As usual, the New York Yankees were very active at the MLB trade deadline. GM Brian Cashman was once again successful in drastically improving the roster as he has done many times in his incredible career. The Yankees were already gearing up for a postseason push and they are better equipped to do so now that they have brought in some reinforcements. They added four players who will all be immediate contributors in Joey Gallo, Anthony Rizzo, Andrew Heaney, and Clay Holmes. Amazingly, they were able to do so while still keeping all of their top-rated prospects in the farm system with the organization. Here is how each of the four new additions can help the Yankees on their quest for October.
There were many rumors leading up to the trade deadline that the Yankees were looking for help in centerfield. Gallo was one of the names on their list of targets because of his left-handed power and gold glove caliber defense. Though he was not primarily a centerfielder with the Texas Rangers, he did log plenty of games at the position through the years and is more than capable of playing there at a high level. This will allow players like Greg Allen and Brett Gardner to return mostly to a bench role where they are much more useful. After trading Mike Tauchman to the San Francisco Giants, the season-ending injury to Aaron Hicks created a real problem for the Yankees outfield situation and hopefully, Gallo can be the solution.
Just as important as his defense is the lefty power that Gallo brings to the Bronx. This is something that the team has been desperately missing for a few years now, especially considering how friendly Yankees Stadium is for left-handed sluggers. Gallo already hits a ton of home runs but his totals should increase even higher now that he will play half of his games in New York. One of the biggest things that Gallo brings to the Yankees is his high OBP, which is currently ranked top ten in the American League.
Many of the same upgrades that Gallo brings to the Yankees, such as defense and lefty power, are what Rizzo will contribute as well. Rizzo is excellent defensively as a first baseman and probably the best one that the Yankees have had since Mark Teixeira. His defense will go a long way in improving the team as a whole, and more specifically, will help the struggling defense of Gleyber Torres at shortstop. Rizzo has the ability to save some plays at first base that would be errors if someone else, like Luke Voit, were playing the position.
When Voit returns from injury, he will no longer be the every day first baseman. Instead, he will be the back up to Rizzo and may also get some time at designated hitter now that Giancarlo Stanton is able to play the outfield again. Stanton in left field and Voit at DH is what really give the Yankees their best all around line up. The batting order can be shuffled in many different ways but would look something like this.
1B Anthony Rizzo
2B DJ LeMahieu
RF Aaron Judge
LF Giancarlo Stanton
CF Joey Gallo
SS Gleyber Torres
DH Luke Voit
3B Gio Urshela
Heaney is a left-handed starter that will add depth to the Yankees pitching staff. This is very important for any team, but especially for one that has so many uncertainties due to injury. Luis Severino and Corey Kluber are both expected to return at some point, but given their extensive injury history, it is unclear what to expect from them this season. Domingo German has also recently been moved to the injured list, while Jameson Taillon and Jordan Montgomery have struggled to stay healthy in their careers, so adding depth to the rotation is a very smart move. He will fill in for German while he is out, so he now has a real opportunity to show the team what he is capable of. His performance will determine his role moving forward.
It’s always important to have bullpen depth, and that is exactly what Holmes brings to the Yankees. Manager Aaron Boone recently referred to Holmes as an “assassin” against right-handed hitters and the statistical splits actually support that statement. This season he has allowed a slash line of .297/.430/.484 against lefties but only .159/.256/.178 against righties. Boone often talks about “finding a lane” when it comes to bullpen usage so the role for Holmes is pretty clear. His “lane” will be somewhere in the middle or late innings when a string of right-handed hitters are due up at the plate.
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