It always comes down to the Dodgers and Yankees, doesn’t it? Someday, some way, the ’70s World Series reunion of the baseball world’s dreams will actually materialize. For now, it’s just the teams’ respective executives doing battle at the 2022 trade deadline, with the Dodgers claiming the upper hand through Round 1.
This year’s top prize is Reds ace Luis Castillo. The Dodgers have managed to patch together the back end of their rotation with an endless list of surprising names, a strategy that worked for the Yankees through mid-June, but not so much anymore.
Both teams want to win now and win later. Both teams have rotation needs, though the Yankees’ issues are more glaring. Both teams have injured top-tier starters in Walker Buehler and Luis Severino. And yet … the Dodgers seem uniquely poised to add Castillo, while the Yankees haven’t pledged to go far enough quite yet.
For whatever reason, despite having two shortstops atop their prospect list in Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza — plus Roderick Arias and Trey Sweeney below them — the Yankees seem completely unwilling to surrender either upper-level shortstop.
The Dodgers, on the other hand, seem to know what type of chances a team has to take to get over the hump.
Dodgers can pass skittish Yankees in Luis Castillo trade chase
Last season, the Dodgers confronted this exact issue at the trade deadline. With Will Smith firmly entrenched behind the plate in the bigs and both Keibert Ruiz and Diego Cartaya waiting behind him, Los Angeles had a somewhat painful decision to make. With both the present and future seemingly locked down, could they surrender either Ruiz or Cartaya to make an impact deadline move?
Ultimately, while Ruiz has performed well in Washington and Max Scherzer has since departed, LA still has a potential All-Star catcher in the bigs, a second year of Trea Turner in the midst, and Cartaya lurking (and a capable backup in Austin Barnes long-term, for what it’s worth). It was the type of move winning (and daring) teams make.
The Yankees? For all intents and purposes, they have an All-Star second baseman in Gleyber Torres, who has reemerged as a threat. They have DJ LeMahieu floating around the infield filling gaps for the next three seasons after 2022. They believe in Volpe. They believe in Peraza. It’s more than likely there’s no room for both players at the MLB level in 2023 and 2024. So why not make the same calculus the Dodgers made last season?
No complaints from California, though. Andrew Friedman will simply plow ahead and peel the bandaid off, making a painful move for Castillo while knowing he made his team better and more likely to hoist a trophy at the end of the season.
Brian Cashman? He’s only making his team more likely to face a position crunch in ’23 and ’24.