This story was excerpted from Bryan Hoch’s Yankees Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.
The activity in advance of baseball’s Trade Deadline was impossible to miss, flickering across the television screen anchored above the visiting manager’s desk at Camden Yards this weekend. Max Scherzer and Jordan Montgomery were swapped to the Rangers, the Blue Jays acquired Jordan Hicks, and the Yankees … well, stay tuned.
There was hope that this weekend would provide clear direction to general manager Brian Cashman and the front office, who still had not firmly established a route as the club arrived in Baltimore. More likely, it was thought, Cashman would attempt to both buy and sell in advance of Tuesday’s 6 p.m. ET Deadline — improving the club while potentially trimming some of the sport’s second-highest payroll.
“You see it with interest, of course, being in the game and following the sport,” said manager Aaron Boone. “But in the end, our focus is on getting our guys going and trying to win a series against a really good team. I see it, I acknowledge it, but it’s not something for me to worry about. We’ve got to get our guys ready to go.”
Boone said that, no matter what Cashman and his lieutenants are able to pull off before Tuesday, the Yankees already feel like they have made acquisitions. Aaron Judge made an immediate impact in his return to the lineup, including a 3-for-5 performance on Saturday that included a homer, and Nestor Cortes and Jonathan Loáisiga are progressing in their respective Minor League rehab assignments.
Yet the Yankees would feel better about their chances of securing a postseason berth with a few additions. Cody Bellinger seemed an ideal fit, but the Cubs are hanging on to him, shifting the Yanks’ attention to other choices such as the Cardinals’ Dylan Carlson. Catcher and bullpen help are also areas of interest.
“I’ve had a couple of years here where we haven’t done anything [at the Trade Deadline],” Judge said. “It’s out of our control. We’ve had some years here where we stick with who we’ve got. We have years where we get some bullpen arms, starters, a big bat. You never know what they’re going to do. It comes down to us doing our job on the field and letting them take care of the rest.”
Last season was largely a whiff at the Deadline for the Yankees: Andrew Benintendi, Scott Effross, Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino all were slammed by injuries, and Benintendi did not re-sign.
Harrison Bader (acquired for Montgomery) had a monster postseason, but has had up-and-down results this year. Clayton Beeter (acquired for Joey Gallo) has turned out to be a nice pickup, now ranked as the club’s No. 13 prospect by MLB Pipeline.
Unlike some managers, Boone said he does not envision approaching the front office to push for trades.
“I think it’s a slight to the people we have in our room, that I feel like are totally capable of still reaching all of our hopes and dreams,” Boone said. “I’m not going to go lobby for something that may or may not happen. Then if something doesn’t happen, then what? I know our guys individually and our team feels very confident in our ability to get right and play a high level of baseball these final two months. That’s how I look at it.”