Yankees still have five days to bolster roster for playoff push

This should be the end of the line for Hughes
Heyman: "Forgone conclusion" that Joe Girardi will be back next year
(Patrick McDermott/Getty)
(Patrick McDermott/Getty)

Following last night’s loss to the Blue Jays, the Yankees have a 7.8% chance of making the playoffs according to Baseball Prospectus. Incredibly long odds with 31 games to play, no doubt about it, but it is doable. Considering it is Mariano Rivera‘s final season, the Yankees should have a little extra motivation to improve their roster as much as possible and make a serious run at the postseason.

Although the trade deadline passed almost a month ago, teams can still swing waiver deals at any time, even in September. The only problem is that a player must be in the organization (minors or Majors) by August 31st to be eligible for the postseason roster. There are no loopholes or exceptions, in the organization this Saturday or no postseason roster. That gives the Yankees less than five days to make any final moves and have those players be part of a potential playoff roster. There’s also the whole “the sooner you get them the more games they’ll play and help you” thing to keep in mind.

Barring a surprise return from Michael Pineda, David Phelps, or Vidal Nuno, the Yankees are as healthy as can be now that Derek Jeter has returned. Any help will have to come from outside. We already know they need to replace Phil Hughes in the rotation, but they could use more help than just another starter. Here are the club’s non-rotation problem areas — “problem areas” isn’t the right term, but you get the point — and a handful of potential trade targets.

(Ronald Martinez/Getty)
(Ronald Martinez/Getty)

Designated Hitter
The additions of Curtis Granderson, Alfonso Soriano, and Alex Rodriguez have helped the offense in a huge way. It’s crazy, who knew adding three above-average bats to the lineup would help? New York could still use some more punch though, particularly behind the plate. That won’t happen of course; the best solution there is more Austin Romine and less Chris Stewart. DH is a prime spot for an upgrade, however.

Last week we heard the Yankees were monitoring Justin Morneau and yesterday Jon Morosi reported Kendrys Morales has been claimed off waivers by an unknown team. Both guys make sense for the Yankees at this point — Morales would be the better fit as a switch-hitter — since they could take over at DH with Granderson shifting to right field full-time. Any self-respecting contender would have Ichiro Suzuki and his 77 wRC+ (37 wRC+ since the All-Star break) glued to the bench.

We still don’t know who claimed Morales, so the Yankees may or may not have had a chance at him. Morneau cleared waivers earlier this month and is there for taking though, and since the Twins aren’t planning to make him a qualifying offer after the season, it’s unlikely he will require a big return. Same with Morales, really. Salary relief and an okay prospect seems to like a logical return for less than five weeks of a flawed no-defense slugger.

(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty)
Lopez. (Thearon Henderson/Getty)

Lefty Reliever
There isn’t a team out there that couldn’t use another bullpen arm or two. The Yankees have plenty of setup man depth once Preston Claiborne returns, but they could use another left-hander to complement Boone Logan. Someone better than David Huff, anyway. Remember, they have a ton of games left against the Red Sox and Orioles. Having another southpaw to matchup with Chris Davis and David Ortiz and whoever else sure would be nice.

Javier Lopez of the Giants would have been perfect — dominates lefty hitters and has pennant race/World Series experience — but he was recently claimed off waivers by an unknown team according to Jon Heyman. I seriously doubt the Yankees are that unknown team; it would surprise me if he made it through the entire NL unclaimed. Paul Hoynes reported San Francisco was seeking a top pitching prospect for Lopez before the trade deadline anyway, so who knows if he was even acquirable.

Other potentially available lefty relievers include impending free agents Mike Gonzalez (holding lefties to a .331 wOBA), Darren Oliver (.447), and Oliver Perez (.302). Perez has stunk of late and the other two have not dominated same-side hitters this year as they have in the past. Aside from Huff and the injured Nuno, New York’s only internal option is the untested Cesar Cabral. Hard to see that happening, but who knows. Phil Coke came out of almost nowhere to dominate in September 2008. If the Yankees don’t make any moves between now and August 31st, that’s the kind of surprise performance they’ll need to contend in September.

This should be the end of the line for Hughes
Heyman: "Forgone conclusion" that Joe Girardi will be back next year
  • DearHal

    Dear Hal – start the offseason on the right foot by firing every Special Assistant on the payroll. You can begin with the likes of Jim Hendry.

    • Robinson Tilapia


      Like you have a clue what the job description of any of these people actually is.

    • JLC 776

      Yeah!!! And fire Kevin Long because the team can only hit HRs!!!

  • FLYER7

    Dan Haren to take a rotation slot and Morales to DH…

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Pretty much what I’d do, as long as we can send some MiLB fodder in return for both.

      • trr

        In our dreams…
        I’d say “Yes!” to both, but I don’t think we’re gonna make a move at all.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Oh, I’m not so sure about that. I think it’s quite possible.

          • trr

            I hope so…we need as much help as we can get.

  • Eddard

    What they have is what they have to go with. Why get a DH when Alex, Jeter and the 4th OFer will have to rotate in that lineup spot? I’d sit Ichiro more and use him as a PR. Start Grandy in RF. DH will rotate Jeter and Alex.

    Bullpen is already solid if it has Preston. It’s CC and Hughes that need to be replaced. Ultimately, it won’t matter one bit if they lose one of these next 2 games against the Jays. Any playoff team should be able to beat JA Happ and Tim Redmond with its life on the line.

  • b-rar

    Josh Willingham and Marlon Byrd are also on the waiver wire.

    • RetroRob

      I’d snag Willingham if it’s purely a salary dump (and he doesn’t even make all that much) for next year. Hard to judge his 2013 because of injuries, but if it looks like his skills are there, he’d be a solid addition for next season.

  • Kosmo

    I´m certain given AL W-L records of the contending teams NY would be 1st in claiming Morales. If they passed then Baltimore would add a bat they´ve been looking for and I don´t think NY would let that happen. It has to be NY.

    • JGYank

      KC and the Nats do pick before us but I’m not sure they consider themselves contenders.

    • JGYank

      Dbacks as well.

      • Travis L.

        All of the AL teams would have to pass for Morales to get to WAS or ARI.

        • JGYank

          Oh. Nevermind then. Dbacks have Goldschmidt anyway. So just KC and I doubt they going for it.

  • Samuel

    “somebody better than David Huff.” Well, hasn’t Huff been downright dominant since his recall?

    It would be much better to ride the hot left hand of Huff than go for another guy. ERA of 0.93 and almost a strikeout per inning looks pretty good.

    Go get a lefty reliever, have Huff move into rotation, Hughes to pen and dump Joba.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      It’s long relief against the Toronto Blue Jays but, yes, I’d say he’s earned himself a closer look, especially if Preston’s 6-7 inning time is currently in Charleston.

    • mitch

      He’s done a nice job getting through their AAA lineup a couple times, but his track record is pretty bad…still might be the best option though.

      One good thing is that Hughes’ next time up is after the rosters expand, so they could get away with a bullpen game. Let Huff, Warren, and Hughes go through a lineup one time each and hope you get through 6 or 7 innings with the lead.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting)

      Just about everything else in Huff’s career looks pretty bad.
      Worth a shot if they can’t get anything good, though. I just wouldn’t expect much.

  • JGYank

    Hope we claimed Morales. I wanted him badly at the deadline. But that won’t help if the rotation continues to struggle. Maybe we could use Haren too. Pen has been good enough.

  • Sweet Dick Willie

    Any mention of Oliver Perez is incomplete without a link to this comment, one of the best ever on RAB:


    • Robinson Tilapia

      I cried tears of joy and longing.

    • MannyGeee

      ahhhh, the soothing sounds of TSJC. Somehow, i think things would be better if he were still here.

    • JLC 776


    • Kramerica Industries

      I love how the Ponsnerian reference is in there.

      Really does take you back to those dark days of Sidney Ponson and Darrell Rasner getting the ball twice every five days.

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse than Phil & CC, BOOM!

    • RetroRob

      Thread makes me sad.

      TSJC, Mike, Ben and Joe all participating, humor, intelligence in the comments. Sigh.

    • Improbable Island’s Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR)

      Okay, that final line got me.

  • Mike HC

    It is starting to get that too little, too late feel. Upgrades sound great but not at the cost of more of our young lottery tickets at this point in the season. If we can get these guys for basically nothing, then great.

  • JGYank

    Hopefully we can give up Wells, Hughes, and Joba instead of prospects. Since that’s not happening just hope it’s a PTBNL and cash considerations.

  • Donny

    Phew… That was close. We almost got through an entrie “objective” piece by Mike without mention of his feelings for Ichiro. Point taken: some of us understand that Ichiro is not an All-Star anymore, most of us want to see him out there because he is a known commodity, and all of us understand that you don’t want him starting everyday in RF. I’ve even seen a decent response from the commenters that have even conceded these same points to you in hopes that you will just drop the subject in your write-ups.

    With that being said, there is no need to point out the obvious that the majority of people on here (myself included) were wrong to want Ichiro back as an everyday player. I’m sure you still get inundated with a bevy of questions/comments/tip submissions that still think he is the greatest hitter of all-time (and it probably drives you to this), but I just wanted to let you know that the horse is beaten, dead, and dismembered.


    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Sure. The Ichiro defenders were so gracious when he hit .300 for 50 games before the All-Star break, after all. I guess I should return the favor and lay off.

    • Rolling Doughnut

      I don’t think it has anything to do with “feelings”. More like the 37 wRC+ since the All-Star break. Kinda speaks for itself no?

  • Mandy Stankiewicz

    John Buck was just placed on waivers. He could be a nice upgrade at catcher–I would prefer he left his airbrushed helmet in Queens, though.

  • mitch

    Already traded to PIT along with Marlon Byrd and a month’s supply of HGH

  • hey now

    Ervin Santana’s on waivers. Get him, Cash!

    Hughes to the pen, where he belongs.