The New York Yankees are currently in the midst of the most critical homestand they have had in quite sometime. The Yankees are currently 2-2 on their current 10-game homestand in which many believe will determine whether the Yankees will become buyers or sellers at the July 31st trading deadline.
Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman and other members of the Yankees brass are currently debating on whether they should buy and help the Yankees contend for the American League Wild Card for the postseason or should begin a fire sale in which key players will most likely become valuable trade assets.
Here’s the harsh truth that Yankees must face: They must become sellers at the trade deadline.
It is quite insulting and foolish for the Yankees to give the team and its fans false hope that this team can contend for the postseason in 2016. The reality is that the Yankees currently are currently sitting 7 1/2 games out of first place behind the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East and five games out of the second American League Wild Card.
Even with the two respective deficits the Yankees face, the issues that this team has are glaring and up to this point they have done nothing to show or prove that they are a playoff contender thus far in 2016.
Lets starts talking about the pitching. The Yankees starting pitching has been an absolute disappointment pitching to a 4.37 ERA, which is eighth in the American League and 18th in all of Major League Baseball. Michael Pineda has struggled mightily this season with a 3-9 record with a 5.56 ERA in 18 starts, Nathan Eovaldi has struggled as well with a 7-6 record with a 5.11 record, and Ivan Nova has struggled with consistency pitching in tune to a 4.92 ERA and a 7-5 record in 13 starts and 19 games pitched.
CC Sabathia has gotten off to a good start during the first half of the season, however his recent struggles has risen his ERA from 2.25 to 3.94. The only pitcher who has pitched to his capabilities is Masahiro Tanaka, who has pitched like an ace with a 7-2 record with a 3.18 ERA.
The problem that has become glaring for the Yankees is that they have gotten low of quality starting pitching from the second, third, fourth, and fifth starters in the rotation especially when you need good starting pitching to compete with other teams in the American League East. The Yankees bullpen has done its part so far this season with its shutdown trio of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, and Aroldis Chapman anchoring the bullpen.
The problem is the Yankees have not gotten enough length from their starters to get the ball to the bullpen which means Yankees manager Joe Girardi has had to go to the bullpen too early and often which will not bode well for th relievers come the dog days August.
If you are the Yankees, what do you do in terms of the starters? Cashman should consider trading Pineda and Eovaldi since both pitchers are 27 and 26 respectively and could command a good return in terms of prospects (especially pitching prospects). The Yankees must look ahead and start selling their best pitching assests to help bolster up the farm system. Pineda and Eovaldi are both high ceiling pitchers and have dominating stuff when they are both on their game.
However, the problem is that they both have struggled mightily this season and given that the Yankees must start looking beyond this year and start thinking about the future, the time is now to deal both Pineda and Eovaldi even if it pains them in doing so. The Yankees shouldn’t just limit trading starting pitching in regards to becoming sellers at the trading deadline.
Players such as closer Aroldis Chapman and outfielder Carlos Beltran should be strongly considered as trading pieces for the Yankees. The Yankees have to consider all options at this point while realizing that Beltran can be a legitimate bat that helps a postseason contender given Beltran’s October credentials and that Chapman (even as a rental player) could be that final piece for a postseason contender that sorely needs a dominant closer.
The Yankees for years were one that never gave up on a season even when the odds were stacked up high against them. This in itself is extremely admirable where you are a Yankee fan or not to have a team that fights to very bitter end. However, 2016 is the year that the Yankees organization and their fans have feared coming for a long time.
This day had to come where this Yankee team needs to and must seriously looking ahead to the future and shift their focus on seeing what they currently have that is due to make their major league debuts in the near future. The Yankees have had a mantra since George Steinbrenner was alive to “field a championship caliber team” on the field for their fans.
Is this current 2016 version of the New York Yankees a championship caliber team? Absolutely not.
However, if the Yankees want to start working towards being a legitimate World Series contending team again, they must become sellers starting now and start working on building this team moving forward.
It’s time for Brian Cashman to take a bite out of the page of another Brian counterpart: that is San Francisco Giants GM Brian Sabean. Look at what the San Francisco Giants have accomplished through drafting and player development. They have won three world series championships in the last five seasons.
When you as an organization can draft and develop players like Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Joe Panik, Brandon Belt, Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla and Brandon Crawford that have all been part of the three most recent World Series titles with the Giants (2010,2012, and 2014), you are doing something remarkably right.
This should remind Cashman and the Yankees that they have to go back to what made them so successful in the 1990’s. Drafting players and developing players that would not only have individual on-the-field success, but also contribute to World Series championship teams.
It is time for Cashman to become sellers and head back to the drawing board while solely focusing on drafting and developing players to help get the Yankees back to being legitimate World Series contenders. It is time for the Yankees to become sellers in 2016.