The past two days when Ichiro Suzuki and Brian Roberts were benched for Brendan Ryan and Zoilo Almonte sent a message. The Yankees needed a second baseman and a right fielder and they got just that in Stephen Drew and Martin Prado.
Drew’s never played second, and Prado has played right field once, but played 252 games in left field so he’s got experience in the outfield. Drew will be a major upgrade over Roberts defensively, and on days when Derek Jeter is off, an up-the-middle combo of Drew and Ryan is quite good, which will help the pitching staff.
Is Prado having the best of seasons? No. But .270/.317/.370 with five homers and 42 RBI is better than what Ichiro was giving the Yankees on a day in and day out basis. Late in games, Ichiro can come in defensively. Prado is under control for next year too and 2016. He could slide to second next year. He could slide to third next year (though that Alex Rodriguez guy comes back). He could also move into the number two spot in the lineup next year as well.
Giving up Kelly Johnson was not a big deal. Johnson didn’t exactly play well and with Brian McCann being the backup first baseman now, there wasn’t exactly a need for him. Is giving up Peter O’Brien the best thing in the world? No. It stinks to give up a guy with over 30 homers in the minors. But, he doesn’t exactly have a position, the Yankees have power coming in Aaron Judge and Eric Jagielo, and there is some issue as to whether or not he can hit more as he advances.
The Yankees could have used an arm or two, however, that could come with the possible return of Michael Pineda come mid-August or with a rotation add in August before the waiver deadline at the end of that month.
I don’t think Brian Cashman is done tinkering. The Yanks are 5.5 game out of first with two months to go. They are also just three games out of a wild card spot. The Orioles only added Andrew Miller and the Jays did nothing, though they will eventually get Edwin Encarnacion back. They have a chance to get back to the top and the new acquisitions will help. It’s just a matter of piecing it together.
Today’s deals should help on paper. Let’s see if it does in reality.