robertson should feel at home with New York being that he has spent the majority of his career with the Yankees. Fellow reliever Dellin Betances is having another quality year in pinstripes but it is not the production New York is used seeing from him. Adding Robertson and Kahnle could provide a spark the bullpen needs and will give Betances and closer Aroldis Chapman a break from their heavy workload. Chapman was his usual self in the beginning of the season but after his injury he struggled to find his groove until recently, in his last four appearances he racked two saves and one earned run in four innings pitched. Overall, the Yankees additions thus far could bring the bullpen back to a point of equilibrium and even could strongly improve its overall performance.
New York is in the toughest division in baseball with exception to the fiery NL west. Every team in this division is still in the running to win, the Toronto Blue Jays are in last place and still only sit nine games behind the first place Boston Red Soxs. With that being said, the Yankees still have more work to do. The front office will have to get crafty in their negotiating; while I would like to see a playoff appearances this year going all in would be a mistake, the farm system is still so good and sacrificing promising prospects on short-term veterans would hurt the team’s long-term aspirations. Seeing the Yankees do something similar to what the Toronto Blue Jays did in 2015 when they acquired Troy Tulowitzki and David Price would be most preferred. Not in the sense that they are adding all-stars but rather making moves to improve in the long run. Yankees’ fans can infamously recall what happened after Toronto acquired those players; on July 28, 2015 the Blue Jays were eight games behind the Yankees in fourth place, between then and the end of the regular season Toronto went from 50-51 to an AL east winning 93-69. That is a 43-18 win/loss record. Now being that New York is only 3.5 games back from the Red Soxs they will not need to pull off that kind of dominance. However, a seasoned hitter, which they seemed to already acquire, and a serviceable starting pitcher would be appropriate to repeat their early season success.
Additionally, with Michael Pineda recently down the already shaky rotation looks even more inconsistent. I thought Masahiro Tanaka would eventually come around and start putting out quality performances but it has been a month since then and it has gotten to a point where this season is a failure for him. Among other issues, that is why the Yankees need to look for two starting arms to supplement the rotation. I have been a huge advocate of trading for Oakland Athletics ace Sonny Gray, but the Yankees should have pulled the trigger on that weeks ago when his price was still low. Oakland will not accept scraps for a player who is performing like an ace again, and trading prospects away would be a mistake considering New York already traded three to Chicago earlier this week. Ultimately, for the most bang for their buck the Yankees should look elsewhere for at least one pitcher.
As of now, the Yankees still have work to do before the trade deadline passes. Expect at least one starting pitcher addition and expect that name to not be Sonny Gray. There are still over two months left in the regular season and the Yankees are sitting in a good spot for a run that will allow them to claim their first AL east title since 2012.