When 80% of your pitching staff hits the disabled list, your offense has been inconsistent and you’re the general manager of a team that expects a World Series every single season, you start acting like an actress in Hollywood. “I’ll just get a nip and tuck here and there.” After acquiring Brandon McCarthy from the Diamondbacks in exchange for “starting pitcher” (If you can call him that) Vidal Nuno, Yankees’ General Manager Brian Cashman went out and rented a third baseman in Chase Headley as the Padres begin to sell off their best players.
McCarthy has been superb so far, going 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA in his first two starts in pinstripes, and Headley delivered a walk-off single in his first game after being traded. Both deals are low risk, high-reward moves, and Cashman has done well on the trade market early on in the the trade season (The weeks preceding the July 31st trade deadline) giving up little in exchange for players that will help plug roster holes. But, and it comes as no surprise, Cashman made it clear the the Headley trade is far from the end of his work. Cashman said that the team is working on both large scale moves as well as smaller, more cosmetic trades.
Based off of the general manager’s track record, this should excite Yankees fans. If he says he’s got to work like a blackjack dealer at a Las Vegas Casino, that’s exactly what he’s going to do. The large trades would most likely be to address the pitching staff that is in need of support with C.C. Sabathia and Ivan Nova out for the season, and the fate of Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda‘s season is still in limbo.
The Yankees have been linked to arms like Cliff Lee (Phillies), Cole Hamels (Phillies) Andrew Cashner (Padres), Ian Kennedy (Padres), John Danks (White Sox) and the young pitcher out in Oakland, Tommy Milone who recently requested to be traded, and is also likely to be on the Yankees’ radar. Sticking to the Vegas metaphor, the odds of the Yankees coming away with one and maybe even two of these pitchers are pretty good. If the Yankees are going to ship out some of their better prospects it would be to acquire pitching depth. As for the smaller deadline deals, they’ll probably be to shore up some of the weaker points in the team’s tremendous bullpen. Guys like David Huff, Matt Thornton and Jeff Francis are not without their moments of glory, but are the three weakest points in the bullpen and could be replaced via the trade. They’ll likely check up on the relievers for the Phillies (Jonathan Papelbon, Antonio Bastardo, Ken Giles), Diamondbacks (Brad Ziegler, Addison Reed) and everyone’s favorite shopping mall, the Padres (Joaquin Benoit, Eric Stults, Tim Stauffer). Anyone of those player could be dealt to the Yankees and really turn the Yankees’ bullpen into one of the best ever from top to bottom.
Then there is the infield. Chase Headley will hold down the hot corner at third base for the remainder of the season, and is also a viable backup at first base. Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira are likely staying put for this season (You’re light laughter is appreciated) and that leaves only a hole at second base where for most of the season Brian Roberts has been ineffective both defensively and offensively. The Yankees and Brian Cashman could go for cheaper options to rotate in and out with Roberts. Darwin Barney who was recently designated for assignment by the Cubs could make sense for the Bombers. Of course this is New York we’re talking about. They could just as easily go big and blow everyone away by grabbing a second baseman like Chase Utley in a deal with the Phillies. After releasing Alfonso Soriano, the Yankees could also use a right fielder to solidify a very good outfield. Ichiro held his own at the plate for a time, but the 40-year-old has withered away with extended playing time. Alex Rios of the Rangers who Texas has been rumored to be shopping is an option that the front office should explore, as the 33-year-old is batting .302 with 4 homers and 42 RBI this year, while playing formidable defense. He would certainly be an improvement over Ichiro, who is dying to reclaim his old seat on the bench.
Whether it’s a big trade or a small trade, deadline deals are fun for fans of teams that are buyers. Seeing your team’s bright, shiny, new toy is a very cool sight, and who doesn’t love watching their club fill their needs as they gear up for a playoff run. For Yankees fans who say their team is out of it, they need to take a look at the standings. Sitting only four games back of the first place Baltimore Orioles, the AL East is wide open and whoever wins the trade deadline season could win the division. Acquiring Headley, is just the first step in what will surely be a very interesting trade deadline week for the Yankees. Two moves have already been made and they’re in the hunt for more!