Over at YESNetwork.com today, friend-of-RAB Jonah Keri checks in with the nine deadline deals he feels need to happen. The major highlights include Cliff Lee to Tampa, Victor Martinez to the Red Sox and Roy Halladay to the Rangers, but the Yankees make the list as well.
Keri believes, as do we, that the Yanks should do their best to acquire current Diamondbacks reliever Chad Qualls. The 30-year-old right-hander has thrown 39.2 innings over 38 appearances this year, and his peripherals — 33 strike outs to just five walks — are impressive. His 2.58 ground out-to-air out ratio make him, in the words of Buster Olney, a perfect fit for new Yankee Stadium. Anyway, this is Keri’s take:
Sure, Halladay or Cliff Lee would be a sexier move. But Qualls would give the Yankees an excellent strikeout-and-groundball machine who can provide a bridge to Mariano Rivera in the eighth inning (and hopefully serve as a stopper in earlier innings, if Joe Girardi will stop being so hung up on roles). But what’s this, you say, Phil Hughes is already a lights-out set-up man? Too true. But Hughes offers more value if he can settle in as a strikeout-throwing starting pitcher to replace DL’d Chien-Ming Wang and complement CC Sabathia and company.
The Yankees wisely have Hughes — like Joba Chamberlain — ticketed for the rotation long-term, knowing it’s much harder to find effective starters than useful relievers. Qualls would ensure the Yankees don’t have to ship out elite prospects like Jesus Montero to upgrade the big-league roster, while also giving Hughes a chance to stretch into a five- or six-inning starter now, and a potential rotation star later.
Needless to say, the Yankees aren’t going to shipping out Jesus Montero for anything short of the second coming of Whitey Ford right now, but Keri’s analysis is still spot on. Qualls would be a perfect addition to the Yankee pen, and his presence would give them some much-needed flexibility as their pitching depth has suddenly dissipated. We’ll have to see what Brian Cashman can do.