Make no mistake: the New York Yankees had a great trade deadline.
Yet, they had so many needs a week ago that is hard not to think about the deals they should have made.
If they had managed to bring in these two players, their deadline would have been perfect.
Since they couldn’t, we will consider it “very good” instead.
2. Kendall Graveman
The Yankees have a strong bullpen if everybody is healthy.
Zack Britton is a proven groundball machine, Aroldis Chapman and Chad Green are the fireballers, and Jonathan Loaisiga is the jack of all trades that has taken the next step and is now in the circle of trust.
Rodriguez and Holmes, two inconsistent relievers with great groundball rates, also came over before the trade deadline.
However, they aren’t quite as dominant as Kendall Graveman.
Of course, this is a hypothetical exercise, since Graveman was traded to the Houston Astros.
But the Yankees should have been able to outbid them and not only prevent them from getting a top reliever, but also getting him on their squad.
To get through the playoffs, teams need an absolutely dominant bullpen.
Pairing Graveman with Loaisiga, Chapman, Britton and company in the late innings would have been ideal for the Yankees.
Graveman, a free agent after the season, is currently sporting a stellar 0.76 ERA and a 2.71 Fielding Independent Pitching, or FIP, in 35.1 innings.
A career journeyman, you could say Graveman is a failed starter.
But the move to the bullpen unlocked his stuff and has allowed him to miss bats like never before.
Relief pitcher win probability added leaders:
1) Josh Hader – 3.51
2) Craig Kimbrel – 2.81
3) Kendall Graveman – 2.75
4) James Karinchak – 2.64
5) Jake McGee – 2.53
— Ben Kaspick (@BenKaspick) August 6, 2021
In fact, Graveman only had a strikeout rate over 20 percent in his rookie year, in which he pitched only 4.2 innings.
His mark in 2021 is a fantastic 30 percent.
He would have taken the Yankees bullpen to the next level.
1. Starling Marte
The Yankees’ most glaring need before the trade deadline was not the rotation, the bullpen, first base, or corner outfielders.
It was center field.
Had they brought in a center fielder, they could have taken Gardner’s weak bat out of the lineup and made him a reserve, a role that suits him better at this stage of his career.
We want the Yankees to trade for Marlins center fielder Starling Marte!
Starling Marte's contract isn't too much to handle, he's a rental so he wouldn't cost a lot and he's playing really well as he has been his whole career pic.twitter.com/ghlNSHxVo9
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) June 19, 2021
Starling Marte was, by all accounts, the best center fielder available at the deadline.
It’s easy not to chastise the Yankees for failing to bring him in because of the price that Oakland had to pay.
They gave up promising prospect Jesus Luzardo to get him.
However, it’s easy to fantasize about Marte fixing the Yankees’ center field issue.
He is having a great season, hitting .310/.407/.457 with 10 home runs and a whopping 27 stolen bases.
He also remains a good defender at the most important of the outfield positions.
But the Yankees, understandably, didn’t meet the Miami Marlins’ asking price and Marte is now helping the Yankees’ direct competitor in the fight for the Wild Card.