The Yankees are second in the majors in runs per game with 28 homers more than any club.
So, the obvious question: Do they need to add a bat?
Didi Gregorius suffered what Aaron Boone termed a “significant” bruised left heel Sunday, and the Yankees manager said he expects his valuable shortstop to head to a DL that already contains Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. Plus, Giancarlo Stanton has a left hamstring ailment that has mostly forced him to DH, though he indicated plans to play both games in the field in the DH-less tilts in Miami on Tuesday and Wednesday.
But is there enough uncertainty about when the trio returns, and in what condition, that the Yanks should try to add a bat before Aug. 31 (the last day a player can be added and be on a postseason roster)? Brian Cashman said, “We have claimed a lot of guys, but we have not been eligible on anybody.”
Translation: The Yanks have made waiver claims, but with MLB’s second-best record, they are so far back in the process that they have not been awarded any of the claims. For example, Washington’s Daniel Murphy was claimed before he reached the Yankees.
“Because of our record, it’s unrealistic to think we would add a substantial player,” Cashman said.
The Yankees also would not be willing to add significant dollars because they are not going over the $197 million luxury-tax threshold.
Also, they would probably only obtain a walk-year player since those with more control generally cost more in trade, and the Yanks already have traded a lot of prospects the past two years. For example, Toronto’s Justin Smoak has gone through waivers unclaimed. He could get plenty of at-bats as a first baseman/DH for the Yanks. But he has a $6 million option for 2019 and, thus, the Blue Jays would expect a nice return.
Others who have passed through with future control who could help but are probably too costly in prospects for the Yankees would be the Mets’ Wilmer Flores and the Rays’ C.J. Cron.
Kansas City’s Lucas Duda has gotten through and the Yanks tried to land him last year, but he is not as attractive or easy a fit this year. Baltimore’s Adam Jones, Toronto’s Curtis Granderson and Minnesota’s Logan Forsythe have gotten through and could work, but so far the Yankees have shown no inclination to act on one of those.
“I do not [feel pressure to make a deal],” Cashman said. “Injuries are part of the game and you have to rely on your entire roster. Not operating at full capacity is not unusual. … We are never not open-minded to alternatives. We are constantly looking at the waiver wire and weighing it against what we have internally.”
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