Yankees GM Brian Cashman stated the club would be "cautious buyers" during the trade deadline period. If a seven-player deal -- bringing in three major leaguers for one of the game's top prospects -- is cautious, this could be an interesting 13 days ahead.
The Yankees clearly filled two of their biggest holes by adding former organization relievers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to a tired and inconsistent bullpen, while adding Todd Frazier should stabilize the revolving door at first base for the remainder of the season.
While the deal will help in 2017, Robertson and Kahnle will also be on board through 2018 and 2020 respectively. Speaking of the future, how could the Yankees handle the rest of the trading period as the deadline approaches?
Add a starter
The Yankees have one more hole to fill and that's in the rotation. Their starters the last two days have demonstrated that the club is not strong at the back end. If they want to push the envelope they could look to add a starting pitcher to the mix.
The Yankees have been linked to Athletics starter Sonny Gray and since we understand that Cashman's "cautious" stance simply means adding control in big prospect deals, New York might still be in the mix for the right-hander.
Gray's health is a concern, but when healthy he is one of the better starters in the game. The 27-year-old would be under team control through the 2019 season. So again, while adding him to the rotation is an immediate upgrade, it aids the Yankees going forward.
Gray would immediately fill a spot at the top of the rotation with Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino. Add in CC Sabathia and Jordan Montgomery and the Yankees would have a solid rotation from top to bottom.
Stay internal for rotation move
The Yankees continue to suggest that right-hander Chance Adams, arguably the best pitching prospect in the organization, is not ready to make the move to the majors. However, trotting out Luis Cessa and Bryan Mitchell might not cut it any longer for a team looking to reach the playoffs. Why not give Adams (6-3. 2.45 ERA, 0.98 WHIP in 12 starts at Triple-A) a chance to prove himself with a start or two before the deadline?
If the Yankees truly fear Adams' command is not ready for the show, they could give recently called up lefty Caleb Smith a start in Cessa's spot. Smith owned a 2.07 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 87 innings with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season and looked quite able during his relief appearance Monday.
Chad Green and Adam Warren also have the ability to start games, but in my opinion, the club should leave them both in the bullpen and keep it as strong and as deep as possible. Further, my feeling is that both Green and Warren are simply better as relievers -- especially Green, who has been a revelation in the role.
Stand pat rest of the way
The Yankees could simply avoid the rest of the trade market and stick with the new status quo. They may believe that Mitchell or Cessa is all they need as a fifth starter when they have built such a deep bullpen.
Green, Chasen Shreve, Smith, and Warren can throw multiple innings, while Kahnle and Robertson allow the Yankees to strategically place Dellin Betances in high-leverage situations at various spots in the game. Robertson also provides the Yankees with another reliever besides Betances who can spell Aroldis Chapman when needed. Understanding this and keeping the bullpen at eight relievers allows the Yankees to balance innings the starters cannot provide.
The way I see it, the Yankees didn't make Tuesday night's trade to sit back the rest of the way. I suspect they will have increased discussions with the A's about Gray. They might not come to an agreement with Oakland, but the Yankees still have the prospects at their disposal to make it happen, with infielder Jorge Mateo being the most obvious choice as a headliner.
As with Blake Rutherford, Mateo is more or less blocked in the organization and was just promoted to Double-A, meaning he is a couple years away from making an impact in the big leagues. Mateo has already had his ups and downs in the organization, so there could be a feeling that dealing him is worth it to acquire Gray.
If a trade does not come to fruition, I don't see how giving Adams a chance to show whether his command issues will continue is any worse than using Cessa, who has undoubtedly demonstrated that he's not a major league starter. Further, Cessa is not exactly the poster child for command, so that reasoning is weak.
The Yankees are fortunate to be in a position to entertain a postseason berth in 2017. That combined with a fairly weak American League allows the team to push the envelope right now, but with a cautious approach that requires additions be able to help next season and beyond when the club expects to begin a long run as league favorites.