Via Jayson Stark and Buster Olney, the Marlins approached Carlos Lee about waiving his no-trade clause to accept a trade to the Yankees, but he declined. The two sides were not close to agreeing to a deal or anything, talks didn’t advance after Lee said no. I have no idea what the Bombers would have done with the (former) slugger; I suppose use him for spot starts at first base and at DH against left-handed pitchers. Anything more would have really been pushing it. Casey McGehee makes much more sense given his ability to actually play the field without being a hazard to himself and those around him.
The Yankees swung just one trade before this afternoon’s deadline, but they ultimately upgraded two roster spots. Casey McGehee will replace Ramiro Pena when he joins the team tomorrow, and Joba Chamberlain officially returns from the DL to replace the departed Chad Qualls tonight. It’s been 208 regular season games and 421 days since Joba last pitched in a big league game, and his return tonight isn’t just a feel-good story. The Yankees need another non-matchup late-inning arm and since they didn’t acquire anyone like that the deadline, Joba’s the guy. Here’s the starting nine…
DH Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
2B Robinson Cano
1B Nick Swisher
LF Raul Ibanez
3B Eric Chavez
RF Ichiro Suzuki
C Russell Martin
SS Ramiro Pena
RHP Ivan Nova
Tonight’s game is schedule to start at 7:05pm ET and can be seen on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy.
In the wake of the Chad Qualls-Casey McGehee trade, the Yankees will activate Joba Chamberlain off the DL in time for tonight’s game. He was scheduled to make what was likely his final minor league rehab appearance with Double-A tonight. The Yankees need another non-matchup reliever in the worst way, and Joba certainly fits the bill. Welcome back, big guy.
The Yankees needed to add some infield depth following Alex Rodriguez’s hand injury, and they did so by acquiring Casey McGehee from the Pirates in exchange for Chad Qualls before Tuesday’s trade deadline. Joel Sherman broke the news and reports that New York will receive $250k in the deal as well. McGehee will almost certainly take Ramiro Pena’s roster spot.
A 29-year-old right-handed hitter, McGehee owns a career 100 wRC+ against left-handers (95 vs. RHP). The split is much more pronounced this year (119 vs. 67 wRC+), however. He has some power (career .159 ISO) and is basically league average in the strikeout (17.2%) and walk (7.7%) departments. The various defensive metrics says he’s about average at the hot corner and you can forget about speed on the bases. Not happening.
McGehee’s an upgrade over Pena and he gives the Yankees another right-handed bat. They could use him at third, Jayson Nix in left field, and Andruw Jones at DH against southpaws with Ichiro Suzuki glued to the bench. He’ll also provide some depth in the short-term as Mark Teixeira deals with his wrist issue. McGehee started to get exposed when the Brewers and Pirates tried playing him everyday, but he’s a useful role player and won’t see that much playing time with the Yankees. As an added bonus, he’s under team control as an arbitration-eligible player through 2014.
Qualls, 33, pitched to a 6.14 ERA (3.76 FIP) during his brief time in pinstripes. The Yankees acquired him from the Phillies earlier this month, but he was clearly going to be the odd man out once Joba Chamberlain was ready to come off the DL. The fact that Brian Cashman was able to turn him into a useful piece is a minor miracle, frankly. McGehee is not expected to join the team in time for tonight’s game.
The trade deadline is 4pm ET today, and the Yankees will definitely be in the market for a fill-in third baseman with Alex Rodriguez on the DL with a broken bone in his hand. Mark Teixeira’s wrist problem could spring them into further action as well, and pitching help — both rotation and bullpen — is always on the agenda. The Bombers are almost certainly done with the outfield market following the Ichiro Suzuki pickup, however. We’re going to keep track of any Yankees-related trade deadline rumors right here throughout the day, so check back often for updates. The latest will be on the bottom. Here are Sunday’s and Monday’s rumors if you missed them…
- 10:00am: Teixeira’s injury should have no impact the team’s deadline plans, and the Yankees are still trying to acquire a defense-first type player for third base. Things are pretty quiet right now. [Ken Rosenthal]
- The Yankees are focused on acquiring 40-man roster depth pieces, guys they can stash in Triple-A to cover for any injuries that pop-up down the stretch. [Joel Sherman]
- Reports indicate that the Yankees have stepped up their pursuit of Ryan Dempster in the last 48 hours — lines up with when we learned about Andy Pettitte’s setback, no? — but that has since been shot down. Dempster has 10-and-5 no-trade protection and seems hellbent on joining the Dodgers. [David Kaplan, Jon Heyman & Jayson Stark]
- 12:34pm: There is still a “distinct possibility” the Yankees will acquire Ty Wigginton before the deadline. The Phillies are selling off all their movable pieces, with Shane Victorino headed to the Dodgers and Hunter Pence headed to the Giants. [Matt Gelb]
- 12:56pm: The Yankees don’t believe Wigginton can handle third and are valuing defense at the position. A deal is said to be “highly unlikely.” Guys like him will get through waivers in August. [Sherman]
- 2:03pm: The Yankees are “engaged in heavy discussions” with the Cubs about Dempster. I think this might be a case of the Cubbies trying to drive up the price for the Dodgers, but who knows. It’s worth mentioning that pitching coach Larry Rothschild knows the right-hander from his time in Chicago. [Bob Nightengale, Sherman & Rosenthal]
- 2:14pm: The Dempster stuff is basically due diligence, the Yankees did their homework and expressed some level of interest yesterday. [Marc Carig]
- 2:25pm: Dempster has told the Cubs that he will waive his 10-and-5 rights to join the Yankees because of his relationship with Rothschild and special advisor/former Cubs GM Jim Hendry. Chicago would have to kick in some money to facilitate a deal. [Heyman, Sherman & Sherman]
- 2:29pm: The Cubs are said to like Angelo Gumbs and Dante Bichette Jr., but the Yankees are unlikely to part with them for a fifth starter upgrade. [Sherman & Sherman]
- 3:12pm: Ownership has not been presented with any kind of financial information for a potential Dempster deal yet, so it doesn’t sound like anything is close as of right now. The commissioner’s office has to approve any trade involving more than $1M exchanging hands. [Sherman & Sherman]
- 3:31pm: With less than a half-hour to go, the Dempster talks are still “nothing serious.” Either they’re going to scramble to beat the clock or the deal isn’t happening. [Carig]
- 3:53pm: The Yankees “may” have acquired Dempster. No confirmation yet, however. [Jim Bowden]
- 3:58pm: Scratch that, Dempster has been traded to the Rangers. [Buster Olney]
Reminder: Your trade proposal sucks.
The non-waiver trade deadline is less than seven hours away, and like everyone else the Yankees have holes to fill. Alex Rodriguez’s injury created the need at third base, and the need for a solid non-matchup reliever has been obvious for weeks. Russell Martin and Chris Stewart have been one of the least productive catching tandems in baseball this season, so there’s lots of room for improvement behind the plate. Add in Mark Teixeira’s wrist injury, and another bat could become a need in a hurry.
Naturally, Brian Cashman downplayed the team’s needs and potential dealings yesterday. “Tomorrow’s a big day, 4 o’clock deadline … A big day where we’ll do nothing, most likely, but a lot of false hustle goes into this stuff too,” he said. Obviously he won’t reveal too much; the Yankees could be working on a four-team blockbuster and he would say nothing’s up. Here are a few random thoughts in the hours leading up to the deadline…
The Yankees should do something …
As I said, the needs are obvious. The Yankees should know more about Teixeira’s wrist relatively soon — they won’t announce anything until after the trade deadline for leverage reasons, I assume — and that figures to change their plans one way or another. If it’s a day-to-day thing, then no big deal. Anything more than that will require some kind of action. I know they have a seven-game lead in the loss column, but the worst thing they could do is rest on their laurels.
… but not anything significant.
The Yankees don’t need a major move. Ichiro Suzuki was their big move and that was a big move in name only — he’s just a complementary player. Adding a reliever, replacing Chris Stewart, and finding a spare infielder to team with Eric Chavez and Jayson Nix aren’t complex moves that will require top prospects or tying up future payroll. A middle reliever, a backup catcher, and a bench player. That’s it. The Yankees swung three trades in 2010 — Lance Berkman, Kerry Wood, Austin Kearns –and that was their busiest deadline in a while. They don’t need wholesale changes, just minor upgrades to the fringes of the roster.
Don’t count on health.
The team can sugarcoat it all they want, but Andy Pettitte just suffered a setback. When you have to scale back physical activity because things aren’t healing as expected, it’s a setback. A-Rod’s hand is a concern because hand injuries can linger, and when you don’t have the strength to hold or the swing the bat properly, you don’t produce. I know the Yankees expect both guys back and that’s swell, but adding some depth for that worst case scenario would be a pretty smart thing to do. Finding a spare starter for Pettitte will be damn near impossible, but David Phelps could fill that role if they replace him with another arm. Adding a bench player to replace Ramiro Pena during A-Rod’s absence seems all to obvious.
Patience, but not too much.
The one thing that Cashman has added to the front office since supposedly getting full control of the baseball operations is patience. They almost never rush into moves — panic moves are a thing of the past — and will wait out the market for the best possible deal. That’s how you get Bobby Abreu for nothing and Hiroki Kuroda on a below-market, one-year contract. Waiver trades can still be made in August, but sometimes the solution pops up sooner than expected (coughYorvitTorrealbacough). No need to wait on that stuff. The potential downside is so low that it might as well be nonexistent.
* * *
I’m a big believer in not sitting tight — a contender thinking they have all the right pieces and do not need to make any moves no matter how small. There is always room for improvement, and that is certainly true for this year’s Yankees. I don’t expect them to do anything more than add a bench player today — they already tried to acquire Brendan Ryan — though we know they have a tendency to pull off surprise moves. The three-game losing streak and ridiculous stretch of one-run losses make their current situation seem way worse than it really is, but the club does need to make a few minor adjustments and add depth as long as Teixeira’s injury is nothing significant. If it is, well there’s little they could do to fill that hole anyway.