During my wanderings around Baseball Reference Wednesday afternoon, I found myself on the page for the 2003 Yankees. As I read over the team roster, I was surprised at the number of moves the team made in June. To gear up for their epic postseason series against the Red Sox, Brian Cashman was a trading fiend.
The party really started in early June when the Yankees traded March Thames to the Rangers for Ruben Sierra. A few weeks later, they added Karim Garcia and Dan Miceli. Armando Benitez made his way from Queens to the Bronx in mid-July, and Jesse Orosco joined him six days later.
As the deadline neared, the pace picked up. Dan Miceli was out on July 29 and so was Raul Mondesi. In were Dave Dellucci and Bret Prinz. On the 31st, Brian Cashman landed himself Aaron Boone, Bubba Crosby, Scott Proctor and Gabe White. He wasn’t yet done though.
As the waiver deadline didn’t arrive until the end of August, Cashman kept working. Benitez, thankfully, was gone by August 6, and the Yanks netted themselves Jeff Nelson in return. On August 25, the Yanks received Felix Heredia off of waivers from the Reds, and they traded Jesse Orosco six days later. And then, Cashman was spent.
Six years later, we find ourselves once again on the brink of the trade deadline, and while the rumors are swirling, the Yankees have added, well, just Eric Hinske. All is quiet on the Yankee front. While the Red Sox were adding Adam LaRoche and Chris Duncan — good luck with them — the Yankees warrant nary a word in Ken Rosenthal’s latest.
This below-the-radar turn for the Yanks is rare. Generally, the Yankees are in on everyone and make a deadline splash. This year, though, the holes are less obvious. They could use a starter — we’ll tackle that question in the morning — and they could use a bullpen arm. If the right outfielder were available for the right price, the Yanks would probably be mentioned there too. They have, for what it’s worth, been scouting Oakland, but they’re also about to begin a four-game set against Matt Holliday and the A’s. I wouldn’t read too much into that.
A few days ago, Brian Cashman, while staying a bit coy, expressed his pleasure with the state of the Yankees. “I’m very comfortable with the decision we made back with the Santana situation,” he said to Tyler Kepner. “Right now, we’ve got Sabathia where the Santana money is, I’ve got a center fielder in Melky, I’ve got Phil Hughes performing for us, and I’ve got Swisher in right, which Jeffrey Marquez was in the deal to help me get.”
In other words, Cashman isn’t about to sell the farm and pay out of the ear for another pitcher. Roy Halladay won’t be arriving in New York.
Cashman also noted that the July 31st deadline is largely a pointless one. “The waiver stuff is not going to prevent deals in August,” the Yanks’ GM said to Kepner. “Guys are going to get through because people will be afraid to claim and get stuck with the money they can’t afford. The July 31 deadline is more of a fictitious one now, anyway. It’s not like it was when Steve Phillips and I were going haywire, taking everybody off the wire. Those days are dead and buried, because no one can live with a mistake like they used to. The economy’s changed, and it’s affected everybody.”
There will be no more Jose Canseco waiver grabs, but there could be some moves. So for now, the Yankees remain on the sidelines and silent, enjoying their two-game lead over Boston. But the deadline is still eight days away, and there’s much dealing to be done. It won’t stay this quiet forever.