If the Yankees make a run in the second half of the season, it will be on the backs of the players currently in the Bronx. Help is not on the way. The cavalry will not be swooping in to save the day. CC Sabathia, who the Yankees were counting on rejoining the rotation right after the All Star break, is now out for the season. If he needs microfracture surgery his career could be in jeopardy. Michael Pineda who was suspended and then injured while suspended has only just begun a throwing program. He is out until mid August at the earliest. Should he suffer yet another setback, his season could be over as well. Two of the biggest pitching assets on the trade market, Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammels were both traded from the Cubs to the A’s. There is no hero riding a white horse coming to save this team.
There is no one in the minors ready to step up the way Joba Chamberlain did in 2007 to spark this team. It is unlikely GM Brian Cashman will be able to pull off the kind of blockbuster trade needed to spark the Yankees to a division title. The trade market has been severely diminished due to the second wild card and general parity in the sport.
With an increased the number of teams who believe they can make a run for a playoff spot, less teams are ready to trade players. Dreams of the Bombers swinging a deal for David Price or Cliff Lee are fairy tales. The only trades that will be available will be for mediocre pitchers such as Jorge De La Rosa, Brandon McCarthy or Wade Miley. The Yankees would also be required to overpay in those cases as well. To add insult to injury, the team would still only be nominally better if those trades were made.
That leaves only one option for the Yankees. If they are going to make the playoffs this season, it will have to be because players who struggled in the first half turn things around and the team as presently constructed has a big second half.
There is plenty of talent on the roster, the problem is the talent has underachieved across the board. Hiroki Kuroda has to continue his recent string of solid pitching and Chase Whitley has to revert to the pitcher he was when he first got called up. Carlos Beltran, Alfonso Soriano and Brian McCann have to hit better and produce closer to their career averages. Then the few players who have excelled for the Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka, Dellin Betances, Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Adam Warren need to continue to exceed expectations.
Only if all of the above happens will the Yankees make the playoffs. This team cannot afford to tread water until help arrives, because help is not going to come. This team needs to step up, play hard and win ball games. Otherwise, the Yankees will once again miss the playoffs and many of the players, coaches and front office will updating their resumes come October.