It’s that awkward time of the year when some teams have to make brutally tough decisions on whether to buy or sell at the trade deadline. There will be no more grueling of a decision than the one made by the New York Yankees, who simply do not understand that it is, in fact, okay to have a losing season. The insatiable fans will, in fact, still support the team moving forward. People all over the world will still wear the “NY” hats. And maybe, just maybe, it will give Yankee supporters a chance to appreciate a remarkable run of consistency that has not seen the team suffer a losing season since 1992.
It’s okay, Yankees. It’s okay.
Having said all that, the Yankees need to get real. They are tied for the fifth-worst record in the American League at 45-46 and will miss the playoffs for the third time in four years after 17 appearances in the previous 18. They have a ton of excessive contracts that need to be dumped, yet plenty of talent that will appeal to contenders.
It’s time, Yankees. It’s time.
Not even the second wild card spot is going to save New York in 2016. As hard as it might be for owner Hal Steinbrenner and team president Randy Levine to fail once in a blue moon, there are plenty of teams willing to mortgage part of their futures for the likes of Andrew Miller, Aroldis Chapman, Carlos Beltran, and Nathan Eovaldi. Though much of the talk of the trade deadling revolves around the razor-thin starting pitching market, a number of contenders are craving bullpen help and a bat to boost their offense.
It’s for the future, Yankees. It’s for the future.
Understandably, Miller would be hard to part ways with. He is the team’s most talented pitcher, staying tight-lipped about pitching the eighth inning even though he could close for any of the other 29 teams right now. He is also under contract through 2018 at a relatively-affordable $9 million per year. But Chapman? A pending free-agent that the team doesn’t really need? Move him. Beltran? Okay, another tough call, but why keep a 39-year old pending free agent with a $15 million base salary?
The Yankees still have a few strong prospects moving through the pipeline to supplement any possible deals. Outfielder Aaron Judge, who is currently injured, is not far away from making an impact in the Bronx. Luis Severino, who struggled mightily this year in the Majors but has been solid since returning to Triple-A, is still just 22. And remember that power-hitting first baseman Greg Bird is out for all of 2016 with a torn labrum.
Giving up on 2016, as it were, does not mean giving up forever. Just remember that, Yankees. One bad season is not forever.
My best guess is that either Miller or Chapman goes, but not both. Beltran’s departure is 50-50, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see Eovaldi on the move. Depending on whether the Yankees would be willing to eat most of Mark Teixeira’s bulky $22.5 million base salary, he too could be shipped out to a team in need of a jolt of power.
It won’t be a complete firesale, even if it would feel that way to Yankees fans long used to deadline purchases to fuel a postseason run. But just remember, it’s okay to have a bad year once in a while.
It’s okay, Yankees.