Everyone that follows the New York Yankees are well aware of their need for an upgrade to the starting pitching. With catastrophic injuries to 4/5ths of the starting rotation, general manager Brian Cashman has had to piece his rotation together from minor leaguers, expendable trade pieces, and an elderly veteran. Hiroki Kuroda, the old man of the pitching staff, is the last man standing.
With the team only 5 games out of the AL East lead behind first place Baltimore, and 3 1/2 games out in the wild card chase, the team, and management, need to determine over the next 15 days whether or not they are serious buyers at the non-waiver trading deadline on July 31st.
If the Yankees are willing to go all-in to make one more World Series run in Derek Jeter‘s final lap as a big leaguer, they can start with the Philadelphia Phillies’ lefty, Cole Hamels. According to a report from CBSPhilly.com, both the Yankees and their bitter rivals, the Boston Red Sox are in the hunt to land Hamels. The report cited Boston Globe writer Nick Cafardo, who said the Red Sox have had scouts as recent as last week watching Hamels pitch.
The Red Sox were one of a few teams to watch Cole Hamels earlier this week. Hamels has four years remaining on his contract.
— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) July 13, 2014
Some may question the Red Sox’ intentions, but they are 9 1/5 games out, and trying to defend their World Series title. Both their offense and their pitching has been inconsistent all season, and there have been rumors that the team is shopping former Cy Young winner, Jake Peavy. The Red Sox may also be thinking ahead to next season, and if they were to acquire Hamels, the team would be in a much better negotiating position with soon-to-be free agent pitcher, Jon Lester.
Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports, believes the Yankees have to make a big move, especially after losing rookie sensation Masahiro Tanaka for a minimum of 6 weeks. If the Yankees are lucky, his rest and rehab from a partial UCL tear will heal, and he can avoid Tommy John surgery. The team lost Ivan Nova to Tommy John earlier in the season, and C.C. Sabathia and Michael Pineda have struggled with knee and shoulder issues respectively, all season.
The one major roadblock preventing the Yankees from being the clear cut favorite for Hamels, is the weakness of major league ready prospects in their farm system. Hamels has four years and $90 million dollars remaining on his current deal, and while the prospects that New York has to offer might be lesser quality, not many teams could absorb 100 percent of the contract. The team has also been rumored to have interest in Cliff Lee, as always. Had the Yankees had the prospects at the ready two weeks ago, Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel would be in pinstripes today, but Oakland overwhelmed the Cubs by offering up a package of prospects that Theo Epstein and Co. couldn’t refuse.
It is assumed that because of on again, off again contract talks between Lester and the Sox, that odds are good that he will test free agency, where the Yankees and their checkbook will be waiting to weaken their AL East rival once more.