Exactly half way through the 2016 season, the New York Yankees are sitting at 40-41 and are seven games out of first place and 3.5 games out of the second Wild Card position. Almost all season long there has been speculation that the Yankees will be sellers in some capacity with their bullpen pieces getting the most attention. That might not be the case at all.
Selling isn’t in the Yankees’ DNA. GM Brian Cashman might be interested in selling but Hal Steinbrenner and company are most certainly against it and what the owner wants the owner gets. As mediocre as the Yankees have been there is still a chance for them to make the playoffs and where there is a chance the Yankees will try to go for it. This might not be the best plan but it is the Yankees’ way.
There are reports that the Yankees told Andrew Miller he won’t be traded. There have also been reports that the Yankees want to re-sign Aroldis Chapman after the season. These reports certainly don’t sound like a team ready to rebuild even if the Yankees have kind of been rebuilding for two years now. They also made the playoffs last season with an almost identical team as this season so it is easy to see why the Yankees aren’t keen on blowing it all up.
The Yankees should be interested in keeping their bullpen together. The trio of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, and Aroldis Chapman is historically good. The rest of the Yankees’ bullpen has left a lot to be desired. They have all-world talent there and even though all three could each net them significant prospects they might be better off keeping them.
The Yankees are certainly in the middle of adding youth and rebuilding. They are counting on Starlin Castro, Didi Gregorius, Greg Bird, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Rob Refsnyder, Aaron Hicks, Chad Green, Luis Cessa, and Bryan Mitchell to be significant contributors for them for years. They could add a few more prospects to that list by trading Chapman, Miller, or Betances but they would hurt their future more by trading established veterans unless they are completely blown away in a trade proposal, like if the Texas Rangers offer Joey Gallo or the Chicago Cubs offer Kyle Schwarber.
There are certain trades the Yankees should make. However, they shouldn’t be trading just to trade, even if the majority of the fanbase wants them to make deals. Trading Carlos Beltran would make sense. Even seeing what Brian McCann, Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, or Chase Headley would bring back would be worth it, though trading them isn’t likely. Next season’s free agent market is going to be weak and the only player the Yankees should invest in, even if they do trade him this years, is Chapman. Why not take some of the money that is coming off of the books and give it to someone who has been lights out in the closer role and is a part of a historically great trio?
Miller owns a 16.20 K/9, 0.68 WHIP, and 1.47 ERA. Betances owns a 2.63 ERA, 16.24 K/9, and 0.98 WHIP. Chapman has a 13.50 K/9 ratio, 0.95 WHIP, and 2.86 ERA. Collectively they have struck out 173 in 99.2 innings. You really want to break that up and watch the remainder of the Yankees’ bullpen try to close out games? No thanks.
Selling would please many fans but could leave them with seller’s remorse. Instead, the Yankees should tinker but not overhaul. Maybe see if they can add a prospect or two for players that don’t have a future with the club. The trio of Betances, Miller, and Chapman most certainly should have a future with this team and the Yankees should even look into getting some bullpen help either at the deadline or over the winter so they don’t burn these three out.