Joel Sherman reported that the Yankees were ‘never really in it’ because of the high price. Bauer ultimately moved in a three-team trade with the Cincinnati Reds and San Diego Padres that saw Cleveland acquire two Major League outfielders in Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes as well as two pitching prospects and a rookie-league hitter in Victor Nova.
While the Indians received a haul for Bauer, who is under control for the 2020 season, the Yankees checking out of negotiations suggests they could struggle to add a big-name starter before the deadline. Brian Cashman, per Jon Heyman, is not interested in dealing top pitching prospect Deivi Garcia unless they can acquire Noah Syndergaard – which seems extremely unlikely.
Most teams are doing all they can to keep hold of their prospects, and the Yankees don’t have the depth they once did. Wanting to retain Garcia is understandable, but the rotation need is alarming at this point. Failure to add an arm or two would significantly hurt the Yankees’ chances of a deep October run.
The Yankees have managed to dominate the American League East despite a deep injured list all season. Luis Severino’s absence has contributed to their starting pitching woes. The fact they have been so good despite long periods on the shelf for Severino, Dellin Betances, Miguel Andujar, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and more should give Cashman the confidence to make a deal – perhaps two – to fix their glaring Achilles heel.
Starters, even as the clock ticks down, are available. Robbie Ray, Mike Minor and Zack Wheeler are expected to be moved according to Bob Nightengale. All three would represent an upgrade on a Yankees rotation that has struggled mightily in recent weeks. Even the two leaders of the staff, Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton, have had several rough outings.
While the price may be high, the consequences of not doing a deal could be severe. The Yankees are playoff bound, and their bullpen is deep, but their starters’ performances could yet cost them a chance at 28th World Series. This Yankees team is good, and it has the chance to be great. This rotation, though, undermines a fearsome offence and a bullpen as good as any in the Major Leagues.
Whether it’s a cheap deal for Tanner Roark or a slightly pricier move for Minor or Ray, Cashman is under pressure to bolster the rotation before the trade deadline. There’s a balance between winning now and retaining prospects – right now, the Yankees are looking to the future and decreasing their chances of winning in 2019 as a result.