The Yankees currently sit at 34-32 after an up and down start to the season.
If New York were not currently in the American League East, the best division in baseball, there would be less concern about whether or not they would make the playoffs. However, with the Rays and Red Sox looking like very good teams and the Blue Jays having a similar record, there are very legitimate concerns about it.
This is something many did not think would be in the realm of possibility during the offseason. But now, with about a month and a half before the trade deadline, the coming weeks could decide the fate of whether the Yankees buy or sell.
A few good weeks of at least decent baseball, and we will likely hear the Yankees in talks for center field targets like Ketel Marte or Starling Marte. After a few bad weeks and falling further down in the standings, we might see some pieces go to set the team up best to compete in 2022 as they did at the 2016 trade deadline by trading Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller.
General Manager Brian Cashman spoke yesterday would indicate that the Yankees are looking to be buyers now. Cashman pretty much said everything to indicate that and made it clear that he is trying to get solutions to some of the problems on this team as soon as possible.
So, is it possible that we see a trade happen well before the deadline?
What I would expect to happen is for the Yankees to be buyers because as ugly as this recent stretch has been, I do not see them dropping so far out of wild card contention that Hal Steinbrenner or the front office will want to give up on this season.
What I do not expect them to do is go over the luxury tax this deadline. There were some hints that it is always a consideration for Steinbrenner. Still, after working so hard to structure contracts in the offseason to stay under the threshold, I can not see them making all of that work pointless by going over at the trade deadline. If they wanted to go over the threshold, they might as well have just gone over it in the offseason for more expensive but better and more reliable players.
That does not mean that there are no trade possibilities; as mentioned before, Ketel Marte and Starling Marte both fit the need of a center fielder. Ketel Marte would take a substantial prospect haul but would be a piece that helps the Yankees in both the short and long term as he is under team control until 2024. He also plays both middle infield positions.
Despite the flaws the Yankees have, and the disappointing season so far, they are still very much in contention, and we might see some help in the way of trade soon.
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