As the calendar turns to June, the Yanks are close to being dead in the water.
In April, they went 9-14, scoring 131 runs while allowing their opponents 125. Poor starting pitching performances spearheaded the loss column, though a potent offense mitigated some of the damage — which says a lot, considering the results.
In May, they went 13-15, scoring 137 runs while allowing their opponents 143. This was due to hitters not hitting for games at a time. However, the team line of .276/.351/.431 is comparable with the team April batting line of .268/.347/.421.
The pain of this season is simple: the highs are too high and the lows are too low. And, in the end, the stats balance themselves out. However, because their standing is based on the results of games, rather than an amalgamation of the entire season, they’re sitting in last place in the AL East. Only Kansas City, Texas, and Cincinnati have won fewer games than the Yanks (they share a win total with Tampa Bay, Washington, Chicago, St. Louis, and Houston).
Now Jason Giambi is out, leaving a hole at DH. There are a number of things the Yankees can do to fill that gap. The most likely is to rotate it among Matsui, Abreu, and Damon, leaving Melky in the outfield full time. Another is to add Josh Phelps to that rotation.
But the Yanks have other glaring problems that need to be addressed. Brian Cashman needs to work the phones to see if he can salvage this season with a few replacements. Because we could get them for less value than, say, Mark Teixeira, here are a list of five players I wouldn’t mind seeing Cashman trade for. Suggestions? Leave ’em in the comments or hit me with an e-mai: rabjosephp at gmail dot com.
1. Scott Hatteberg. As mentioned, the Reds one of the few teams to have a worse record than the Yanks. Things look sort of brighter with Josh Hamilton set to return, but this team doesn’t look to be going anywhere fast. Would they really miss Hatteberg? I don’t think so. Could we use Hatteberg? Absofreakinlutely. Dougie Do Nothing has done just enough to stick around, and his 79 OPS+ is burdening the team. People may rave about his defense, but Hatteberg is no slouch patrolling first base (.821 Zone Rating for Mink, .854 for Hatteberg). He has a deal for this year ($1.65 million) plus a club option ($1.85 million) for next year.
2. Jon Rauch. The last thing Washington needs right now is a strong bullpen. They’re so deficient in every area that having a reliever like Rauch is almost a waste (like the Pirates and Mike Gonzalez). Getting young value for him would be a rare astute move by GM Jim Bowden. However, there are a few factors to consider in a trade for Rauch. First, at 28 he’s relatively young. He’ll just hit his three years of service time this winter, so he’s under his team’s control (via arbitration) for three more years. So he might cost a young arm. Second is that he’s not performing particularly well this season: 5.27 ERA. However, his WHIP is 1.21, so this could be a product of luck. Still, he could be a solid addition to the bullpen.
3. Reggie Sanders. Please, don’t kill me. We’re looking for guys that are attainable and likely available. At 39 years old, Sanders is just that. With David DeJesus and Mark Teahen already in the outfield and Billy Butler available, there is no reason to keep Sanders around for another losing season. Might as well get the youngsters some playing time. He’s making $5 mil this season, and was hitting .367/.446/.612 before hitting the 15-day DL on May 3. It was a hamstring strain, so he’d fit right in with our crew!
4. Akinori Otsuka. Another guy who might come with a bit of a price tag because he’s under his team’s control for three more years (though he made $3 mil in arbitration this year, and he was posted, so I don’t know how that affects his free agency clock). However, he’s a useless part for a shitty team like the Rangers. He’s started off strong, posting a 2.75 ERA in nearly 20 innings so far. Unfortunately, the Yanks won’t be the only team pursuing him.
5. Bob Howry. Okay, so he’s not doing so hot this year (5.11 ERA). However, the guy has had a total of one and a half bum years in his career, and they were with Boston. The guy isn’t going to have a 1.54 WHIP all year, so you might as well see if Hendry is willing to sell low on him.