The 2021 New York Yankees have been awful, and there is no way around it. In an AL East Division that saw the rival Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays massively improve, the Yankees have not been able to keep up. At the moment, teams like the Seattle Mariners and Cincinnati Reds have better records. In New York, that is not acceptable.
Aaron Judge has been great. Giancarlo Stanton has been streaky (but fine) and Gary Sanchez has had a nice rejuvenation. However, there are problems everywhere else. Gleyber Torres has been a below replacement-level player. Gerrit Cole and Aroldis Chapman have struggled since the sticky-stuff crackdown. There are a lot of questions surrounding this team, and general manager Brian Cashman has to maneuver them while potentially being on the hot seat.
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Rank: Fourth in AL East, 9.0 GB
Status: Buyers and Sellers
A better status would be “it’s complicated”. The Yankees do not sell. The last time they did was in 2016, but they were immediately good the next season. They also are not out of playoff contention just yet. New York is capable of going on a run, but that has not happened yet this year. However, if more of the tough losses that they have encountered this year start to build up, they could sell. Unfortunately, they do not have the pending free agents to sell off, so they would have to get creative. Just like 2019 and 2020, expect Cashman to do next to nothing, much to the ire of the Bronx faithful.
Joey Gallo, OF, Texas Rangers
Given that the Yankees are not guaranteed to make the playoffs this year, any buyer move should be for a player with term. That applies to Gallo, who will not be a free agent until after 2022. He could also be sold at next year’s deadline. So far this season, Gallo has been amazing. He already has eclipsed the 20 home-run mark, with a 143 wRC+. His .391 OBP and 19.5 BB% destroy the criticism of his 31.7 K%, which is actually the best of his career. Are you traditional and like batting average? Gallo’s .234 would be about the median on this Yankees team. He is great defensively in the outfield, something this team desperately needs. There will be tons of interest, and the price would be enormous. But Gallo would bring everything the Yankees need, especially a left-handed power bat at Yankee Stadium.
Adam Frazier, UT, Pittsburgh Pirates
Frazier is in the same boat as Gallo; he is set to become a free agent after next year. Also a left-handed bat, without nearly having Gallo’s power and just four home runs on the season. Frazier is having a career season on the lowly Pirates, carrying a stat-line reminiscent of 2019-20 DJ LeMahieu. Frazier leads the MLB with 107 hits. He also has a .396 OBP with a .855 OPS. Frazier can play second base, but also has experience in left field and center. Left would most likely be his future in New York, unless they want to risk things in center. Doing that would stop them from having to unload Clint Frazier somewhere. Suitors include the Red Sox and White Sox. The Pirates do not have a ton of pieces, so they will shoot for the stars in negotiations. Think something similar to the Joe Musgrove deal from this past offseason.
Aroldis Chapman, LHP, New York Yankees
No, this is not a sarcastic remark about Chapman’s play as of late. This is the big option if New York decides to sell. The all-star closer will be a free agent after next year along with Judge, Sanchez, Zack Britton, and many more. At least one of that group should be traded if the Yankees are sellers to make things easier on them in the coming months. Chapman is the best option. He is experienced and was the best pitcher in baseball through June sixth. In 23 outings up to that point, Chapman was unhittable, allowing just one earned run. Since then? Yikes. He has allowed 14 earned runs in his past ten games. His ERA has skyrocketed up to 4.55. Trading him now would be selling low. The team would not get a blue-chip prospect as they did in Gleyber Torres when they traded Chapman five years ago. Still, a B-rated prospect or two could be a return for Chapman, as long as the Yankees eat some of the money he is owed. His next few innings will be key in determining his future, and the Yankees’ future as a team.
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