As we sit on July 28, The New York Yankees are 65-36, five games behind the Red Sox yet only three games back in the loss column. In recent days the Yankees have bolstered the best bullpen in baseball and have added a veteran starting pitcher who has a track record of success against Boston.
On Thursday night against the Royals, the Yankees lost Aaron Judge for at least a month with a chip fracture on his right wrist. Obviously Judge is a critical component to the Yankee's offense. To this point the Yankees are fourth in the AL in runs, first in home runs, first in slugging, and second in OPS. Even without Judge in the lineup for the month of August the Yankees should be able to weather the storm.
The Yankees have a big four game series coming up next week in Boston. Other than that, from now until September 3rd, the only team the Yankees will play with a record over .500 are the Rays (53-51). The Yankees should be able to remain in the thick of the division race despite the loss of their budding superstar.
Since the Judge injury the Yankees have been mentioned in more than a few trade rumors. The names of Adam Jones, Curtis Granderson, Mike Moustakas, and Cameron Maybin, to name a few have been mentioned. Each of these veterans could contribute and plug a hole until the mammoth Judge returns, but at what price?
In the Zach Britton trade the Yankees parted with a top 10 prospect in their organization in pitcher Dillon Tate. They also traded their 21st rated prospect Cody Carroll, and major league ready LHP Josh Rogers. When the Yankees acquired J.A. Happ from the Blue Jays they parted with another prospect, Billy McKinney, and major leaguer Brandon Drury, who the Yankees traded two prospects for last winter. So the real cost of Britton and Happ, were six prospects from their loaded system. After these deals the system is a little less loaded than it was prior.
The Yankees do not need to part with any more chips in order to plug a gap for Aaron Judge. The good news is that the Yankees improved without having to give up any of their big prospects. They have a more than favorable schedule through the first week of September, and even without Judge they have more than enough offense to stay within striking distance.
The team the Yankees are chasing for the divion title are having a historic year. They started 17-2, are on a pace for the best record in franchise history if not American league history. They have the highest payroll and some of the best players in the game. All that being true they are just 3 games up in the loss column and have a losing record against the Yankees. The Red Sox ace Chris Sale has a track record of wilting in the dog day heat. Will it happen again this year? Their bullpen other than Craig Kimbrell is suspect at best. I still believe they are due a little bit of a down stretch. So with two months of baseball left- no need to panic Yankee fans, this one is going the distance.
Photo by Thomas Lott