Monday night, with the Yankees reeling from that disaster series at Fenway Park, Lance Lynn stepped up and fired 7.1 shutout (and dominant) innings against an admittedly terrible White Sox team to get the Yankees back in the win column. He allowed a walk and two soft singles, and retired 19 straight batters at one point. Lynn was great. “I needed to show up today,” Lynn said, and he did.
It has only been a week since the trade deadline and, so far, the three pitchers the Yankees acquired have been good. Yeah, Zach Britton blew the save last night, but the three pitchers (Britton, Lynn, J.A. Happ) have combined to allow four runs in 22.1 innings. Can’t complain about the aggregate. The Yankees wanted to land an ace-caliber starter and, when that guy wasn’t available, they went for depth.
The three pitchers were the only notable additions Brian Cashman made at the trade deadline. He did effectively swap out Tyler Austin for Luke Voit, which is a lateral move of Quad-A proportions. The Yankees were said to be in the mix for an outfield bat, possibly even a catcher, but came up empty. “We kicked the tires on a lot of different things,” said Cashman, noting the price tags were too high.
No one likes to pay top dollar for anything, and, in this case, it means the Yankees have been playing short a bat (or two) since the trade deadline, and it has been painfully obvious at times. The offensive showings against the Red Sox on Friday and Saturday in particular were hideous. Even last night was yucky for innings at a time. Consider what Cashman and the Yankees knew definitively on July 30th, the day before the deadline:
- Aaron Judge (wrist) and Gary Sanchez (groin) would miss weeks, not days.
- Clint Frazer (post-concussion migraines) was out with no timetable for his return.
- Jacoby Ellsbury was out with numerous injuries and not close to returning.
- Austin, Brandon Drury, and Billy McKinney had already been traded away.
Despite all of that, the only bat the Yankees added was Voit, who is essentially Austin by another name. The Yankees have had to continue to roll with Austin Romine and Kyle Higashioka behind the plate, and the generally punchless Shane Robinson has started six of the last eleven games. Six of the last eleven! Remember, Robinson was called up after the Happ trade, five days before the deadline. He wasn’t added to the roster post-deadline.
On one hand, overpaying stinks and that’s no way to do business, at least not consistently. On the other, the division was still within reach at the time and the Yankees had already paid handsomely for pitchers (Happ and Britton in particular), so if there ever was a time to overpay for a bat, wouldn’t it have this been this year? They were in the division race, the need for a bat is acute, and the Yankees have a deep farm system at their disposal. The trade chips were certainly there.
I suppose the good news is the Yankees can still add a bat through an August waiver trade. They have to navigate trade waivers and the luxury tax plan, but there are always bats available in August. It’s just a question of finding the right bat. Ideally, the Yankees would bring in a right-handed hitting outfielder comfortable with moving into a reserve role once Judge returns. Who is that player? Carlos Gomez?
Among the players moved at the deadline, only Cameron Maybin and Adam Duvall fit that description, and the Braves gave up quite a bit to get Duvall. So maybe it’s unfair to get on the Yankees for not trading for a bat. I dunno though. With so many outfielders out and Robinson playing so much, it’s hard for me to think a better option wasn’t out there. Hopefully the Yankees can get a bat in August or weather the storm until Judge & Co. return. Right now, it feels like the Yankees let a pretty significant need go unaddressed at the deadline.