The Yankees didn't add a starting pitcher Wednesday, which at one point might have sounded like their worst-case scenario for the trade deadline.
That was until the Astros, perhaps their primary competition for the American League pennant, got busy in the moments before the 4 p.m. cutoff, adding Zack Greinke and Aaron Sanchez to a rotation that already includes Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.
No new Yankee starter, plus two live arms heading to Houston? Yikes.
"That's going to kill the Yankees," said a talent evaluator from an opposing team. "They needed starting pitching no matter what they say."
Here's how an executive from a competing team viewed the Astros' haul: "Very good. They are built to beat the Dodgers."
No mention of the Yankees in that informal World Series projection. But the executive did add, "The Yankees are still a very good team."
The Dodgers, of course, went into play Wednesday with the best record in baseball and most believe they'll go to the World Series for the third straight season. The Astros had the best record in the American League and the Yanks, the second.
So here's what the Yankees might face if they indeed get into a rematch of the 2017 AL Championship Series against Houston: A seven-game set with Verlander, Cole and Greinke pitching at least twice each, with Sanchez or Wade Miley helping.
"Very hard," the executive said.
As a refresher, the Yankees scored all of three runs in the four games played in Houston in 2017 and were shut out in the deciding seventh game.
Sure, the clubs are different now. But the Astros were already fourth in MLB in rotation ERA at 3.68. The Yankees ranked 17th at 4.77.
Still, the Yankees did not work out a trade for a starter such as Trevor Bauer or Marcus Stroman, who were both moved. Greinke's no-trade clause list included the Yankees and he's never seemed to want the New York experience anyway.
The Yanks didn't add a reliever to a talented bullpen that perhaps does not have the bulletproof rep it had earlier in the season, either.
Some in the game apparently don't believe they had the pieces to make a deal for a frontline starter, whether they wanted to sacrifice prospects or not.
"Their system lacks average and high-end talent that's attractive," the executive opined.
Despite that, GM Brian Cashman was not bluffing when he said in the days leading up to the deadline that he was comfortable walking away from high price tags and standing pat. Hey, young talent rules the game now and teams cling to it.
Cashman and the Yankees will rely on the returns of Luis Severino and reliever Dellin Betances as their deadline moves, of sorts. Neither has pitched this season because of injuries, but both are working their way back now.
That'd be great - both are outrageously talented and if they are truly healthy, will be huge additions. How about Severino piggybacking off a Chad Green opener against the Astros? Intriguing.
But it has to work. And, as the scout says: "It's very risky. Both guys (Severino and Betances) will not be at the top of their game."
Maybe Deivi Garcia, a much-asked-for Yankees prospect that the club didn't want to trade, can come up and help the big club. Or perhaps James Paxton, who's mostly been a disappointment in pinstripes, can emerge into the ace-type that Cashman envisioned when he traded for him last winter.
We'll find out about all of it in October, which is when the bill for this deadline presumably comes due. Will the Yankees still be content about standing pat at the deadline then?