With a little more than two months to go in the season, the Yankees find themselves 6.5 games back in the division and 4 games back from the second wild card spot. Obviously the division is a bit out of reach, but many have argued that the Yankees still have a fighting chance at the wild card. However, after trading Aroldis Chapman earlier this week and the trade deadline just a couple days away, the Yankees are faced with the question of whether to trade off their assets or go for a playoff push.
If you’ve read my articles before (or checked the bio down below) you know I’m a Yankee fan. There is nothing I would want more than to see the Bronx Bombers playing in October this year. But, I’m also a realist. According to Baseball Prospectus, the Yankees have an 10.5% chance to make the playoffs as of right now. Aside from having one of the better bullpens in baseball (even without Chapman), the Yankees do not have the hitting or starting pitching to remain in the wild card race for the rest of the season. I hope that I’m wrong, but I don’t think so. Their team batting average currently ranks 21st in the league at .249 and their starting pitching is wildly inconsistent. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a bad team, they just dug themselves into too deep of a whole to climb out of.
At the very least, my advice is to try and deal Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran. McCann is definitely a tough sell at this point. At 32 years old, the Georgia native has seen better days. However, his power numbers still remain decent with 15 homers and 41 RBIs thus far. Not to mention he is also a veteran pitch caller. If the Yankees can find a possible suitor for McCann I think they should pull the trigger. One option could be the Mets. If the Mets fail to score a deal that would give them Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, they should put some serious consideration into going after McCann. Travis d’Arnaud has been every bit as disappointing for the Mets this year both offensively and defensively. If the Mets landed McCann, they would add another power bat to their lineup and veteran pitch caller for their rather young rotation. McCann isn’t getting any younger and now is probably the most value the Yankees would be able to get out of trading him.
Plenty of teams are interested in Carlos Beltran, especially in the American League, and I think he’s a must trade at this point. Batting .305 with 21 home runs and 62 RBIs, Beltran has been the lone bright spot in a pedestrian Yankees’ lineup. He provides versatility by flaunting his production both as an outfielder and a designated hitter. Two teams that initially come to mind that are in need of Beltran’s services are the Indians and the Royals. The Indians make the most sense because they are poised for a playoff run and are in need of a bat. Moreover, Michael Brantley’s injury leaves them in need of an outfielder. Ranking 5th in the league with a 3.65 ERA, the Indians pitching staff is dynamite, but if they want to go for a championship this season they will need to increase their offensive production. As for the Royals, it would be a long shot for them to sneak into the post-season, but they are in need of a right fielder and are now without Alex Gordon for several weeks. Plus it would be nice to see Beltran return to the team that drafted him. Beltran becomes a free agent at the end of the season and, at 39 years old, it would be best if the Yankees let him go now and receive some value in return.
Whether or not the Yankees trade Andrew Miller is an interesting question. Miller has been one of the best relief pitchers in baseball the past two years. Not only that, but his contract only has him making $9 million a year through 2018. For being one of the best relievers in baseball, that’s pretty cheap. After missing out on landing Chapman, the Nationals are motivated to get Miller. I think the Yankees have the right strategy with this Miller conundrum. Essentially they are holding him for a king’s ransom. As the days go by and the Nationals get more and more desperate, I think they could very well meet the Yankee’s high price. I would hate to see Miller go, but at the right price I think it might be worth it.
I don’t believe the Yankees necessarily have to trade off all their assets and give up on a playoff push, but they should face reality. Chances are, they won’t make the playoffs. So why not set your team up for the future? Even if they only trade Beltran, they will receive value for a player who should be way out of his prime. It’s time to take the necessary steps in preparing for the future and anything that comes out of this season is icing on the cake.