The New York Yankees have not lived up to expectations in 2021.
The club entered the year with legitimate playoff and World Series aspirations, but with nearly three months in the books, the Yankees’ 38-33 record has them in third place in the American League East.
All is not lost, as New York is still firmly in the playoff mix, but the team is going to need to make some major changes if it’s serious about a title run.
What could those changes look like?
Gardner is batting just .212 with a .639 OPS through 59 games, while Frazier is batting .193 with a .644 OPS.
In the context of WAR, Gardner has added 0.0 wins to the team this season, while Frazier has cost the team 0.7 wins.
Yankees wRC+ since May 1
1. Gary Sanchez 146
2. Giancarlo Stanton 142
3. Aaron Judge 131
4. Gio Urshela 104
5. Gleyber Torres 97
6. Clint Frazier 93
7. Brett Gardner 92
8. DJ LeMahieu 88
9. Miguel Andujar 74
— Yankees Files (@YankeesFiles) June 21, 2021
It’s getting to a point where the Yankees need to start considering their options.
New York has a fair amount of outfield depth, but very few of the secondary options are quality ones.
If the club really wants to make a splash, it should explore some options on the trade market.
If the Yankees opt to go for a blockbuster deal, the Cincinnati Reds’ Nick Castellanos could be an option.
The contending Reds would be wise to hold onto him, but there are no guarantees.
Castellanos is in the MVP conversation this season with league-leading marks in batting average (.344), total bases (153), hits (89), and doubles (23).
Add A Quality Rotation Arm
The Yankees have a plethora of decent arms in their rotation, but Gerrit Cole is the only top-tier option.
Cole has a 2.31 ERA, a 2.44 FIP, and a 0.85 WHIP.
New York is somehow just 8-6 when he gets the ball.
That needs to change.
— Bronx Bombers News (@NewsBronx) June 18, 2021
In the playoffs, you need at least three very good rotation arms to feel good about your chances in a series.
If Kluber picks up where he left off, he could serve as a solid second option.
The team would be best-suited to pick up a third reliable starter on the trade market.
The Kansas City Royals’ Danny Duffy could be that guy.
He worked a 1.94 ERA, 2.35 FIP, and 1.13 WHIP over seven starts before hitting the IL with a forearm flexor strain.
That injury is often a red flag, but he appears to have avoided anything serious.
There are plenty of other names being tossed around on the rumor mill—Sonny Gray being one of them.
Gray and the Yankees have history, as the righty spent two seasons with the team from 2017-18.
The stint didn’t exactly work out, as Gray struggled to a 4.51 ERA with the team.
But since leaving New York, Gray has been able to get his footing back.
He has managed a 3.14 ERA, 153 ERA+, and 3.44 WHIP over three seasons with the Reds.
Perhaps the Yankees would be willing to roll the dice again on the 31-year-old.