As the August 1st trade deadline approaches, Yankees trade rumors indicate they’ll be buyers for the stretch run. How much will they buy, though? That’ll depend on how things go over the next few days, especially this weekend in Baltimore vs. the Orioles.
We know New York is aware of where its payroll stands in accordance with luxury tax implications. That could also impact which players they might try to acquire. However, it looks like the Washington Nationals have a couple of intriguing bats general manager Brian Cashman could target.
Third baseman Jeimer Candelario might just be the perfect player for the Bombers given their current situation. He’s finishing up a one-year, $5 million deal with the Nats. His financial cost won’t be a ton for the Yankees, and the prospect(s) needed to land him in a trade won’t be steep.
It doesn’t hurt that he’s produced at the hot corner thus far in 2023. Through 406 plate appearances, Candelario is hitting .253/.333/.479 with 29 doubles, 16 home runs, 52 RBI, and 55 runs scored. Those are solid numbers regardless of the situation. But when you compare them to what the Yankees have produced at third base this year (mainly from Josh Donaldson), he looks like Babe Ruth.
Given Candelario’s situation — being on a one-year deal and performing well for a team out of contention — he’s generating plenty of interest. However, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic is saying the Yankees are one of the teams vying for his services.
Another Nationals hitter that’s been on the radar for many contenders is outfielder Lane Thomas. Finding a way to not only acquire Candelario but also Thomas would be a boon for a Yankees offense that desperately needs more punch (even once Aaron Judge returns).
Finding a way to pry Thomas away from the Nationals would be more difficult, though. Rosenthal noted Washington is reportedly torn over making him available at all. Plus, the Nats view him as an everyday player, while other teams may view him as part of a platoon. He’s produced a 1.061 OPS in 138 plate appearances against lefties, compared to a .719 OPS in 299 plate appearances against righties in 2023.
Thomas’ salary isn’t restrictive ($2.2 million), but the Nats have two more years of team control before he hits the open market. So, they could view him as more of a long-term piece. And if any team is able to trade for him, the cost would be a lot higher.
Jim Bowden of The Athletic singled out the following four Yankees prospects in a hypothetical deal for both Candelario and Thomas: pitchers Richard Fitts and Chase Hampton, along with outfielder Anthony Hall and shortstop Roderick Arias.
Maybe that’s something Cashman is willing to do. Especially considering the financial cost and how they both fill an obvious need. We’ll see what tricks he has up his sleeve in the coming days as Yankees trade rumors continue to swirl.