brian cashman yankees
Kim Klement | USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees went to Cleveland and pulled off another series win against the Guardians, as expected.

It really couldn’t have been scripted better. Saturday’s doubleheader sweep made losing to a lights-out Triston McKenzie the next day sting less. The Yankees still own the best record in baseball and a comfortable 13.5 game lead over the Red Sox in the AL East.

It’s about that time of year where we can safely say that New York is a legitimate World Series contender. The Aug. 2 trade deadline is coming up and general Brian Cashman has some big decisions to make.

Should he trade Joey Gallo’s ineffective bat and expiring contract for a bag of baseballs and dinner at Catch Steak? What about pending free agent Aroldis Chapman, assuming he’ll be able to find the strike zone on another team? If there’s one thing Cashman has in spades this year, it’s options.

And even if the heralded GM doesn’t make a deal at the deadline, would it really matter? These Yankees are the most resilient and focused since the 1998 team, and the Cleveland series showed that.

Has Jose Ramirez been figured out? The switch-hitting Ramirez has been a thorn in New York’s side for a long time. He was a .391 career hitter against the Yankees entering this season and is easily the Guardian’s most feared hitter. Just ask the $124 million extension he signed with Cleveland back in April.

Despite that, the Yankees’ pitchers have reversed their fortunes against J-Ram in 2022. The 29-year-old has only managed a .111 batting average against them this year as New York took the season series 5-1. Even if this is just a blip on the radar, it’s a good sign if the pitching staff can neutralize one of baseball’s best hitters.

Clay > Chapman. Three batters faced, three walks issued. That was the grand return of now-former star closer Aroldis Chapman from the injured list. Even worse, he entered the game in the seventh inning with a 10-2 lead, couldn’t get a single out, and Ron Marinaccio finished the inning with a dead arm as two of the runners scored.

Chapman’s ERA is now up to 5.14. He hasn’t even blown a save this year and yet continues to show he doesn’t belong anywhere near the mound in the ninth inning. Clay Holmes can breathe a little easier with his grip on the closer’s job holding firm…for now.

Comeback kids. Playing from behind does not deter these Yankees. It only fuels them. Both wins Saturday came after Nestor Cortes and Gerrit Cole each surrendered early home runs, only to follow with quality starts. Last season, the game would have practically been over in the early innings. This new attitude will only benefit New York as the long march to October continues and fatigue sets in.

Do the Yankees really need to trade for a bat? The Post’s Jon Heyman reported the Yankees are looking to acquire an outfield bat. Though not specifically tied to New York, he speculates Andrew Benintendi, Ian Happ, and Anthony Santander as the most likely to be available. All could be good fits on the Yankees and should be on Cashman’s deadline radar.

But let’s take a step back for a second and consider the current state of the Yankees. Gallo isn’t getting any better and we know he never will. Instead of granting Miguel Andujar’s trade request, why not deal Gallo and have Andujar split left field duties with Aaron Hicks? And let’s not forget that Marwin Gonzalez can play the outfield as needed too.

One thing’s for certain, even as Cashman plays his cards close to the vest. Whatever deal the Yankees make, if any, it’s hard to see anything standing in this team’s way en route to the World Series.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.