Remember when everyone thought 2021 would be the closest chance we had to see a Los Angeles Dodgers vs New York Yankees World Series? Much of the baseball world was yearning for it.
Is it still possible? Sure. But the Yankees are decreasing the chances day by day with their uninspiring and downright embarrassing play. They now sit at 31-29 after getting swept at home by the Boston Red Sox for the first time in a decade.
Those who watch the Yankees very closely will tell you that the organization’s vision and plan for this roster is falling apart at the seams.
The team lacks fundamentals in every single way imaginable. They no longer hit for power. They no longer hit! Nobody is clutch. They strike out way too much. They hope for walks instead of being aggressive at the plate.
That’s why it’s worth wondering that if the Yankees happen to fall even further out of contention over the next month (they’re currently 6.5 games out of first place in the AL East) it’s quite possible they sell off some assets at the trade deadline and go back to the drawing board.
And there’s one (or two) guys on New York’s roster that could really help out the Dodgers.
The Yankees and Dodgers would make for good trade partners in an alternate universe.
This, of course, would mean the Yankees’ season would be flushed down the toilet, but if they’re out of contention and will be looking to reconfigure the roster, what’s the need for Aroldis Chapman and/or Zack Britton? Those are two high-priced relievers that serve no purpose on a team that’s soul searching.
It’s far from a foregone conclusion, but Dodgers fans should be keeping an eye on the Yankees’ progress. They’ve lost 10 of their last 13. Corey Kluber is likely out for two months. Luke Voit’s oblique injury is troublesome. They’ve only won half of Gerrit Cole’s starts. DJ LeMahieu is batting .250. There are multiple sluggers still hitting around .200 or lower. It’s simply not sustainable.
Coincidentally, the Dodgers need some bullpen help. They rank 12th in the league with a 3.72 ERA among their relievers and that’s just not good enough against potent NL offenses, the best of which reside in their division. Chapman or Britton helping fortify the back end of the bullpen would really change the complexion of the Dodgers’ unit and create a more stable environment for manager Dave Roberts.
Oh, there’s another reason why it’s not insane to think the Yankees might sell! MLB insider Ken Rosenthal recently expressed that New York likely won’t exceed the luxury tax threshold, which indicates they won’t be making momentous moves to upgrade at the trade deadline, because that typically requires inheriting salary. If the Yankees aren’t going to do that, then what’s the point? They’re just going to waste away with this incapable roster?
The Dodgers blew past the luxury tax threshold by over $40 million. What’s the harm in adding another $5-$8 million to patch up a struggling area of the roster? We know Andrew Friedman isn’t concerned about it. He’d rather back-to-back titles, and with a weakened American League, it’s well within focus as long as the Dodgers can take care of business in the NL.
So if the Yankees are open for business in the event this current run of form doesn’t do an about face, expect the Dodgers to be among the first teams to pick up the phone and buzz general manager Brian Cashman.