Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline is exactly six weeks from today. That really doesn’t seem so far away, does it? I still feel like the season just started. This year is flying by.
Anyway, the Yankees have more than a few needs to address in the weeks leading up to the deadline, at least if they want to remain in contention. These last two wins over the Blue Jays have moved them to within 2.5 games of the Blue Jays for the AL East lead and that’s nothing at this point of the season. You can make that up in the weekend. Contention is not some far-fetched idea.
Of course, about 25 other teams have their eyes set on the postseason as well, a product of baseball’s push for league-wide mediocrity. (I recommend this Tom Verducci article on the game’s so-called parity.) More teams want to buy and fewer teams are looking to sell. The market is all demand with little supply. Despite that, Brian Cashman expects to swing a deal these next six weeks.
“Usually when everybody’s bunched together, it constrains the ability [to complete trades],” said the GM to Ken Davidoff. “We usually make moves every year, so I expect to make moves … I feel that we do have the ability to make trades if that’s a route we so choose. How we line up with other clubs, I don’t know … but I definitely have people that are wanted within the industry. But we want those guys, too. We’ll see.”
The Yankees’ needs seem to change by the week but I think they are pretty obvious at this point. They definitely need another starting pitcher, a reliable workhorse type. CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda are not coming back anytime soon and, as good as he’s been, Chase Whitley does not give the team many innings. Vidal Nuno simply hasn’t been very good. Another starter feels like a must.
Cashman’s club can also use another infielder, especially now that Yangervis Solarte has come back to Earth. Adding a power bat for right field should also be considered as well. Ichiro Suzuki has done a fine job as a platoon player but Alfonso Soriano has been atrocious with no signs of snapping out of it. Carlos Beltran is locked into the DH spot, making right field the obvious non-infield spot to add a bat.
That’s the big stuff. A starter, an infielder, a right fielder. Every team could always use another reliever or a better bat for the bench, and the Yankees are no different. It’s entirely possible those three main needs are too much to address at one trade deadline and it’s entirely possible swinging deals for each of those spots still won’t be enough to put the team over the top. It would definitely put them in a better position, however.
As currently constructed, the Yankees are good but not really good enough. That’s just my opinion. They don’t have enough power to hang with their AL East brethren and the starting rotation is asking too much of the team’s core relievers. At some point Joe Girardi’s going to have to take his foot off the Dellin Betances/Adam Warren gas. Cashman expects to make some moves before the deadline and that’s great. The sooner they make them, the better.