With the acquisition of Alfonso Soriano, the Yankees may have filled a hole that they were craving to do. ESPN’s Jayson Stark mentioned in his Friday column that going into Friday’s action there were 860 homeruns hit by right handed batters since May 23rd. The Yankees have only hit two of those. Let that sink in for a minute. While Soriano is streaky and strikes out a ton, he will hit some bombs. Here are a couple of other places Brian Cashman could look to improve on before Wednesday (or before August 31).
Third Base: Quadgate notwithstanding, if and when Alex Rodriguez actually plays, he can’t play third base everyday. The team could use an upgrade over the Luis Cruz‘s of the world. One target could be Aramis Ramirez if he proves that he’s healthy. He’s due $16 mill next year, however, there is a $4 million mutual buyout. If the Brewers were able to eat some of the money (let’s say $10 mill), $6 million could be a steal for Ramirez next year. If Curtis Granderson leaves, Soriano could be the guy in leftfield, which could let the Yankees switch off Ramirez and A-Rod at the DH spot.
If Ramirez isn’t an option, Michael Young could be, though the Yanks will face some competition to get him if he becomes available. Young’s contract expires at the end of this year. He could be a nice lower part of the order hitter, as a guy who can still hit a little bit.
Catcher: It would be a nice spot to upgrade as well, however, I don’t think Carlos Ruiz is possible. Ryan Doumit may not be available either if the Twins want to keep him for next year. There’s not a lot of catching out there in the trade market.
Trade Joba and Hughes?: For a team that’s looking to upgrade their pitching (Hello Atlanta) Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes could help. The Yankees probably won’t be retaining either player’s services next year, and extending a qualifying offer could be a dicey proposition. If the offer is better than the potential first round pick, the Yankees should take it.
David Phelps can step in and replace Hughes in the rotation, with Michael Pineda as another possibility if deemed healthy enough. Pineda could step in in the bullpen for Joba, as could Dellin Betances, who has a 1.77 ERA as a reliever and struck out 52 in 40 innings. He’s also out of options next year so it could be an audition for him.
The Yankees aren’t that far out of a playoff spot. They are three and a half out of the wild card and seven in the division. With an additional move and maybe some actual health from Derek Jeter and Granderson, the last two months of the season could be a whole lot of fun.