The playoffs are so insane that no team can make themselves bulletproof.
For a short series there is a randomness. Note that during the weekend, the Astros won the second half 2-0 against the AL-best Yankees and 6-1 against the Mariners, the hottest team in the Major, yet the worst in three games— In- -al a.
Still, every contender wants to make themselves as unstoppable as possible – to strengthen their roster against the long regular season and layer on as much talent as possible for the October tournament. This seems especially true this year. Because a major league has formed within the major leagues that includes the Yankees, Astros, Dodgers, Mets, Braves and perhaps even the Padres, especially if they add Juan Soto in addition to Josh Hader.
And those super teams are going to go ahead to play “Top This” until the 6 p.m. deadline on Tuesday — the Astros, for example, deepened by getting Trey Mancini and Christian Vazquez on Monday. Sure, mariners or brewers can be surprised and go all the way. But the prospect is that those Premier League teams will have to get through each other – hit such quality pitching, retire such challenging lineups – that it would be a mistake not to be better when they wake up on August 3.
The Yankees have bettered themselves for this.
The Yankees – 24 hours before the deadline – had met their main targets within this trading market by upgrading to each of the buckets: starter (Frankie Montas), hitter (Andrew Benintendi) and pen (Scott Efros, Lou Trivino). Still, there were strong indications that they were not done. which is appropriate. They are good enough to be champions and this is not the year to stop trying to improve towards that goal.
The Yankees plan to deal with Joey Gallo before the deadline. Some of them were about seeing which teams failed to land an outfield bat, e.g., the Cubs were ready to play Ian Happ and the lottery that outside of New York, Gallo was used as a power/walking/defense asset. can be revived. Perhaps the Yanks were looking to see if they could be paired with another piece to sweeten the return. Can they pair Josh Donaldson or Aaron Hicks with chances to get rid of a good deal of those contracts and open roster spots to potentially better options?
By making important purchases early, the Yankees vented the frustration while allowing time for their 26-man roster to be creative/opportunistic to impress. That’s a lot of turnover for the team with the best AL records. But the Yanks have now been around a .500 team for about a quarter of the schedule. He was particularly concerned that his pitching was running out of gas. Now, he has more depth in the majors, more to hide in the upper minors (Clarke Schmidt was picked for Triple-A, for example) and – if all goes well – Luis Severino and Jack Britton. The ability to dream when returning from injuries to help in September and October.
All this was made possible by creating a stockpile of desirable possibilities, especially pitchers. The Yankees have made 22 trades (not counting buy or sell contracts) since the calendar flipped to 2021. Major acquisitions have cost potential. The latest three trades included all pitching prospects, except for second baseman Cooper Bowman, who was packed into Oakland with three pitchers for Montas and Trivino.
But he added pitching at Montas, Efros and Trivino in Monday’s two deals. He did not achieve his top pitching target, Luis Castillo, as the Yankees would not join Anthony Volpe. This made the Mariners’ offer more attractive to the Reds. Thus, the Yankees executed these deals without touching their top prospects – players of all positions – Volp, Oswald Peraza, Austin Wells and Jason Dominguez.
With Severino out, Montas was the dominant piece received. The word most commonly used to describe them is “bulldog”. He can dial in the upper 90s with his fastball, pitch at 95-97 mph and has a good slider and a signature split. With shoulder swelling in July his order may go astray and miss more than two weeks. But if the AL title goes to Houston, Montas has made 13 starts against the Astros since the start of the 2018 season and has held Houston to two or fewer runs in 11. In the last seven, he had an ERA of 2.70 in 36/₃ innings with 11 walks and 42 strikes.
Montas is now a safety if Severino doesn’t make it to IL as a starter or at all in 2022 and since he is not a free agent until after next season, he could replace Jameson Talon, who will be replaced later this year. is free and was since January 2021 one of the trades that has four possibilities.
Afros is 28, but will also not be arbitable until after the 2024 season. He is a late bloomer, emerging after turning into a side-arm delivery for the Cubs that has made his changeup and slider particularly effective. He was ranked 14th in Relief Wins Above Replacement by FanGraph. Trivino compiled 22 saves and 3.18 ERA last year but he had a 6.47 ERA this year for Oakland. Still, he was hitting 28.7 percent of hitters and the Yankees still believe he has the skills to enhance the success of pitchers, especially relievers – think Clay Holmes and Vandy Peralta as examples. One opposing scout called it “a clever move by the Yankees”. Trivino’s sinker is real and the Yankees infield defense is going to help him a ton more than the Oakland defense. ,
Right now, Holmes and Peralta are struggling and the team lost the valuable Chad Green and Michael King for the season. So the Yankees wanted to upgrade the bullpen quality/depth. Just like they wanted to do by combining Benintendi’s contact skills with the lineup. and rotation by importing Montas’ power arm.
Still, they are not done. The Yankees have improved by addressing each and every stage of their team. But trade work in the Premier League cannot be over by the deadline.