Revisiting the Yankees failed 2010 trade deadline (Damn you, Cliff Lee!).
Because of their monster budget, the New York Yankees are always viewed as buyers at the trade deadline. More often than not, general manager Brian Cashman finds himself on the prowl for starting pitching, and that was the case in 2010, when the club was desperate to add a formidable No. 2 option behind ace CC Sabathia.
Though Andy Pettitte, who finished 11-3 with a 3.28 ERA, was dependable, injuries limited him to just 21 starts. The rest of the rotation — which featured the likes of AJ Burnett, Phil Hughes and Javier Vazquez — combined to log a ghastly 4.92 ERA.
It certainly wasn’t a fun time for Yankees fans, but let’s attempt to reminisce on the failed 2010 trade deadline.
Long story short, New York was on the verge of acquiring stud lefty Cliff Lee from the Seattle Mariners, but the deal ultimately crashed and burned after the latter club became skeptical of trade piece David Adams’ medical records.
The Yankees countered with Adam Warren, but Seattle was demanding one of Eduardo Nunez or Ivan Nova. As we know, Cashman didn’t budge and the Pinstripe faithful watched Lee get dealt to the Texas Rangers. Ironically enough, the former Cy Young delivered an absolute masterpiece in Game 3 of the ALCS that year against the defending champs, tossing eight shutout innings while striking out 13 batters.
Instead of Lee, the Yankees ended up with a trio of veterans in the twilight of their respective careers — Lance Berkman from Houston and both Kerry Wood and Austin Kearns from Cleveland. The former trade ultimately cost New York the most, as the club unloaded prospects Mark Melancon and Jimmy Paredes for the former six-time All-Star.
Let’s just say that neither trade ended up working out for the Yankees. Berkman appeared in 37 games before leaving in free agency that offseason. Across 106 at bats, he hit .255/.358/.349 with one home run and just nine RBI.
As for Kearns, well, he was arguably worse than the former perennial slugger, as he compiled more strikeouts (38) than hits (24) during his 36-game tenure in the Bronx. Like Berkman, he failed to break the double-digit mark in RBI.
We’ll end with the silver lining in Wood, who proved to be terrific as the eighth inning specialist behind closer Mariano Rivera. The former two-time All-Star only made 24 appearances for the Yankees, but managed to post a stellar 0.69 ERA and 1.231 WHIP out of the bullpen.
We know it’s hard, but try to forget the other trades for a second. Had the Yankees landed Lee from Seattle, they would have been in pole position to repeat as champions. Instead, their 2009 title defense ended in the ALCS, where Lee and the Rangers (because of course) eliminated them in six games.
We’ll never stop thinking about what could have been had that near-trade with Seattle been finalized.