At this point, the New York Yankees have given general manager Brian Cashman very little incentive to bolster the roster at the trade deadline.
However, when you consider there isn’t a runaway favorite in the American league, unless the Astros strike a deal that sets them over the top, there’s still reason to believe.
Though the Yankees are still a handful of games out of the second Wild Card spot, all it takes is a big winning streak to send the teams above them into a state of panic. Having said that, they aren’t going on a lengthy streak anytime soon if their bullpen keeps blowing games.
As the wonderful Sarah Langs noted on Twitter, the Yanks have lost four games this year when they led by multiple runs in the ninth inning. They haven’t lost that many games in such fashion since 1979, and there’s still three months left to play.
Taking all of this into account, should New York consider upgrading their overworked bullpen? More specifically, should they set their sights on Pirates closer Richard Rodriguez?
The Yankees should look to bolster their bullpen at the trade deadline.
We’re not opposed to the idea. Though Aroldis Chapman is starting to look more like his normal self (that doesn’t say much) after his recent nightmarish run of form, suffice it to say he inspires more fear and anxiety than confidence in Yankees fans. In a perfect world, the front office would look to move off the hard-throwing lefty, but his contract makes that unlikely.
Additionally, Zack Britton has spent most of the season on the injured list. Even when he’s been healthy, he hasn’t been all that effective, allowing six earned runs in 6.1 innings. As for Justin Wilson, Nick Nelson and Brooks Kriske, we’ve seen enough of them in high-leverage situations to know they don’t deserve more opportunities in the second half.
That leaves Chad Green — who, despite being unhittable at times, has had his fair share of meltdowns with games on the line — Luis Cessa, Jonathan Loaisiga and Nestor Cortes, who came back down to earth on Friday, surrendering three runs in two innings of relief.
Is four reliable relievers enough to get by? Well, when you consider that the Yankees called Nelson’s number in a bases loaded jam earlier in the week, probably not.
If all that doesn’t prove New York should pursue Rodriguez, or some semblance of a competent reliever, we’re not sure what does. They have enough talent in their farm system to appease the rebuilding Pirates, so the teams should be able to work something out.
A surefire bet to get traded at the deadline, the Pirates star is 4-2 with a 2.82 ERA, 33 strikeouts and a 0.835 WHIP for the year. He also has one of the more livelier fastballs in the game, which would explain why he throws it more than 85% of the time.
Another reason why Rodriguez would be a terrific addition? He has two more years of club control after this season. Don’t look now, but the 31-year-old could be the guy to anchor the Yankees’ beleaguered bullpen as the club looks to punch a ticket to the playoffs in the second half.