Last year the Yankees waited until the very last minute to finalize a trade for Sonny Gray. The trend of waiting until the end of July to make some big moves continues this season, too! They’ve made a few interesting to deepen their bullpen, showing their reliance on having the right tool for the right job.
Surprisingly Conservative Moves for the Yankees
New York is usually bombastic with their trades, but the two they’ve recently finalized seem somewhat tame. They picked up the Orioles’ closer, Zach Britton, trading away their outfielder Billy McKinney. McKinney is a stellar player, but New York has showed an increased focus on stacking a killer defense by pitching.
The other interesting trade was sending their wildcard, Brandon Drury, to the Jays to pick up J.A. Happ. While neither of these players are poor performers, they’re both somewhat tame trades considering how loud the Yanks usually go at the trade deadline.
Playing it Safe
New York knows that the post-season is where the bullpen really shines. The Yanks are already loaded with great pitchers, from Betances to Chapman to Holder. They have no shortage of great pitchers to help close out games, which makes them a real post-season threat. These conservative moves seem to set them up to take the most advantage of their farm and reap the rewards in later seasons.
That said, trading Drury immediately worked out poorly for the Yanks. While he was barely used during his time on the team, he would’ve been an ideal replacement for Aaron Judge. Judge just went down with a fractured wrist after being hit by a pitch against Kansas City. He joins Gary Sanchez on the disabled list for the Yankees while the team has been stacking up on pitchers.
The team is likely hoping to use Giancarlo Stanton to play the right field, as Clint Frazier, their natural replacement for Judge, is out with a concussion. This means that the Yanks will be relying more on their pitchers than ever before as we move towards the post-season. October is known for the power of the pitcher, but if anything squeaks past them, the New York defense may be in trouble. Experienced sluggers will likely make havoc for the team in the run-up to the end of the season.
That said, the Yankees are still a quality team, and won’t be folding to a few benched players. Between their all-star pitching lineup and great coaching, they should have a solid run of things in the next few weeks.