Yankees' Top Players to Target and Avoid at 2021 MLB Trade Deadline

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2021

Yankees' Top Players to Target and Avoid at 2021 MLB Trade Deadline

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    Derik Hamilton/Associated Press

    Should the New York Yankees be buyers at the trade deadline?

    With a 49-44 record that has them tied for third in the AL East standings and four games back for a wild-card spot, it's a fair question to ask, but anytime they're within striking distance, they generally stomp on the gas and push for contention.

    If they do decide to target outside additions, an upgrade in center field and some starting pitching help will be their top priorities.

    Ahead we've highlighted two players the team should target and also taken a quick look at two guys they would be wise to avoid.

Target: RHP Jose Berrios, Minnesota Twins

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    Jose Berrios
    Jose BerriosNam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    If the Yankees are going to target a starting pitcher at the trade deadline, it would make sense to go after a controllable arm who can help an uncertain rotation situation beyond the 2021 season.

    Kyle Gibson is the most likely controllable starter to be moved in the midst of a career year with the rebuilding Texas Rangers, and he will be on the Yankees radar, but Minnesota Twins right-hander Jose Berrios should be their No. 1 target.

    The 27-year-old has a 3.69 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 122 strikeouts in 114.2 innings, and the two-time All-Star is controllable through the 2022 season.

    The question is whether the Yankees will be willing to meet a steep asking price.

    "He'd fit the Yankees well, but they're not inclined to part with their best minor leaguers," wrote Jeff Passan of ESPN.

    The Yankees system is loaded with high-ceiling talent, so it's still conceivable they could put together a viable package without parting with any of their elite guys.

Target: CF Starling Marte, Miami Marlins

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    Derik Hamilton/Associated Press

    The Yankees have used nine different players in center field this year.

    Veteran Brett Gardner has seen the bulk of the playing time since Aaron Hicks underwent wrist surgery, and he's hitting just .191/.305/.309 with 14 extra-base hits in 247 plate appearances.

    After rejecting an extension offer from the Miami Marlins, center fielder Starling Marte now looks like a prime candidate to be dealt ahead of the deadline.

    According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the Yankees are among the clubs showing interest in what would be a short-term rental.

    The 32-year-old Marte is hitting .294/.393/.450 with 18 extra-base hits and 19 steals in 248 plate appearances, and he would be a potentially transformative addition to the top of the Yankees lineup.

    With Aaron Hicks signed through 2025, it makes sense for the Yankees to target a short-term addition in center field.

Players to Avoid

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    Jon Gray
    Jon GrayDavid Zalubowski/Associated Press

    CF Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins

    Byron Buxton has only played in 38.6 percent of the Minnesota Twins games since the start of the 2018 season, missing significant chunks of time with myriad injuries.

    The 27-year-old is a dynamic talent when healthy, but for a Yankees team that has been hit hard by the injury bug in recent years, he seems like the type of player it would be wise to avoid. After all, the only reason center field is such a glaring hole is because Aaron Hicks is on the shelf.

         

    RHP Jon Gray, Colorado Rockies

    Jon Gray has shown flashes of brilliance throughout his career, but he has struggled to find any sort of consistency.

    Starting pitching is going to be an area of need for the Yankees going forward, so if they're going to mortgage any young assets in a trade this month, targeting a controllable arm is the logical course of action. Gray is a pure rental headed for free agency at season's end.

        

    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference.

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