In the past few weeks, Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman decided not to wait for the Jul. 31 trade deadline in his attempt to upgrade the roster.
Cashman has made some moves that have paid off and not cost the Yankees very much in return, as newly acquired Brandon McCarthy and Chase Headley have been significant contributors to the Yankees’ recent winning streak.
As we head towards Jul. 31, Cashman will look to make more smart moves to continue better the club. The question is, will Cashman look for pitching, or focus more on helping the lineup?
Recently, Cashman told reporters that he would be looking to bolster the starting rotation.
Considering that 80-percent of the original unit is currently on the disabled list, this statement seemed pretty reasonable, but a funny thing happened. McCarthy, David Phelps and Shane Greene all stepped up and filled in for their injured teammates. Meanwhile, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran continue to struggle at the plate, and Mark Teixeira cannot remain healthy enough to stay on the field.
Despite their inability to score runs consistently, the Yankees have managed to start out on the winning track after the All-Star break. But how long can this last realistically? Sometimes you’re going to need to outscore the other team, and the Yankees cannot do that right now. Also, by constantly playing in close games, the chances of burning out Dellin Betances and David Robertson increase with each contest.
With an additional wild card team now making the playoffs, there is a domino effect on the trade market. Since more teams are in contention for postseason play, there are less sellers, and the teams that are willing to make deals are demanding more in return. This is where trouble lies for the Bronx Bombers.
Many of the players on the Major League roster are aging and make a lot of money. Plus, their farm system is relatively weak. This paints a pretty bleak picture as far as getting a big name, but as illustrated above, Cashman has done a good job of getting decent players without having to give up a lot.
So, who can the Yankees target?
Ryan Howard’s name keeps popping up, especially since the Phillies made it known that they would be willing to deal the first baseman and still pay some of his salary. With Howard struggling, do the Yankees roll the dice and hope the short right field porch reinvigorates the slugger? It’s possible, but someone like Marlon Byrd might make more sense, given his better production this season, and reasonable $8 million salary – per Spotrac. Can the Yankees really survive with Ichiro Suzuki as their everyday right fielder?
Another under the radar name to keep an eye on is Josh Willingham.
Yes, he is only hitting .215, but he has 10 home runs in just 56 games. He is also set to become a free agent after 2014, meaning it probably wouldn’t take much to get the Twins to bite. And again, unless the Yankees are willing to part with Betances or Brett Gardner, they just don’t have enough trade bait to get a big gun.
But then again, these are the New York Yankees. When have they ever done anything under the radar?