Before the wheels fell off for the Yankees this year, they were actually in a position to buy prior to the August 1st trade deadline. General manager Brian Cashman did just about nothing to supplement the roster. But after hearing about their rumored trade discussions with the Red Sox, maybe it was a good thing.
According to Chris Henrique of Beyond the Monster, New York and Boston had discussed swapping starting pitcher Clarke Schmidt and outfielder Alex Verdugo:
The Red Sox discussed sending outfielder Alex Verdugo to the Yankees for starting pitcher Clarke Schmidt at the trade deadline, per sources.
— Chris Henrique (@ChrisHenrique) September 14, 2023
It was no secret that the Yankees needed to add another bat to the lineup. Especially if they had designs on contending for one of the AL Wild Card spots. And if that bat was going to go anyone, it was going to be in the outfield. That’s why they were seemingly constantly connected to Cubs outfielder Cody Bellinger before he was taken off the market.
But Verdugo? He’s having a decent year and is a fine ballplayer. However, adding him to the Yankees’ lineup probably wouldn’t have moved the needle very much. Through 561 plate appearances this year, Verdugo is hitting .274/.333/.441. That’s accompanied by 36 doubles, five triples, 13 home runs, 54 RBI, and 78 runs scored.
Could New York use that kind of production? Well, yeah — sure they could. But in exchange for Schmidt? Outside of Gerrit Cole, Schmidt has been manager Aaron Boone’s most consistent pitcher. And I’m talking from the standpoint of both production and health.
The right-hander has appeared in 30 games this year (29 starts) and has produced a 4.56 ERA. His results have been mixed over the last couple of months, but there was a stretch in May and June when he posted a sub-4.00 ERA.
It’s not like losing him would’ve been the mistake of the century. Far from it. But taking him out of the rotation to fill a need on offense would’ve created another problem for Cashman to solve. Plus, it’s the Red Sox we’re talking about — the Yankees almost never do business with them.
While Cashman got hammered for his general inaction at the trade deadline, not trying to make this hypothetical deal become a reality was probably for the best.