Well, you’re smarter than a lot of New York baseball fans if you guessed correctly given both team’s expectations back in April.
We are less than a week from the frenzy that is the MLB trade deadline, which comes on July 31. It gives contenders an opportunity to find the missing piece of a championship puzzle while allowing the stragglers to get rid of big contracts or ineffective talent.
With each New York team trending in an opposite direction, the objectives for this year’s deadline should vary:
New York Yankees trade deadline checklist
Snag another pitcher:
Luis Severino and CC Sabathia have done well to carry the rotation this season. The problem is, they haven’t had much support.
Masahiro Tanaka is having the worst season of his professional career while Michael Pineda is facing an extended absence due to a partially torn UCL that requires Tommy John surgery.
It’s left the Yankees, a playoff contender, to roll out the likes of Luis Cessa, Chad Green and Caleb Smith as fifth starters behind Jordan Montgomery.
Bringing on another high-quality arm bolsters the rotation and would do wonders should the team make the playoffs and go with a four-man rotation.
The Yankees have been linked with Sonny Gray of the Oakland Athletics and Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers, two American League arms that could bring ace-like stuff to the mound.
Find a first baseman:
Greg Bird’s continuous injury problems have left the Yankees in a precarious situation at first base.
While the team has basically been waiting for him to get healthy for years now, they are rolling out a rag-tag bunch to cover the position ever since releasing Chris Carter.
A pair of third basemen are the Yankees’ top-two options at first in Chase Headley and the newly-acquired Todd Frazier. The two have combined to play 112 games at the position in their careers, which span 18 years put together.
Behind them is Garrett Cooper, who was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers’ farm system a couple weeks ago, backup catcher Austin Romine and DH Matt Holliday.
Time to get a natural first baseman and allow Frazier, Headley and Holliday to focus on their bats first, then defense.
Once again, the Yankees and Athletics have been linked regarding this position as well. This time, it’s All-Star Yonder Alonso.
Team scouts also watched Mets first baseman Lucas Duda last week at Citi Field.
Mets trade deadline checklist
Trade Asdrubal Cabrera
The Mets haven’t necessarily been kind to Cabrera this season. The natural shortstop who was one of the smoothest fielders in the game has been moved all over the infield, playing games at both second and shortstop.
It prompted him to request a trade in June, but he has since rescinded it.
Regardless, the Mets have to start looking to deal him as they likely won’t pick up his third-year club option in 2018 considering Amed Rosario is patiently waiting to be unleashed upon the majors.
As soon as the Mets deal Cabrera, expect to see baseball’s second-best prospect in the big leagues.
The Cleveland Indians have been rumored to have an interest in Cabrera.
Keep Jay Bruce
This season could have been even more of a disaster if the Mets had traded Jay Bruce during the offseason.
Luckily, they didn’t because he’s been one of their best bats with a team-leading 25 home runs and 67 RBI.
Given his numbers on a struggling team, it’s expected that a contender looking to add some extra power to their lineup would call the Mets looking to rent Bruce for the stretch run.
But interest hasn’t really been there, per Newsday’s Marc Carig, which should allow Bruce to finish the season and Queens and give the Mets time to work on re-signing him this winter.
Like Cabrera, Duda is simply a placeholder for something bigger.
First-base prospect Dominic Smith is the team’s second-best prospect in the minors and is expected to be the club’s first baseman for the next 10-to-15 years.
With Duda’s contract set to expire at the end of the year, there’s little chance he would re-sign with the team anyway. So now is the time to deal him, especially because his value is high.
The big lefty has managed to stay healthy for most of the season, which is rather rare, while putting up 17 home runs despite his streaky tendencies.
He could land across town in the Bronx should the Mets trade him. The Yankees could view his power bat as a huge rental given the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium.