Yankees have plenty of needs as trade season approaches

Bad defense, bad offense send Yankees to 6-0 loss to Cardinals
Sorting through the Yankees' trade chips
Come back to us, Big Mike. (Elsa/Getty)
Come back to us, Big Mike. (Elsa/Getty)

The Yankees are more or less one-third of the way through their season right now — it’ll be exactly one-third of the way through following Saturday’s game, if you must know — so it’s not that early anymore. I mean, yeah, it is still pretty early, no one is out of the race yet or anything like that, but we’ve reached the point where we have a pretty good idea of who the Yankees are. They have an injured riddled rotation, an inconsistent offense, and an overworked bullpen. It’s not all bad of course, but there are problems that need to be addressed.

And yet, the Yankees come into today with a 27-24 record, which has them sitting three games back in the AL East with a half-game lead on a wildcard spot. They’re a good weekend from first place with a long way to go. Things could be much worse, but the Yankee seem to have this knack for hanging around and outperforming their problems. They did it just last year. That club has no business even thinking about the postseason in mid-September, and yet there they were. Even in their current state, I think it’s very clear this year’s team is better positioned to make a run than last year’s. It’s not even close, really.

The Yankees will need help to make any kind of run though, either internal help or by acquiring players from elsewhere. The Red Sox (Stephen Drew) and Orioles (Nick Hundley) have already taken steps to improve their roster, and I’m sure the Blue Jays are eager to capitalize on their current position atop the division as well. How long until we start seeing “Toronto interested in Jeff Samardzija” rumors? I give it like two weeks. Before we get into how they can address their problems — trust me, there is plenty of time to talk about that — we have to figure out what those problems are. Some are obvious. Others not so much.

Huge Need: Another Starting Pitcher
Masahiro Tanaka has been everything the Yankees could have possibly imagined and more. He’s been elite since day one and while I’m not sure he will sustain a 2.29 ERA and 2.61 FIP all season (pitching is hard), Tanaka is the very least of the team’s rotation concerns. The non-Tanaka starters have a 4.49 ERA and a 4.02 FIP though, and that’s a problem. Michael Pineda is working his way back from his back/shoulder injury but is still several weeks away. Even when he does return, how effective will he be and will stay healthy the rest of the year? Guys who have major shoulder surgery tend to keep getting hurt.


Hiroki Kuroda has not been as bad as he was down the stretch last year but he’s been far from the Hiroki Kuroda we all know and love, the guy who was ace-like for months at a time. He has shown flashes of improving but nothing more. At this point it’s tough to expect meaningful improvement. David Phelps, Vidal Nuno, and Chase Whitley are the number three, four, and five starters when they should be like, numbers six, seven, and eight. CC Sabathia? I’m not even sure what to say about him. Between the terrible performances and degenerative knee injury, I’m not sure how the Yankees could count on him to be anything more than a innings eating fifth starter when he does return. Adding another quality pitcher alongside Tanaka and maybe Pineda is imperative.

Big Need: Get More From Guys On The Roster
This goes without saying, but the Yankees need to get more from the players already on the roster. Jacoby Ellsbury (94 wRC+) and Brian McCann (75 wRC+)? Yeah, they have to do better than that, especially McCann. They were signed to anchor the roster and especially the lineup, not be big name complementary pieces. Alfonso Soriano (81 wRC+) has also been terrible. Kuroda falls into this category and I guess all the injured players do as well. This goes without saying, right? Needing more from the players already on the team is pretty standard across the league. Every club has guys not playing up to snuff.

Medium Need: Another Power Bat
So far the news on Carlos Beltran and his bone-spurred elbow has been positive, but he isn’t out of the woods just yet. Not even close, really. Mark Teixeira wrist has been barking on and off these last few weeks, and apparently the doctors said this will continue to happen from time to time, so the flare-ups will be an on-going thing. Soriano has a recent history of slow starts and I suppose he’s going through the same thing, but right now the power isn’t there. that’s pretty much his only redeeming quality. McCann’s seven homers are great, but his .152 ISO is his lowest since his rookie year in 2005.

As a team, the Yankees have a .139 ISO and are on pace for 149 homers, a tiny bit better than last year (.133 ISO and 144 HR). Remember, they play in a tiny ballpark and in a division full of time ballparks. On any given day, the so-called Bronx Bombers have little-to-no power players at second, short, left, and center, and that’s only because I’m giving Yangervis Solarte the benefit of the doubt. That’s half the lineup. The power production isn’t there, and while there is certainly more than one way to score a run, that ability to create offense with one swing is a game-changer. It makes rallying from behind and tacking on insurance runs much easier. Even if Beltran comes through this bone spur incident perfectly fine, another bat would be a big help.

(Brian Kersey/Getty)
(Brian Kersey/Getty)

Medium Need: Another Infielder
I have to admit, the infield has been way better than I thought it would be. Solarte has definitely cooled off but he still remains productive and a net positive to the team. He’s been an enormous lift. Derek Jeter is getting on base just enough (.337 OBP and 85 wRC+) — especially compared to the league average shortstop (.308 OBP and 87 wRC+) — to remain helpful, though it’s a far cry from vintage Jeter. Besides, it’s clear the team is not going to reduce his playing time at this point. The Cap’n will play, like it or not.

Brian Roberts has had his moments but has been pretty bad overall, both at the plate (85 wRC+) and in the field. He hasn’t been an outright disaster but he hasn’t exactly given the team a reason not to seek an upgrade. Kelly Johnson … I don’t get it. He’s been reduced to a once a week player and has struggled with the lack of playing time. I feel like Johnson is someone who could have helped had he not been buried. Whatever. And, of course, the overall infield defense has been a nightmare. All of them — Jeter, Solarte, Roberts, Johnson, and even Teixeira. Every game there’s a play(s) that hurts the team. There’s only so much the Yankees can do on the infield, but adding someone who can catch the ball and provide some pop should be on the trade deadline shopping list.

Small Need: Bullpen Depth
Both Adam Warren and Dellin Betances have been worked pretty hard these last few weeks, but Shawn Kelley will hopefully be back reasonably soon, and the Yankees do have some viable bullpen options in Triple-A, specifically Danny Burawa, Mark Montgomery, and Jose Ramirez. Matt Thornton has been good enough against lefties (.228 wOBA and 2.66 FIP) that replacing him isn’t a high priority. Getting some more length out of the rotation will make life easier on the bullpen, and even then there isn’t a team in the league that couldn’t use another reliever. Everyone wants bullpen help and the Yankees are no different. If they can find an upgrade, great. If not, well I doubt it will sink the season. The other problems are much more pressing.

Bad defense, bad offense send Yankees to 6-0 loss to Cardinals
Sorting through the Yankees' trade chips
  • https://twitter.com/Craigslist_26 Craig

    Two of these needs can be met with one person: Chase Utley.

    • RetroRob

      The Phillies should trade Utley, but it would be as likely as the Yankees trading Andy Pettitte the last couple of years.

  • TWTR

    Or maybe they need to try to sell any older players they can, and try to get younger by keeping their best prospects, which could facilitate and accelerate a reload for next year. I realize that hell will freeze over first, but the continual attempt to win now makes it harder to be a truly great team again. That doesn’t mean, of course, that you can’t trade young depth to fill in other areas of need, but for other players who are also young.

    • I’m One

      Which older players can they sell? Soriano? Roberts? No value. Beltran? Hurt. Kuroda? No Trade clause. Ichiro? He’s actually performing, but still has little value (and why would you want to get rid of someone that’s actually producing?).

      It’s good in theory, but I don’t see that as an actual alternative in reality.

      • Kosmo

        just clean house, release Soriano and Roberts. Neither are owed very much.

        • hogsmog

          It’s not like anyone else on the 40 man is positioned to outproduce those two at their respective positions…

        • RetroRob

          Who are they blocking?

          • The Great Gonzo

            All the kids! Like Zolio Almonte and Ronnier Mustelier!!!!


            • jmpnyy

              Mustelier has been released and is in the Mexican League

              • RetroRob

                I took it as sarcasm on his part.

      • TWTR

        As I said, it isn’t happening, but adding even more age to the roster at the expense of their best young players seems like risking sinking in quicksand.

        • I’m One

          I agree that we don’t want to part with young players to add old ones, especially rental players (uuless, ya know, Cliff Lee), but dropping older players just to drop them doesn’t do much either. This is a difficult situation. For everyone you drop, you need a replacement that’s better. Not easy to accomplish.

          Examples: Do you drop Soriano for Morales? Maybe, but neither is more than a 1-year stop gap anyway. Roberts also is nothing more than a player on this year’s team. I can’t believe he’ll be around next year. Kelly Johnson? Same thing.

          I’d love for the team to fix things, but it’s going to be hard to do. Even adding a young SS won’t do much this season. but I wouldn’t mind them doing that in preparation for next season.

          To me, young starting pitching is the key. Just need to find the right one for the pieces we have available.

          • Kosmo

            I should have been clear. If Soriano and Roberts are released then of course they´re be replaced by someone considered to be an upgrade. Obviously you can´t release players and have empty roster spots.

            Hal said he´s take on approx. 17 mil in salary if NY was looking to add.

            • I’m One

              And at the right time, that $17M should be able to buy some useful pieces. I’m just not sure the time is right yet. Early July at the earliest IMHO.

              • I’m One

                But those pieces are generally rentals as well.

            • RetroRob

              Booting Roberts wouldn’t bother me if it meant Johnson had more playing time. Soriano is Soriano. There is nothing different about him now than we’ve have seen in years past. He could just as easily hit 25 HRs the rest of the way. He’s is as hot and cold as player can be, so the replacement would have to be an improvement. To be clear, I don’t view Almonte as a prospect.

    • Mike HC

      We are in the mix now though. And where is this reload from next year supposed to come from? We don’t have valuable pieces to move. We don’t have almost ready minor league players ready to go for next year. Trading Cano was the only real option to kick start the reload and that ship sailed last year.

      • TWTR

        I agree about Cano, but take, for example, Murphy and Sanchez. They could either play increasing roles at C, or possibly some 1B or DH, this year and next, respectively, or one or both could be traded. If there is a trade, do they look for a young SS or 2B or SLG OFer, or is it for yet more aging players.

        • Mike HC

          Gotcha. That is not exactly “getting younger” but I see your point here. If we do trade from surplus it should be in the Montero for Pineda mold. Those trades are tough to find, but it seems logical to trade some of our young catcher talent for young infield/pitching talent.

      • Dick M

        I miss Cano.

    • Danny Ainge

      Yeah, trade the above average veterans and roll the dice on a rebuild and guys who are nowhere near ready for the Pros!

      Look how good it worked for me!

    • lightSABR

      I wish they’d done this last year by trading Cano and maybe Gardner, seeing whether Kuroda would have accepted a trade to the Dodgers, etc. But they didn’t, partially because they’re a win-now-always team and partially because, contrary to Cano’s opinion, they respected him too much for that.

      Now it’s too late.

      • nyyankfan7

        There was no partial reason or reasons to it – it was completely and whole-heartedly BECAUSE THEY WERE IN THE FREAKING PLAYOFF RACE UNTIL SEPTEMBER.

  • mick taylor

    i believe yanks way more need another power bat than a starting pitcher. i think the worst case scenario is beltran abnd tex will be lost for the season . they should sign morales now. it will only cost them money, and save their trading chips for a pitcher. even if tex can play down the stetch, there will be room for morales bat.

    • Keith Richards


  • Yangeddard Solarte

    Who do we know that has an extra SS and SP? A couple of old friends. I think we need to swing a trade with the Twins and bring Hughes and Nuney back to the Bronx. Hughes is 5-1 with a 3.23 ERA. Sure would be nice to have that around right now.

    Up until a week ago Nuney was hitting over .300. We need infielders and I think all these botched plays are the result of the Curse of the Great Eduardo. We need to get Nuney back to lift the curse.

    Trouble is with all the parity the Twins are right in the thick of the WC race. I shudder to think what Hughes and Nuney have in store for us this weekend.

    • Kosmo

      C´mon !

    • Josh S.

      I was really upset at the pathetic performance (or lack thereof) from the Yankees last night. But leave it up to Eddard to make a ridiculous comment that all I can do is laugh and realize that it’s only baseball.

    • Yan Solo

      Edited for clarity and sanity:
      I shudder to think what Hughes and Nuney have in store for us this weekend would be doing if they were still with the Yankees.

    • The Great Gonzo

      Not sure how to respond. Probably shouldn’t.

    • lightSABR

      You mean the Eduardo Nunez who’s hit .257/.297/.343 this year? Or maybe you mean the Phil Hughes whose performance this year has been quite in line with his career performance outside of Yankee Stadium – just like I always predicted it would be?

      I have to say, troll, you’ve outdone yourself this time. You’ve actually managed to be ridiculous enough to make me laugh, instead of just getting angry at your feigned idiocy. Keep working in this vein, and I might actually stop wishing you’d kept your promise never to comment again.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    This will forever be met with the same answer: “What’s the cost?” and “Is that cost worth it to the team?”

    The team has a few more pieces to play with than anyone really thought they would have six months ago. They could very much be in play for some of the better pieces out there. It still doesn’t mean giving them up is prudent, however attractive cashing in on a couple of awesome months of Dellin Betances might seem to some (and not to others.)

  • Pete

    What would be some potential trades to fit those needs?

  • Vern Sneaker

    It’s ugly, but this is what rebuilding looks like. We’re not going to be able to fix this year with trades to any meaningful degree because we don’t have the chips, and I doubt management is going to buy the best free agents. There’s no new “core” anywhere near ready, but over the next 2-3 years we have to hope the current propsects develop successfully and a few smart free-agent and trade moves happen. Championship hopes are a ways off, I’m afraid.

    • The Great Gonzo

      Yeah, because we haven’t seen the ‘top prospects’ in the game turn into pumpkins while unheralded guys became legit major leaguers. And this management would never open up the wallets to help solidify the team.

      We should probably just trade everyone and stockpile prospects.

  • Kosmo

    Actually there have already been rumors of the Jays interest in the Shark. Toronto doesn´t really have that much to give. IMO Sanchez and Stroman are not enough.

    Kelley and Pineda coming back healthy will be an enormous boost.

    Ellsbury and McCann are not earning their keep. Period.

    Roberts leads all AL 2B in errors with 6 , lacks range and has a noodle arm + and he really doesn´t contribute much offensively to outweigh his defensive limitations.

    5 names out there 1 or 2 of which I would like to see in Pinstripes:

    Kendry Morales
    Cody Asche Yanks could then move Solarte to 2B
    Aaron Hill release Roberts
    Alex Rios if Texas folds their tent he would fit well in RF with Beltran DHing, release Soriano.
    The Shark
    maybe give Jose Pirela a shot at 2B

    • Steve G

      If Stroman and Sanchez aren’t enough (I don’t agree, I think that gets it done, but that’s beside the point) who on Earth do the Yankees have to get it done? Sanchez and ???

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Murphy. Betances. Warren.

        I actually think these are your three biggest trade chips right now.

        This is not advocating for moving any of them in the least, but this is strong MLB-ready talent.

        • Kosmo

          2 relief pitchers and a catcher ? Not enough for the Shark. I also doubt either relievers will be traded any time soon.

          • I’m One

            Warren and Betances certainly appear to be far better than average relief pitchers, and Warren was a potential starter in ST. Still not sure this is enough, but I think it gets the conversation started.

            • The Tenth Inning Stretch

              If I’m the Cubs, I’ll take Sanchez and Stroman over that package any day.

              • Jorge Steinbrenner

                Who said that was the entire package?

      • Kosmo

        Sanchez, Banuelos, Phelps, Ramirez and DePaula or Clarkin. I think A. Sanchez has serious control issues and Stroman is 5` 9“ which might be viewed by scouts as a risky pitchers frame.

        • RetroRob

          Outside of Gary Sanchez, all those players have issues that would keep the return low to the point the team would have to ask why they’re trading them. What is a team going to give for Banuelos? Outside of stepping on the mound, there is no way of knowing if he’ll ever regain his prospect status. I’m an optimist, so I like to believe he will, but any team trading for him will base the trade on what he is today, and that’s a big question mark.

          Phelps is a swingman.

          Ramiriz is an injury-prone pitcher recently convered to the pen.

          DePaula is a lottery ticket.

          Clarkin has value, but he is way down in low A and the further away a player is from the Majors the less return a team will get.

          Collectively, there maybe nothing in that group, so the return will be far less than hoped for, with the danger being that one or some of those players hit their upside for what turns out to be a middling rental.

          That, unforunately, is the state of the current Yankee farm system. The Yankees need some of these players to transition up to the AAA level with their luster still there. That hasn’t happened since Montero.

          • Kosmo

            well I guess you nailed it huh ?

            • RetroRob

              I’m not trying to be a downer. : -) Generally not my style.

              It’s just that the Yankees system right now is in a bit of an awkward zone. There is definite talent, maybe even some impact players, but they’re either down at the lower levels, or coming off injuries. They are probably better off holding them then getting pennies on the dollar.

              I’m fine with trading any and all prospects. I’m just not sure the Yankees are in good shape to make those trades now.

              • Dick M

                Seems like our talent is always at the lower levels.

    • Dan G

      I’m still confused as to why Ryan is playing 1B and Roberts is more than a role player when Johnson is healthy.

      Something must be wrong with Morales since he’s still unsigned.

      Asche could be a nice pickup if PHI wants to give Franco a chance but he’s currently on the DL with a hamstring strain.

      Texas is 26-26 and 1.5 back in the Wild Card. Why on earth would they fold? If anything, I would want to work out a catcher for infielder deal with them. They have SS Andrus, SS/2B Profar, 2B Odor and 3B Gallo (tied with our own Peter O’Brien with 18 HR).

      No thank you on Samardzija. Maybe it’s the look but I smell Jeff Weaver on him. Great start to 2014 but all the Ace level hype doesn’t compute for me yet. Not to mention Theo will ask for the moon and we know how protective Cashman has been of prospects and rightfully so.

      • RetroRob

        I think what’s wrong with him is the amount of money he’s asking, or was asking. His agent is Scott Boras, who now is simply waiting to next week’s draft to pass so there is no draft pick compensation attached to any team signing Morales. That will open up his market more.

        Money will be driving this, but not necessarily the most money in 2014. Morales will want to go to a team that will pretty much guarantee he will play daily. He’s not going to be a part-time hitter because he will want to go out on the market again after the season is over, this time as a true free agent with no qualifying offer (none can be offered) and the ability to negotiate with multiple teams. Second, they (Boras and Morales) will pick a team that it a good fit, not just for playing, but hitting. They’ll take less money for that to maximize his value in a few months. Think of it as money delayed.

  • Colin

    Playing Kelly Johsnon everyday at 2B would probably help. His defense there would be better than that at 3B or 1B and his pop would help out the line up. He could probably hit 15-20 homers playing every day (especially at home).

    • Dick M

      Roberts is a tough one, cuz I like his bat but man is he bad in the field. I’m not sure how you win with Jeter at SS and Roberts at 2B.

      How good a fielder is KJ at 2B?

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    Three games out. Second place. Division where everyone is sticking to the pack. No one is cleaning house.

    • I’m One

      But all will be looking to add.

      It’s not yet time to expect big trades to happen (I think that’s your point). I just hope the Yankees are able to add more than their division rivals do.

  • Mike HC

    I still think infield is the biggest concern moving forward. There is no help on the way. There is nothing in the pipeline. If we trade away valuable long term pieces, it should for one of those positions.

    Adding a starter would be real nice too, but I still put infield as a higher need. Pineda is hopefully on his way back. Banuelos could be ready by the last couple months of the season. Phelps and Whitley are both currently pitching well and both have good enough stuff where they might just be able to keep it up.

  • monkeypants

    So, to summarize the article: the Yankees are not in bad shape, but they need help on offense, defense, and pitching (both starters and bullpen).

    • Mikeddard Axisa

      Yes, after declaring in the Game Summary that two errors, two line drives, and a shift-beating grounder in one inning were “the 2014 Yankees in a nutshell.”

      • WhittakerWalt

        What are you even trying to say?

        • Mikeddard Axisa

          That over the course of 162 games there will be clunkers like last night, and that calling that one terrible night “typical” for a team above .500 and in playoff position is an emotion overreaction that encourages and condones reams of YTPS comments.

          To say nothing of the absurdity of scouting the non-existent “trade market” after Game 51, before the draft, in May. That is beyond Chicken Little levels of “the sky is falling,” especially when we don’t have information about who will or won’t come back from injuries, or when. It’s just too early for an intelligent discussion.

          But apparently not too early for a discussion.

  • Pee Wee Herman Ruth

    Fix the infield like this:
    3B- Solarte
    SS- Ryan (4 starts a week)
    2B- Johnson
    1B- Tex
    DH- Jeter (3 starts at SS a week)

    Roberts to bench or released

    • Kosmo

      Yanks need more thump in the INF than what you propose and the only way it will happen is via trade. Johnson may very well be a defensive upgrade at 2B but he´s an adventure at the plate.

      • Pee Wee Herman Ruth

        The above proposed lineup fixes some of the issues on defense, which could help in the short-term. But, I agree that it lacks much potency. A big hitting 3B would be nice and we could move Solarte to 2b and platoon with Johnson. Of course…not many 3B options on the market

        I’ve been disappointed with Johnson overall..I was hoping for more “thump” from him…I was hoping for Brosius or Brosius-lite

  • Roy Munson

    Not sure the yanks have the chips needed to make just one of these needs a reality with a true impact player. I mean not event close

    • Kosmo

      signing Morales doesn´t cost “chips“ and for example trading for Aaron Hill and his contract shouldn´t be extravagant in terms of players dealt.

      • The Great Gonzo

        FALSE. Think about how many chips you could buy with those $10M you are giving to Morales. Just sayin…

    • Ernie “Big Ern” McCracken

      Sometimes a bowler just has to face the music.

      • Roy Munson

        Why do you have sugar in the back seat of your car Mr. McCracken?

  • Reggie C.

    If Jose Ramirez and Mark Montgomery can hone their command and slash their respective BB/9 rates, then bullpen depth will not be difficult to fix in-house in the second half of the season. Both Betances and Warren are young guys and their arms can be worked till then. Its not the end of the world if both guys end up throwing 80-90 real quality relief innings.

    Perhaps Texas will look to unload a few veterans. Adrian Beltre anyone??

    • Kosmo

      Beltre sure. The problem being who does Texas replace him with ?

      • Reggie C.

        With HanRam. This is of course assuming HanRam hits the open market and Texas finds itself well behind playoff contention. They’re playing .500 baseball. Even then the smart move would be to upgrade 3B for the next half decade with HanRam and unload Beltre for a good prospect haul.

        • Kosmo

          I mean right now ? Texas has injuries all around the INF Fielder, Profar are out. Kouzmanoff who was Beltre´s backup is done for the season. Texas would have to replace Beltre with a body. Joey Gallo is the Rangers 3B of the future so I doubt HanRam is the answer.

  • fred robbins

    I think the problem with any of these trade possibilities, and even building for the future, is that there is a field manager who seems intent on playing Jeter until he drops dead or his throws start to skip to first base once they past the pitching mound. He is in the middle of the infield so I don’t know how you can fix 2nd and leave ss and 1st base alone– if Tex is going to be in and out all season..

    I’m on the west coast and it is still too early to start drinking. I worry they will try for Hanley at ss for next season, and it will be more of the same

    • I’m One

      It’s never to early to start drinking ….

    • The Great Gonzo

      Look at it from a construction point of view:

      In construction projects, you have items that are easier (and cheaper) to change and others that are no so. So, in order to make changes in a way where you are NOT removing Load Bearing walls and Foundation Changes (replacing the Yankee Captain and a $20M 1B), sometimes you need to make changes to interior walls/doors/flooring to make improvements.

      Considering you hand was forced on one Major change already (A-Rod), it may not make all the sense in the world to blow the whole thing up.

  • wallypip

    Has anyone noticed that Roberts is hitting .271/.312/.424 since he came off of his injury? The guy got off to an awful start, but he has pretty much been a league average 2B since then. I don’t have high hopes for him getting better, but he’s not a black hole at the bottom of the lineup.

    • Kosmo

      Roberts OBP was better in April when he was struggling at the plate than it is now in May. He was walking more in April and now that he´s hitting more his OBP is down.

  • mick taylor

    cashman, sign morales

    • pabloz ham sammichez

      cashman, sign molasses

  • Dalek Jeter

    First thing that should be done is trading Brian Roberts to the bench for Kelly Johnson. Johnson add marginal power and on base ability, and is at least only slightly below average defensively, while Roberts looks all but cooked at the plate and in the field.

    Another thing that might be considered: Until Beltran comes back, send down Almonte and call up Romine so that Murphy and McCann could be in the same line up while still having a BUC on the bench in case whomever is catching gets hurt.

    As for trade targets, I’d really look into trying to work a trade for Chase Headley. He’as a free agent after this season, and it looked as though the Padres weren’t going to be able to bring him back before the season (extension talks went nowhere). He’s gotten off to a ridiculously slow start, but is only 2 years removed from a 7.2 fWAR season, is a rock defensively at third, and a switch hitter who can take a walk.

    • Mikhel

      If by taking a walk you mean once every 3 games by Headley, then yes, he is good, but overall he is not very patient and prone to K a lot. Like a poor man’s version of Mark Reynolds, sans the power.

      To me, Headley’s big season of 2012 looks more like a fluke, either that or his injuries are still bothering, and boy he is prone to injuries.

      As for his fielding, I’ve been watching him almost daily since he came to the majors and he is merely above average (my local cable TV airs every Padres game, we are in their “zone”), good but nothing to write home about. Solarte is basically doing what Headley can do, but if acquiring Headley means that Solarte can be used as 2B to get rid of Roberts, then it would be a very good move.

      • Dalek Jeter

        He’s out on the west coast, so I don’t get to see him that often and am only going on what the numbers tell me, and according to fangraphs, he is above average defensively, walks at an above average rate, strikes out a little too much, and has been worth 4.4, 2.3, 7.2, and 3.5 fWAR the past four years. I’m not saying that Headley is going to be that 7 win guy, but like you said, if he can come and be the everyday third baseman and move Solarte to short, that would be a great improvement.

  • Mikhel

    I think the Yankees need two infielders, because Teixeira is injuried and we do not know how much he will be able to play.

    Same for Carlos Beltrán, I do not believe that he will be able to contribute much once he comes back (he will come back, ready or not, pain or not, I think he’ll say he is OK while he won’t).

    So, one way to atone that is to get Kendrys on a one year contract and use him as DH/1B, sending Kelly Johnson either to the bench or releasing him altogether.

    And the Yankees need a real secondbaseman, Roberts is making too many mistakes and is not able to turn a double play with his weak throws.

    In 1st base Kelly Johnson is bad, really bad, he can not get a throw and hold it in his glove without droping it.

    Defensively the Yankees are one of the worst teams right now in turning a double play, in scoops made by their first basemen they are one of the worst teams.

    Predictably with their defensive shifts they are one of the leaders in plays made out of their zone, but at the same time, those defensive shifts have contributed a lot to them being #29 in converting plays in the normal infield zone into outs, they have just turned 78.3% of balls hit to an infielder normal zone into outs, barely ahead of the Indians who have a catcher playing 3B and an OF playing 1B.

    Yesterday’s rally vs Phelps began with a grounder to where the SS usually is and gets the ball. A rally aided by the inhability of their 1B to catch the ball (and I read people saying it was Jeter’s fault that Kelly catched it and dropped it when he initiated contact) and their 2B doing his best Alfonso Soriano impersonation at 2B.

    I hope Girardi has realized by now that Johnson shouldn’t be playing 1B and that Ryan did a good job and should get at least one day playing there… BUT, knowing JoeG he’ll stick with KJ or use Murphy/McCann at 1B.

    I wonder what would happen if Solarte plays 2B, Ryan 3B and… ugh, Yanks would still need a 1B.

    One thing is to catch lightning in a bottle with a player destined to the bench, and another to sign has-beens and bench players to play everyday.

    And to make matters worse: McCann is one of the worst blocking catchers in the majors. Currently sits at #12 in passed balls/wild pitches NOT blocked with 14, but, #6 to #11 are tied with 15.

    When a pitcher knows he can not make his usual pitches because his infield is extremely shifting and you can not throw breaking stuff because your catcher can not block, it has an adverse effect on pitchers, and it is basically what we have seen besides Tanaka.

  • LK

    The fact that they continue to play Roberts over Johnson is pretty puzzling, though at the end of the day there’s probably not a huge difference between those 2.

    To me, the key question on offense is Solarte. He’s got a .152 ISO right now; he was at .118 and .127 in AAA the last 2 years. He’s also got a 10.5 BB%, after 7.2% and 6.8% in AAA the last 2 years. If the walks and power dry up a little bit, then he becomes a decent hitting backup infielder, and I’m not sure the lineup will be able to absorb that hit with all the other concerns right now. I’ve been skeptical of Solarte from the beginning, and he’s done nothing but prove me wrong so far, but I still find it hard to believe that MLB pitching is easier for him to hit than AAA pitching was.

    Pitching-wise, the situation is simple: they need another starter, the sooner the better.

    • WhittakerWalt

      He better keep hitting, because the defense isn’t enough to keep him in the lineup.

      • I’m One

        Agree. He should be a backup. The fact that he’s been good enough to be a starter is gravy. However, the team should have better options than him, but right now, it doesn’t. I hope they do before he fully regresses to his true talent level.

    • Chip

      His hits haven’t been falling in but he still seems to be getting his walks and limiting strikeouts lately. I’m still pretty satisfied with what he’s giving us. The problem is that he’s the third best hitter in the lineup right now

  • dkidd

    they should do nothing. they needed the pitching staff to stay healthy and it didn’t. it stinks, but pitching injuries are an epidemic and texas and tampa are in the same boat. a sustainable future is not worth a marginal improvement this season. you trade prospects when other teams value them as much or more than you do (i.e. montero) but they have no one that fits that description right now. they’d be selling low on anyone other than o’brien

    this is what it looks like when a 20 year run comes to an end. allowing a transition period to happen isn’t the same as “rolling over”

  • Magilla Gorilla

    What should the Yankees record be right now using Pythagorian Method?

    • Dan G

      If I did it right, they’re spot on at 27.5 expected wins.

      217 runs score, 200 allowed results in a .540 winning percentage and they’re at .529 and 27 wins. That’s actually kind of scary how it works.

  • WhittakerWalt

    “Brendan Ryan as defensive replacement at First Base” remains the biggest WTF of the season for me… until you see what happens when Kelly Johnson is asked to play there.

  • TheRealGreg

    The problem for the Yankees is that the Blue Jays look poised to run away with the division.

    The good news is that the Yankees, as of today, are the second wild card.

    • Chip

      Encarnacion isn’t the second coming of Barry Bonds so they’ll slow down. Yankees just have to stay close until they themselves get hot

      • TheRealGreg

        If they get a second good starter like Samardzija, barring major injuries, the Jays are winning the division.

        • Chip

          Maybe but you could also argue that Hutchison is both playing well over his head and will run out of gas soon. I can’t imagine he’ll be able to make 30 starts when he’s never really been over 150 IP in a season and last year only had about 60 IP. Then you have old dudes Dickey and Buehrle who could fall apart and get hurt at any time. That’s about all they have for a rotation right now so even an extra starter still leaves them zero room for error.

          They also have injury concerns everywhere with Bautista, Melky, Reyes and Lawrie all missing time in the past few seasons. Finally, Juan Francisco isn’t this good

      • mick taylor

        he is the second coming of bonds in the sense that he was released by toronto several years ago and no team in baseball wanted him. he then started taking very fine peds and is now an allstar

    • The Great Gonzo

      You must be new here.

      This is not the first time, nor will it be the last time, that Toronto looks poised to ‘make the leap’ and end up coming apart at the seams.

      If they are still running on fire in July, then I will be legit concerned. Until then, same old sorry ass Jays.

  • Chip

    So our trade chips are Murphy, middle relievers and Gary Sanchez. Really, I’m not sure what else in the system will bring back quality big leaguers. Maybe that’s enough to grab Gregorious/Owings or Utley but I don’t see how they have enough to grab Shark, Headley or Lee. I guess you could go with Sandoval as long as you understand that he’s average at best against lefties

  • JGYank

    Hit the nail on the head here. Bunch of problems and not all of them are going to get fixed. To me, the best thing that can happen is McCann reverts back to his normal self. Go from a pretty bad offensive catcher in the first 1/3 of the season to a good one for the rest it. Ells has to do better but hasn’t been too bad since he was hot in April and early May. Beltran (who really shouldn’t be playing in the outfield much) and Tex need to return to supply some power. Sori has to step up as well. I think Pineda should be alright once he gets back so that should help, but I keep waiting for Kuorda to be that near top of the rotation starter. Not asking for a repeat of the 1st half of last year, just a reliable starter with an ERA in the mid to upper 3s. He needs to be consistent and give us length. The other 3 in the rotation right now aren’t reliable and are more suited for long relief roles in the pen. CC can’t be trusted either. Not saying he won’t comeback and pitch well, but I wouldn’t count on that at all. Praying for a Cliff Lee salary dump, but he’s having arm trouble right now if I’m not mistaken and that’s pretty unlikely. Maybe it lowers his price. Who knows. Samardzija looks like a hot commodity, so it’s going to take a lot to get him. Might go after a lower profile guy like Hammel.
    The infield defense obviously has been horrible. I’m hoping Tex returns to his GG form, but he really needs a legit backup. Johnson hasn’t cut it there and he should be taking over for Roberts more often. Jeter will play short and that’s that. Nothing to improve on there. Solarte seems like he’s beginning to regress, but he probably will still be a useful starting player. Since we can’t expect a repeat of the 1st half from him, we need to improve at another spot. We need either an Utley or Headley kind of player, someone who play 2nd or 3rd and improve the defense and lineup at the same time. Solarte will play the other position, with Johnson as a utility guy. Roberts is similar offensively to Jeter and is old and doesn’t have much range, so we can’t afford both starting. Jeter isn’t going anywhere so that leaves one option.
    The lineup needs more power, and has to start taking more walkings too. A power hitting infielder that’s good defensively and has plate discipline would be perfect right now. Morales can be signed to DH if Beltran can’t come back soon and maybe he can backup up Tex. Should be strictly a DH, but don’t like Johnson or Ryan at 1st at all. Power and plate discipline aren’t pressing needs, but would really help the lineup be more consistent. We already have good baserunners, and I haven’t noticed any problems hitting righties or lefties specifically. We don’t have that one monster OBP guy, but we might have to go without one.

    Back of the pen looks good, and will get better when Kelley gets back. Getting SP(s) could put one of Phelps or Nuno (or both) into the pen pushing out Aceves and maybe Daley. If that doesn’t happen, we may need just one decent RP to push out Aceves for long relief or to pitch the middle innings when Betances or Warren are unavailable. Could be from AAA or outside source. Not a huge need though.

  • TheRealGreg

    I wonder if Tony Pena is to blame for all the passed balls. Last year, Chris Stewart, usually known as a defensive catcher, had 12 passed balls, easily a career high. The year before he had 8 with the Yankees.

    This year, Brian McCann has 5 passed balls already. His career high is 7.

    Makes you wonder.