BALTIMORE — With the trade deadline on Tuesday, there was plenty of activity around Major League Baseball on Saturday and Sunday. But at the time of publication, the Yankees had yet to make any moves.
The first-place Rangers added ex-Mets righty Max Scherzer and ex-Yankees and Cardinals lefty Jordan Montgomery to their rotation. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays — who occupy the final wild card spot that the Yankees are chasing — acquired flame-throwing reliever Jordan Hicks from St. Louis.
If a division rival upgrading wasn’t bad enough, the red-hot Cubs also decided to keep Cody Bellinger, according to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers. Bellinger would have been a great — if not costly — fit for the Yankees, as his left-handed bat and glove could have helped an offense and defense that have often lacked.
“You see it with interest,” Aaron Boone said Sunday of the flurry, but he added that his focus is on winning games. “It’s not something for me to worry about.”
Bellinger coming off the market leaves the Yankees with several less-desirable outfield options as the deadline nears — at least when it comes to names they’ve been linked to publicly.
Among them: the Rockies’ Randal Grichuk, the Cardinals’ Dylan Carlson, and the Nationals’ Lane Thomas. However, Grichuk and Thomas are right-handed hitters and Carlson, a switch-hitter, is much better from the right side. Grichuk and Thomas’ gloves could also be better.
If the Yankees don’t add an outfielder, the alternative is to stick with the combination of Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Jake Bauers, Billy McKinney and Greg Allen in left field.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the Yankees improved their pitching, too, and they’ve also been connected to Nationals third baseman Jeimer Candelario. Boone said that “anything is possible” when it comes to the Yankees’ plans over the next few days, but the manager avoids campaigning for the front office to make moves.
“It’s a slight to the people we have in our room that I feel like are totally capable of still reaching all of our hopes and dreams,” Boone explained. “So I’m not going to go lobby for something that may or may not happen. Then if something doesn’t happen, then what? I know our guys, individually and our team, feel very confident in our ability to get right and play a high level of baseball these final two months, and that’s how I look at it. If things come our way and a deal gets done for something, we’ll welcome those people. But it’s too hard to speculate on what may or may not be getting done.”
A DIFFERENT TYPE OF ADDITION
It’s not unusual for teams to temper trade deadline expectations by noting that an injured player or players are due back soon. The idea — one that often disappoints fans if no moves are made — is that getting key players back is just like adding from outside the organization. Never mind that it’s not the same.
On Sunday, Boone noted that the Yankees just got Aaron Judge back from a torn ligament in his toe, which hasn’t fully healed yet. He also mentioned that Nestor Cortes (rotator cuff) and Jonathan Loáisiga (bone spur) are due back soon.
“I think in our case, where you are getting Judge, Nestor and Loáisiga, those are pretty big pieces to get back,” Boone said. “So we’re excited about that. But at the same time, in Nestor’s case and even Los’ case, that’s still days ahead. I guess I don’t take the time to sit and consider. Like I’m serious: we’re getting ready to play the Orioles. All our energy goes into trying to get prepared for that.”
Again, Boone is not going to publicly push for the Yankees to do something. And getting healthy doesn’t mean the team won’t add external pieces.
CORTES AND LOÁISIGA
Speaking of Cortes and Loáisiga, Sunday provided some updates on their rehabs.
Loáisiga tossed two perfect innings with the Tampa Tarpons earlier in the day. He threw 18 pitches, including 15 for strikes. He struck out two.
“I’m excited about Lo, the way he’s looked over the last couple of weeks in his bullpens and his live sessions,” Boone said. “I didn’t see his outing today, but I’ve heard it was really good.
“He seems to be in a really good spot, and obviously looking forward to getting him back. We know the impact he can have at the back of our pen.”
Cortes, meanwhile, is expected to make his last rehab start on Wednesday.