When a team like the Yankees are stuck in third place with a pitiful lineup and a shaky rotation, you know changes are coming. Yesterday, the changes began to arrive. Vidal Nuno was traded to the Diamondbacks in exchange for Brandon McCarthy. Alfonso Soriano was designated for assignment. Chase Whitley was removed from the starting rotation, replaced by Shane Greene. These changes, especially the McCarthy acquisition, should all lead to an improved team. However, they need to be beginning of things to come if the Yankees want to continue to play baseball when the calendar turns to October.
Brandon McCarthy is a step in the right direction for the starting rotation. Both Vidal Nuno and Chase Whitley have been horrific for weeks and neither has given the Yankees the innings required. Soft tossing lefthanders get eaten alive by Yankee Stadium and Nuno was no exception. He will probably fare better in the desert than he has in the Bronx. McCarthy is not an ace. He is a journeyman pitchers with a 3-10 record and ERA over five. However, he should be able to provide the Yankees with something they desperately need and something Nuno was never able to provide: that something is innings. McCarthy may not be a top flight pitcher but he has shown himself to be a legitimate major league pitcher capable of going late into a ball game when healthy. This season McCarthy has been averaging over six innings per start. While those innings have not been always been amazing, the Yankees bigger need at this point is just having someone capable of filling those innings to try to preserve a stellar albeit overworked bullpen.
The problem with trying to change a third place team into a contender is that there is likely more than one area of the team that needs to be upgraded. GM Brian Cashman has addressed one of the major holes in the sinking ship that is the 2014 season, but there is still a lot of work to be done. If this trade and the subsequent jettisoning of Soriano is the entirety of the moves Cashman is going to make, the Yankees will be watching the playoffs on television. They need yet another starting pitcher now that Sabathia is likely done for the year and Michael Pineda still out indefinitely. The lineup also needs to be addressed. The run production this season has been non-existent. If the lineup does not produce in the second half, the Yankees will continue lose close games. Hopefully, there will be more moves to come and the Yankees will be able to make a run in the weak AL East, otherwise football season will be starting early this year for Yankee fans.