The 2019 MLB trade deadline is fewer than two weeks away, and the New York Yankees continue to find themselves at the center of new rumors each day. The team has long been expected to acquire a starting pitcher that could bolster their chances of winning their first World Series in a decade.

A few marquee names are reportedly available. Former World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner is likely to be moved. AL Cy Young contender Mike Minor is reportedly on the block. Marcus Stroman is being dangled by the Toronto Blue Jays. The Cleveland Indians might even trade Trevor Bauer for the right price.

The Yankees don’t necessarily have to trade for one of those starters, particularly since doing so could cost them a top prospect. New York has a six-game lead atop the AL East and the best record in the American League through nearly 60 percent of the regular season.

Still, it would be surprising if the Yankees don’t make a significant move before July 31.

Here are three reasons why the Yankees will trade for a starting pitcher:

Recent Yankees history

The Yankees are a legitimate championship contender for the third straight season. In each of the past two years, New York traded for a starting pitcher that would go on to start big games for them in the playoffs. The Yankees swapped three prospects for Sonny Gray in 2017. It was J.A. Happ that came to the Bronx last season.

General manager Brian Cashman won’t be afraid to make a deal if it could put the club over the top this season. That doesn’t necessarily mean parting with prized prospects like Clint Frazier, Deivi Garcia or Estevan Florial. The cost for Happ wasn’t much in 2018, though the deal gave the Yankees their Game 1 starter in the ALDS.

A subpar rotation

Compared to the rest of the league, the Yankees don’t have a bad rotation. When it comes to playoff contenders, however, New York doesn’t quite measure up. The Yankees are fifth in the AL with a 4.13 ERA from their starters. The top three teams are all in the playoffs, at the moment, and the fourth is tied for the second wild-card spot.

New York doesn’t have any other major needs. The Yankees are second in runs per game in the AL, despite dealing with so many injuries in the lineup. The team’s top four relievers all have a sub-3.00 ERA, giving them arguably the most dangerous bullpen in baseball. It’s the rotation that could use an upgrade, especially in October.

The Houston Astros

The Minnesota Twins lead the AL Central and aren’t far behind the Yankees for the AL’s best record. The Tampa Bay Rays have MLB’s best team ERA. The Boston Red Sox are still in the hunt after winning last year’s title. But it’s the Astros that are the Yankees’ biggest obstacle in getting back to the Fall Classic, and it’s in large part due to their frontline starters.

Justin Verlander is the AL’s best pitcher, and his performance in the 2017 ALCS is ultimately what kept the Yankees from reaching the World Series. Gerrit Cole essentially gives Houston a second ace, having compiled a 2.97 ERA in one and a half seasons with the Astros. New York needs a top-flight starter that can go toe-to-toe with Verlander and Cole. With so many questions in the rotation, making a trade would give the Yankees one more option in that regard.

Madison Bumgarner San Francisco Giants
Madison Bumgarner #40 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning at AT&T Park on August 20, 2017 in San Francisco, California. Jason O. Watson/Getty Images