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The Yankees have started off the second half hot, owning a four-game win streak heading to Boston to take on the Red Sox once again. If all goes well, including their three-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays after that, they could be right in the thick of the AL East race.
Will that have GM Brian Cashman making some deals before the MLB trade deadline?
Let’s rank his best options heading into July 30:
8) Pirates RHP Tyler Anderson
The 31-year-old has posted a 4.35 ERA this season over 18 starts, and with the Pirates being sellers, he’s a prime candidate as he’s set to be a free agent after this year.
He’s a solid middle of the pack rotation piece that has already tossed 103.1 innings. Having the bullpen rested as long as possible during every game is the goal for any team, and Anderson helps with that. The cost shouldn’t be too much either.
The only thing is, if the Yankees are indeed making a push to the postseason, is Anderson the starting pitching help they really need?
7) Mariners OF Mitch Haniger
It’s unknown what the Mariners are going to do since they’re only 6.5 games off the AL West lead and are 51-45 looking up at the Wild Card.
If they’re teetering, it’s hard to see them parting ways with Haniger. The Yanks need outfield help for sure, and Haniger has been raking this season. He’s on pace to crush his career home run total, already at 23 (his career-high is 26). He has a .322 on-base percentage and .511 slugging percentage to go with a .265 batting average.
6) Twins RHP Jose Berrios
Why is the top starting pitcher on the market this low on the list? It has to do with the prospect total it will take to pry the right-hander away from Minnesota.
Berrios would be a huge upgrade for the Yanks, likely working as the No. 2 behind Gerrit Cole. A push for the postseason will need better pitching from New York, and Berrios has postseason experience as well.
But the Twins will be looking for a hefty package from whoever wants Berrios, and the Yankees may not be inclined to give up their top prospects for him. It is worth noting that Berrios is under team control in 2022.
5) Cubs RHP Zach Davies
Chicago is known to be sellers, and though Kris Bryant gets all the attention, Davies is a likely candidate to move on as well.
Like Anderson, he stays healthy and provides quality innings. The 28-year-old owns a 4.35 ERA, though teams may be hoping to trade for him to see his 2.73 ERA like he posted with the San Diego Padres last season.
He would be a two-month rental, however, with his contract expiring after the season.
4) Twins OF Byron Buxton
He’s Gold Glove pedigree and he started the season at an insane clip -- a .369/.409/.767 with 10 homers and 11 doubles. But he’s been dealing with a Grade 2 hip strain and a boxer’s fracture in his left hand, which has had him only play 27 games this season.
The Twins also reportedly offered him an extension close to $70 million, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. If that is rejected, though, many believe Minnesota will deal him at that point.
Health can be an issue for Buxton, and the Yanks are already dealing with that with Aaron Hicks. But he’s still 27 years old and plays a solid center field when he is healthy with a bat that continues to get better by the year. Is it worth the risk?
3) Rockies RHP Jon Gray
Gray is probably the best starting pitcher that makes the most sense for New York. The 29-year-old owns a 3.68 ERA over 17 starts this season (93 innings), and has gone at least six innings in his last four outings.
He’s more under the radar compared to other trade block candidates, but Gray shouldn’t cost too much to acquire from a selling Colorado squad and he can definitely plug a gap in the Yanks’ rotation. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2022.
2) Rangers OF Joey Gallo
The Yankees are extremely right-handed in the lineup. They also need outfield help. Enter Gallo.
The 2021 All-Star is slashing .236/.386/.502 with 24 homers and 52 RBI over 90 games thus far. He plays right field for Texas, but would likely move to left field with Aaron Judge aboard. Still, that’s two very powerful arms and bats in the outfield, and Gallo’s lefty stroke in the middle of the lineup would be a nice change of pace for this New York club.
Even sweeter: Gallo still has one year left of arbitration before hitting free agency in 2023. Maybe a long-term deal could be worked out.
1) Marlins OF Starling Marte
Another Gold Glover and former All-Star, Marte would fix the Yankees’ need for a center fielder right away.
He’s also an on-base machine, sporting a a.390 mark there this season with a .293 average, seven homers and 22 RBI out of the leadoff hole on most nights for Don Mattingly.
At 32 years old, Marte’s production hasn’t slowed. But he will be a free agent after this season. So the Yankees could hold strong with Miami, who are also sellers. And after all, Derek Jeter and Kim Ng are two people who Cashman is close with. Deals have been done in the past with Miami (hi, Giancarlo Stanton), so we’ll see how it plays out.