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Are the Yankees discernably better?

BRONX, N.Y. — Many of you may be wondering what the New York Yankees are at the moment. For three months, the club was challenging the 1998 squad, among other historic teams for projected wins. Yet, in July, the team played .500 ball and carried a 2021 vibe.

So, what is this team? Who are these guys? Honestly, I believe they’re a lot closer to the 2018 or 2019 editions of this Aaron Boone era. It’s an era where Brian Cashman tweaks the roster but doesn’t make any franchise-altering splashes at the trade deadline. There’s no need to panic, the club could go .500 the rest of the way, win 100 games, and the American League East. It’s essentially about getting healthy and being ready for October.

The larger question is, do the Yankees have enough to put themselves over the top when summer turns to fall?

There are multiple angles to look at the trade deadline.

On the one hand, they failed to obtain Juan Soto and or Luis Castillo (who outdueled Gerritt Cole at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday afternoon). Whether one wants to attribute that to other organizations having better offers or the Yankees not being willing to completely sell the farm, it’s still disappointing.

On the other hand, outside of Ken Waldichuk and Luis Medina, they essentially held onto their top-tier prospects and addressed some needs in the process. Plus, they dumped outfielder Joey Gallo and his salary for prospect relief pitcher Clayton Beeter.

What puzzles me though about holding onto some of these prospects is why they haven’t called any of them up? The likes of Oswald Peraza, Oswaldo Cabrera, Estevan Florial, and Clarke Schmidt are all more than ready to contribute. Yet, the Yankees continue to trot out a weak left side of the infield with Isiah Kiner-Falefa, throw Matt Carpenter and Aaron Hicks in the outfield mix, and keep Domingo German in the starting rotation.

I’m not one of those people who went gaga about comparing Jordan Montgomery to Andy Pettitte. However, I do wonder why they didn’t make a corresponding move. It’s a huge ask to bank on German, that Luis Severino will fully recover and how long Frankie Montas’ shoulder holds up. On paper, a rotation of (not necessarily in this order) Cole, Mantas, Severino, and Nestor Cortes Jr. gives you plenty of options.

In the bullpen, you hope Zack Britton can return soon enough to make an impact. The addition of Scott Effross gives them another look out there. I’m not sure you throw him in many high-leverage sports but Lou Trivino helps eat some innings.

Thus far, Andrew Benintendi hasn’t differed much from where Gallo left off. One hopes he gets more comfortable because he has a decent postseason pedigree.

On paper, Harrison Bader represents an upgrade defensively in the outfield but currently, his foot is in a walking boot, so the jury is out on his contributions to the team this season.

So, while the Yankees have seemingly bolstered the roster, the question remains. Did they do enough to put themselves over the top in October?