People involved in making decisions about what the trade landscape will look like as the Aug. 31 deadline approaches believe the Yankees won’t add a difference-maker to their lineup.
With 16 teams making the postseason, a sub .500 club at the deadline could believe it has a chance to play in October even if it means grabbing an eighth seed. In other years, teams out of contention by the normal July 31 trading deadline are ready to deal.
Plus, according to a source, if there are deals made, it will involve pitching, not hitting.
“Everybody needs pitching. This year you can get away with playing extra-type position players,’’ an AL talent evaluator said Monday. “But you can’t get by without pitching. If you get a pitching injury or a guy goes bad, you have to be able to replace them.’’
With the expanded postseason and more teams believing they have a chance to play in it and it gets hard to foresee deadline deals. Then there is asking players to switch teams during a pandemic.
“It is really going to be difficult. I don’t see how teams will pull it off,’’ an NL scout said of making deals. “It’s a short season, so much uncertainty and so many concerns of the health of pitchers. How do you know pitchers are healthy and stretched out?’’
Adding to the uncertainty is that acquiring prospects becomes dicey because the only data on them is from 2019 because the minor leagues aren’t playing.
So, if the Yankees are going improve their lineup Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, Aaron Hicks and Brett Gardner must hit better than they have across the first 16 games of the season. Not only that, but Giancarlo Stanton was hitting .293 with three homers, seven RBIs and a 1.038 OPS in 14 games when he landed on the IL on Sunday with a left hamstring problem. Stanton underwent an MRI on Monday.
Clint Frazier is on the way back to The Bronx, but he can’t be asked to pick up the slack left in the lineup by Sanchez, Torres, Hicks and Gardner.
The most puzzling of that quartet is the 23-year-old Torres, who is batting .103 (4-for-39) and is 3-for-32 (.094) with a .272 OPS in his past nine games.
“They started hitting him third, and he tried to hit home runs,’’ a scout said. “He is not the same guy. The swing has gotten longer.’’
In nine games batting third, Torres hit .161 (5-for-31) with a .493 OPS. He hasn’t hit third since Aug. 5 against the Phillies.
When the Yankees were in Washington and had played one game a scout’s rundown of the team was different than it is now with the Yankees (10-6) having dropped four of five entering a two-game series against the NL East-leading Braves at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night.
“It doesn’t look like they need help at the major league level,’’ the scout had said then. “They are good and they are deep.’’
Sixteen games in, replace “are” with “were” twice in the previous quote.
Sanchez is hitting .103 (4-for-39) with a homer, three RBIs, a .427 OPS and 22 strikeouts. Hicks is at .211 (8-for-38) with a homer, three RBIs and a .756 OPS. Gardner is batting .206 (7-for-34) with three homers, a .789 OPS.
Though the Yankees are used to playing without Stanton and excelled doing that last year, it becomes more difficult if Sanchez, Torres, Hicks and Gardner don’t hit better because lineup help likely isn’t on the way.
Source: New York Post
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