With MLB trade rumors surrounding Colorado’s shortstop, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Yankees are one of the teams that has already reached out. Considering the deadline is on July 30, the clock is quickly counting down before something needs to happen.
Early speculation suggested the Yankees could make Gleyber Torres one of their trade chips to acquire a big bat. But because Torres is under team control through 2024, it’s highly improbable that New York trades a premium asset for a half-season rental.
However, there’s no denying the Yankees need to upgrade in the middle infield. With the Yankees, sitting in a distant third in the AL East, the AL wild-card game is the only realistic hope for New York to reach the MLB playoffs. So, with the front office looking to be aggressive, let’s examine a potential blockbuster trade for the Yankees.
The recent history of the MLB trade deadline proves the quality of returns for half-season rentals is diminishing. It’s why the Rockies would have been wise to trade Story this past offseason and explains why acquiring an All-Star shortstop won’t be as costly in July.
In Colorado’s defense, Story also hasn’t helped his trade value this season. After posting a .289/.355/.519 slash line and a 117 wRC+ in 2020, the 28-year-old’s numbers have dropped significantly this season.
Any team acquiring Story would owe him less than half of his $18.5 million salary this season. It could be an even lower financial hit if the acquiring club sends a better prospect in exchange for Colorado covering part of his salary.
A potential trade for the Yankees could look like this:
Medina, who represented New York at the Futures Game in Colorado, is a promising righty who could make his MLB debut next season. While the Yankees would certainly prefer to keep him, he is a reasonable trade candidate who would allow the Bombers to retain each of its top-five prospects.
This could certainly be a return that interests the Rockies, considering it addresses their long-term woes at pitcher and also delivers a promising shortstop prospect. For a front office weighing whether to let Story walk in free agency and receiving a 2022 compensatory pick in return or landing this haul, the latter makes more sense.
As for the Yankees, acquiring Story would do a lot of things. He should remain at shortstop, where his bat and defense are both superior to that of Torres. But New York still keeps its talented infielder, making him more comfortable at second base.
This trade also takes care of first base, a position that currently holds an 87 wRC+ and .659 OPS. DJ LeMahieu, who sports a .272/.356/.379 slash line since June 1, takes over at the position to fill that void. As for Luke Voit, he can be the designated hitter with Giancarlo Stanton returning to the outfield.
The second half of the season can serve as a trial run for Story. If his bat heats up at Yankee Stadium and Story fits the clubhouse, the Yankees can sign him to a long-term deal this winter. If it doesn't, little harm is done, and the front office can turn its attention to a loaded class of MLB free agents.