The New York Yankees have struggled this year. That’s no secret, and anyone who has followed them this season would tell you that. Although they are four games over .500 at the time of writing, they still find themselves 5.5 games back in their division. This all comes despite the fact that their roster reflects a high likelihood for a deep postseason push. However, if the season ended today, they would not even find themselves in the postseason.
Prior to the season, PECOTA predicted that the Yankees would win 97 games and gave them an 81% chance to win the division. As it stands now, however, the Yankees are on track to win only 86 games and miss the postseason altogether. To say that this would be a disappointment would be an understatement.
I am not here to just rip on the Yankees’ shortcomings. Rather, I would like to spell out a way for the Yankees to turn their season around, and maybe even finish the season exceeding expectations. There are three main ways that the Yankees can do this, and I would like to examine them today.
Call-Ups the New York Yankees can make
The Yankees have already let one of their top prospects see the field on the professional level. The number-two prospect for the Yanks, Clarke Schmidt, pitched in three games last season. However, Schmidt injured himself during Spring Training in 2021. This injury was severe enough to land him on the 60-day IL, so it’s safe to say that he will probably not be back any time soon. However, Schmidt could be a valuable asset for the Yankees when he returns.
Not many of the Yankees’ top prospects are old enough to reach the major leagues, as many of them are only around eighteen or nineteen years old. However, their third-overall prospect is highly-touted pitcher Deivi Garcia. Garcia has already seen time in the majors but is now back in AAA to continue to develop. However, if Garcia hits a hot streak in the minors and is called up to continue it in the big leagues, he could become a difference-maker for the ball club.
While both of these prospects can help the Yankees’ pitching staff, they could also use help with hitting. The perfect man for the job is 23-year old Estevan Florial, their tenth-overall prospect. Florial has seen some time in the majors already and could provide some much-needed outfield depth for the Yankees, especially since staring centerfielder Aaron Hicks is on the 60-day IL. During Florial’s short tenure with the major league ballclub, he saw some success, recording a career slash line of .333/.333/.500.
Trades the New York Yankees can make
The Yankees are a team that is not afraid to go big or go home. The front office has never shied away from making a splashy move, which is exactly what I predict that the Yankees do this trade deadline. Although the Yankees have the seventh-best pitching staff in the league according to ERA, this can always be improved. If the Yankees are willing to dish out valuable assets to go the distance, I believe that they can assemble an unstoppable pitching staff that will help lead them deep into the postseason. For that reason, I believe that they should do whatever it takes to acquire Nationals ace, Max Scherzer.
While there has apparently not been any communication between New York and Washington regarding this trade, it is entirely possible. The Yankees have the money and the assets to pull it off, and Washington has reason to deal with him. The Nationals are currently in fourth place in the National League East and are seven games behind the first-place Mets. If by July they find themselves essentially out of the postseason race, Washington could look to trade Scherzer. He will hit free agency this winter, making him a rental. If this is the case, the Yankees would be the perfect candidates to acquire Mad Max.
To continue the theme of blockbuster trades that the Yankees should make, I believe that they should do whatever it takes to acquire Colorado Rockies superstar Trevor Story if the opportunity presents itself. Like Scherzer, Story plays for a team that is not in postseason contention. He would also be a rental, so he would likely be in play around the trade deadline.
Story is more than worth whatever the Yankees would have to give up for him. He is a career .275/.341/.527 hitter, he can hit for power, as evidenced by his 37 home runs in 2018, and he also has abundant speed, as he led the league in stolen bases (15) and triples (4) in 2020. Ultimately, Story would be a major difference-maker for the Yankees’ offense.
Lineup Changes the New York Yankees can make
There is not much that the Yankees can do with their current lineup that they haven’t already tried–injuries certainly limit them. However, things would open up greatly if they were to make either of these trades.
The acquisition of Max Scherzer would work perfectly for the Yankees. This is because starter Corey Kluber recently hit the 60-day IL, so he will not be back for a good amount of time. Therefore, Scherzer would be able to fill this role without the Yankees having to turn to an unorthodox method of filling their rotation.
If the Yankees made the move to trade for Trevor Story, they would be given a lot of room to experiment with their infield. This is because Story, a career shortstop, would likely push out current Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres. However, Story can also play the hot corner, which is where Gio Urshela currently plays for the Yankees. Story could fill either of these positions well, allowing the Yankees to give rest to either Torres or Urshela. Alternatively, the Yankees could shift either of these players to second base to give DJ LeMahieu relief. Ultimately, the acquisition of Trevor Story would not only bring some much-needed star power to the Yankees lineup but also work as a depth move, giving them the freedom to restructure their infield.
The Yankees have been struggling this year. They’ve lost games that they should’ve won, and their team is just not living up to expectations. However, if they look to make any or all of these moves that I have listed here, they should be in good shape towards making a push to win a championship this November.