A look at trade deadlines past: 2006

We continue our look at the New York Yankees trade deadline moves with 2006. You can check out the 2005 version here.

Lay of the land

After a tumultuous beginning to the 2005 season, the Yankees were in a much better position in 06. At 52-36 they were just a game and a half back of the Red Sox on July 15, and owned the AL’s fourth best record (remember, the Tigers were on pace for 110 wins at that point). Their pitching was much better, even though Carl Pavano, in the second year of his four-year commitment, hadn’t thrown a pitch.

Chien-Ming Wang was emerging as the team’s best pitcher. Mike Mussina had a torrid first half, going 10-3 with a 3.24 ERA in his contract year. Randy Johnson, despite an ERA in tatters, was still getting enough run support to win games. Even Jaret Wright was pitching well enough to be a fifth starer.

The problem was that one hole in the rotation. Shawn Chacon went downhill after taking a line drive off the shin. At the time, Darrell Rasner, freshly plucked off waivers from the Nats earlier in the year, was having some issues and couldn’t come up. In an apparent desperation move to fill a rotation spot, the Yanks signed Sidney Ponson on July 14. That should show their pitching troubles.

In the bullpen, things were a bit better. Mike Myers wasn’t all that bad. Scott Proctor had emerged as Torre’s seventh inning guy. Kyle Farnsworth, in the first season of his three-year deal, was disappointing. Tanyon Sturtze had bombed. Ron Villone was pitching well after sitting dormant for much of the first half. The Yanks were trying various options, including Sean Henn, though not much was sticking. Hell, even Scott Erickson got into nine games.

The look of the offense, though, was a bit more bleak. Hideki Matsui went down in May with a broken wrist and wouldn’t be back until at least September. Gary Sheffield had surgery on his forearm, and it was uncertain if he’d ever be back. The Yanks were running an outfield of Johnny Damon, Melky Cabrera, and Bernie Williams. It wasn’t the worst, but neither Melky nor Bernie had a lot of power. Things had gotten bad enough that the Yanks signed Terrence Long.

Cashman’s moves

July started slowly for Brian Cashman. The Phillies were demanding Phil Hughes in exchange for Bobby Abreu, which was simply out of the question. Still, Cash made a few under the radar moves, picking up Brian Bruney as a free agent after the Diamondbacks released him, and selecting Aaron Guiel off waivers. Nothing groundbreaking, but again part of Cashman’s strategy to pick up some low risk guys.

In the last week of July, Cash made his move. It started small, trading a nothing prospect to Philly for Sal Fasano. Ed Wade and Cashman would hook up four days later, as Philly sent Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle to New York for C.J. Henry, Matt Smith (who hadn’t yet allowed a run out of the bullpen), and a couple others. It was a clear case of the Yankees taking on salary so they wouldn’t have to send real prospects in a trade. In one swoop Cashman had added his fourth starter and his starting right fielder.

The next day he capped the deadline activity by trading the floundering Shawn Chacon to the Pirates for Craig Wilson, who was to shore up the bench. That didn’t exactly work out, but there was no downside to the trade. A half month later, however, the Yanks made perhaps their worst move by releasing Carlos Pena. Clearly they didn’t foresee his looming breakout season, or else they would have called him up to replace Andy Phillips at first. Plus, who knows if he would have done anything in 06. He was, after all, in the minors for a reason. The Red Sox made a similar judgment.

How it all turned out

There were mixed results with the pitchers, but Cashman scored a bit win with Abreu, who tore it up with a .926 OPS. That helped shore up the outfield, though it would create a logjam later when Gary Sheffield insisted on coming back in late September. Best of all, Abreu gave them an instant replacement for Sheffield, who was going to depart after the season anyway. Aaron Guiel was also a modest success, though nothing to brag about.

Lidle didn’t hold down that fourth rotation spot like they’d hoped, but both Rasner and Jeff Karstens contributed down the stretch. Bruney was a hit in his 19 appearances, allowing just two runs. He did walk 15 in 20.2 innings, which was a sign of things to come for 2007. Still, he helped out a shaky bullpen, which was pretty much without Ron Villone come September.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of the Abreu acquisition. It powered the Yankees through August, including the glorious five-game sweep of the Red Sox which effectively buried them. The Yanks ran away with the division, winning 97 games and finishing 11 games ahead of second-place Toronto. They actually finished ahead of the Tigers, who blew the division to the Twins at the end. That led to a Yanks-Tigers matchup, and we all know what happened there.

Next up is 2007, another season in which the Yankees started off slowly and had a few needs at the deadline.

Trade Deadline Open Thread: Wednesday

We might as well start one of these. For those of you hoping the Yankees land Ian Snell … he’s just been traded to Seattle.

Use this thread to talk about the trade deadline today, and please keep the other threads clear of off topic comments. Thanks.

Update by Joe (1:18 p.m.): Via MLBTR, Joel Sherman reports that Brian Cashman hasn’t even asked to expand the 2009 payroll. I suspect that if the right deal came along, it wouldn’t take much convincing. Money quote: “This is pertinent because the Yankees do believe that the Red Sox have put Clay Buchholz into a trade offer for Halladay and that Boston just might get the ace righty.”

Halladay to Boston is a scary proposition, but far from the end of the world. The Yankees do have some pitching questions, and I presume that with the loss of Chien-Ming Wang, their No. 2 starter heading into the season, that the Steinbrenners will allow for a payroll exception if it means shoring up the rotation.

Update by Joe (2:21 p.m.): It’s unofficial as of the moment, but MLBTR is chronicling the Cliff Lee to Philly trade. Looks like Lee and Ben Francisco for Jason Knapp, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald and Lou Marson. That should keep them away from Halladay. Could Toronto turn to Boston?

A look at trade deadlines past: 2005

In case my recent spate of posts hasn’t made it evident, I have quite the obsession with the trade deadline. It really covers all team building maneuvers, but the trade deadline is of especial fascination. Here are teams, two thirds of the way through a grueling 162-game season, deciding which of their players, veterans and prospects alike, are expendable. They have to make judgments about myriad details: what helps them now, what helps them in the future, what kind of value they should give up, and what kind of value they should get in return, just to name the obvious.

If you can cut through the wall of noise which surrounds us during times of high trade activity, it can reveal a lot about an organization’s philosophy. The problem is that we never get the full signal. Even the reporters who cover this team and deliver our daily helping of rumors don’t know everything a team considers. They don’t know some deals that almost went down. We get some of that information, but like all information of this sort there are many smokescreens which disguise a team’s true intent.

Over the next couple of days I’d like to take a look at the Yankees from 2005 through 2007 (with a possible addendum of 2008 just before the deadline on Friday) to see where they stood, where their weaknesses lied, and what moves they made. It’s tough to go back and find all of the rumors, but we can look at what they needed and what they got. We start with 2005.

Lay of the land

The Yankees, you’ll remember, started off 2005 in poor fashion, posting an 11-19 record on May 6. Many comparisons were drawn to the 1965 Yankees, who fell off a cliff. They did recover, and by July 15 were 47-41, just two and a half back of the first-place Red Sox. As every year, they were clearly buyers, and the prime target was pitching.

Like 2009, the Yankees had basically every spot filled. They could have upgraded in the outfield over Bernie Williams and Tony Womack, but it’s tough to just sit a veteran like Bernie. Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui manned the corners, while Robinson Cano played a capable second base. They could have upgraded there, but were seemingly satisfied to let Cano grow into the role.

On the pitching end, the Yanks were in a bit of a bind. Randy Johnson was pitching well, but Mike Mussina was having an off-year. Jaret Wright and Kevin Brown were hurt — surprise surprise — as was Carl Pavano at that point, though the Yanks thought they’d be getting him back. Chien-Ming Wang surprised with some solid performances, but he hit the DL with a rotator cuff issue after his July 8 start. That left the Yankees with just Johnson and Wang, and though the bullpen was in need, they needed a starter far more.

Cashman’s moves

The prospect-depleted Yanks weren’t really in a position to make a big move in 2005. They had tried to acquire Randy Johnson at the trade deadline in 2004, but their system, headed by Cano, Wang, and Dioner Navarro, wasn’t impressing the Diamondbacks at the time. With Wang and Cano on the active roster, and with Navarro gone in the Johnson deal over the winter, the cupboard was pretty bare. Cashman then took the only viable strategy: throw shit at the wall and hope something sticks.

On July 1, Cashman signed Brian Boehringer. The next day he dished the underperforming Paul Quantrill for Darrell May and Tim Redding. Two weeks after that he received Al Leiter from the Florida Marlins. On July 29 he signed Hideo Nomo. His biggest move, if you could even consider it big at the time, was trading two minor league relievers, Eduardo Sierra and Ramon Ramirez, to the Rockies for Shawn Chacon. With no good, proven veterans available to the Yanks, this is all they could really do.

To shore up the bullpen, he signed Alan Embree, freshly released by the Red Sox. Again, not a big move, but it was something, anything to shore up the mess of a bullpen, which featured the likes of Tanyon Sturtze, who was terrible after May, Scott Proctor, Felix Rodriguez, Buddy Groom, Mike Stanton, and Wayne Franklin.

How it all turned out

Strangely, one of Cashman’s biggest moves came on January 21, when he signed Aaron Small to a minor league contract. That and the trade for Chacon saved the Yankees’ season. Not that Cashman could have relied on them. They were just some shit that happen to stick to the wall at the exact right time.

Small appeared in 15 games, started nine, and famously went 10-0. His 3.20 ERA was a testament to his ability to keep the ball in the park and keep men off base — his 8.4 hits per nine is far, far below what should be expected of a player with Small’s lowly K rate. Chacon started 12 games, pitching 79 innings and allowing just 25 runs. His walk rate and his strikeout rate sucked, but like Small he allowed a small number of hits for his peripherals.

The real deadline acquisition was on the offensive side, and that was Jason Giambi. On May 14 he was hitting .200/.382/.318, and most fans thought he was done. He had, after all, missed most of the 2004 season with a pituitary tumor which most assumed was steroids-related. Without the juice, Giambi was a goner. But from this low point, when his OPS dropped below .700, Giambi exploded, hitting .289/.455/.590 the rest of the way, combining with eventual-MVP Alex Rodriguez for one of the most formidable 1-2 punches in the league.

It was the summer of luck for the Yankees. They got a few decent starts out of Leiter and Wright once he returned (before Wright fell off a cliff in his last three starts). Chacon and Small were the very definition of blind luck. They also got a run of good starts from Mussina, though he too fell off a cliff at season’s end. It’s hard to imagine any team being that lucky, considering the injuries the team suffered and the replacements they hired.

Tomorrow we’ll come back with 2006, a bit more stable of a season. Still, it’s easy to remember what the Yanks’ major needs were that July, too.

Just say no to Bronson Arroyo

It all started yesterday afternoon. AOL FanHouse’s Jeff Fletcher noted that the Reds were “close to doing something,” meaning the completion of a trade. The likely candidates were Bronson Arroyo, Aaron Harang, and Francisco Cordero. Each makes quite a large sum for the rest of this year and next, and with the Reds out of contention it would make sense for them to get out from under at least one of those contracts. Any time we hear that something is close, ears perk up. It didn’t take long for Fletcher to find out which deal the Reds were “close” to.

About two hours after his original report, Fletcher wrote the the Reds and Yankees were working on a deal for Bronson Arroyo. This sent a tremor through the Yankees fanbase. Why in the hell would they want Bronson Arroyo? He’s pitched progressively worse every year since the Red Sox traded him to the Reds, and he’s owed a ridiculous amount of money for the remainder of this year and next. Considering the monetary and potential player costs of acquiring Arroyo, an easy case could be made that the Yankees would be better off standing pat.

A 1995 third-round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Arroyo struggled in his first few seasons, allowing way too many hits while walking too many batters for his strikeout rate. In February of 2003, after stints over the previous three seasons, the Pirates placed Arroyo on waivers. The Red Sox picked him up. He wouldn’t join the big league club full-time until 2004, but when he arrived he did not disappoint, posting a 3:1 K/BB ratio over 178.2 innings.

The next year wasn’t so kind to Arroyo. He pitched 205.1 innings for the Sox, but his strikeout rate plummeted from 7.2 per nine in 2004 to 4.4 per nine in 2005. This helped cause a half-run increase in his ERA. Still, the Sox apparently thought he was still worth holding onto, signing him to a three year, $11.25 million contract in January 2006. Little did Arroyo know that the contract would be his ticket out the door.

In March 2006, the Sox swapped Arroyo and $1.5 million for Wily Mo Pena. In essence, Arroyo had agreed to a team-friendly deal, only to have it used as trade bait. Whether it was the effect of pitching in the NL, the desire to prove the Red Sox wrong, or just sheer luck, Arroyo pitched insanely well in 2006, posting a 3.29 ERA over 240.2 innings, bumping his strikeout rate back up to around seven per nine, and improving his K/BB ratio to 2.88:1, up from 1.85:1 in 2005. The Reds thought they had found a gem, while Wily Mo languished with the Sox, and would eventually be traded in August 2007.

Apparently not content to ride out the remainder of Arroyo’s team-friendly deal, the Reds signed him to a two-year, $25 million extension in February of 2007. The move was perplexing at the time. Why would the Reds, with Arroyo under contract for two more seasons at an eminently reasonable rate, sign him for two additional seasons, plus an expensive club option, with a relatively expensive buyout, for 2011? His 2007 performance would add to those questions.

In his second year in Cincinnati, Arroyo made one fewer start than in his first, but pitched 30 fewer innings. His WHIP rose from 1.19 to 1.40. One reason for his decline is the rise in his number of hits per nine innings — almost 10 in 2007, compared to 8.3 in 2006. His ERA rose yet again in 2008, to 4.77, below league average. Again he made 34 starts, but pitched 10 fewer innings than in 2007. His WHIP took another jump to 1.435. All this before the contract extension kicked in.

This is the first year of the extension, and Arroyo has not earned his $9.5 million to this point. His ERA sits at 5.21, the worst it’s been since 2001, and which also places him as the league leader in earned runs allowed. His WHIP has climbed again to 1.472. Worst of all, his walk rate is near 3.5 per nine, and his strikeout rate is just 5.3 per nine, down from 7.3 per nine last season. He’s essentially gotten worse with each passing year on the Reds.

Arroyo has posted a few gems this year, including a July 10 complete game shutout of the Mets. He followed that up with seven innings of shutout ball against the Brewers. However, in his last start against the Dodgers he posted another clunker, five runs over 5.1 innings, including four walks. It’s just another start in Bronson Arroyo’s horribly inconsistent 2009 season.

With all this in mind, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to understand why the Yankees would want to acquire Arroyo. He’s pitched well in the past, but he’s certainly not the pitcher he claimed to be in 2006. His contract is among the worst in the game, and he’s still owed $13 million next season, considering his buyout. Bad pitcher + bad contract = bad acquisition. It’s as simple as that. So why are the Yankees connected with this guy?

Apparently, the rumor was just that. As PeteAbe noted, the Yanks shot it down. Jon Heyman got a quote saying that a trade is “not realistic at this point.” Even Fletcher, whose source said that the deal “will get done,” subsequently removed the line from his post. All seems to be right again for the Yankees.

There are still three more days until the 4 p.m. trade deadline on Friday, and the Yanks could certainly make a move for a pitcher before then. As we noted yesterday, the Yanks might not be able to acquire a significant target after the deadline, because the Sox are in second place and could block a potential move. Both teams would benefit with an upgrade at the backs of their rotations. Despite his overtures, expect Cashman to treat this deadline with a sense of urgency. If there is a deal to be made, expect him to pursue it. We just hope it’s not for Bronson Arroyo.

Yanks might find pickings slim after Friday

Welcome to the week leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline, a typically crazy week for baseball. Rumors fly, and most of them either don’t happen or are unfounded in the first place. Many reports filed this week will feature the Yankees, since not only are they perennial buyers, but are also used in many instances to drive up prices for other teams. They do have a couple of weaknesses to shore up, all in the pitching department. It’s not a requirement, but it sure would be nice to add another arm, whether a starter or reliever, in the next five days.

Do they have to necessarily make a move this week? According to Brian Cashman, there will be increased activity after July 31 this year because many teams will not be willing to put in waiver claims. For the uninitiated, after July 31 teams can still trade, but the players in question must either clear waivers or be claimed by their destination team. For example, if the Yankees want Jarrod Washburn, he’d either have to go unclaimed by all 29 teams, or else be claimed by the Yankees. The Yankees and Mariners could then talk trade, but only for players who either clear waivers or are not on the 40-man roster.

The reason Cashman believes there will be more post-July 31 action is that teams will be less willing to risk putting in a claim. The team placing the player on waivers can opt to foist a player and his contract on a claiming team. This is how the Yankees got stuck with Jose Canseco in 2000. They put in a claim to block other teams, and the Rays said, “you can take him and what remains of his $3 million salary.” There was nothing the Yankees can do. Cashman believes that fewer teams will make waiver claims with the intent to block, fearing a similar maneuver.

In the Yankees case, that might be of little consolation. Their list of targets is concentrated to a few high-profile starting pitchers and a number of relief pitchers, all of whom could be claimed before they make it to the Yankees. This is mostly a product of the standings. Because the Yankees are ahead of the Red Sox, the Sox will get first dibs. Their payroll is relatively low, so they could risk taking on payroll, especially if it means keeping certain players from the Yankees.

Let’s take a quick look at the Yankees potential targets and see which ones, if any, could possibly pass through waivers.

Jarrod Washburn: He has about $3.5 million left on his contract for 2009. That might scare some teams away, but there are enough teams looking for pitching help that they might risk a claim. Plus, the Mariners know they have a valuable asset in Washburn. He can fetch them a decent prospect before the deadline, and chances are if they want to move him they will prior to Friday. Still, he could clear. The biggest threat, the Red Sox, might not want to take on a fly ball lefty. Those usually don’t go over well in Fenway.

Cliff Lee: There is no chance that Lee and his team-friendly contract makes it through waivers. Not even close. If the Yanks want him they’ll have to get it done this week. Chances are, though, that they’ll continue to balk at the asking price.

Roy Halladay: His contract might be prohibitive to some teams, but the Red Sox are not one of them. If placed on waivers, the Sox would certainly put in a claim. The Phillies would, too, but the AL gets first crack. The Tigers could even put in a claim, too, as could the Angels. Zero percent chance of the Yankees acquiring him after July 31.

Ian Snell: He’s been dominating AAA, but there are still concerns about him. After his career year in 2007 he signed an extension, and has bombed ever since. The problem, it seems, is his control, as the walks have jumped. In any case, Snell is owed about $1 million for the remainder of this season, $4.25 million in 2010, and has two team options for 2011 and 2012 ($6.75 and $9.25 million). The Yankees have been scouting Snell, though there’s little urgency to get a deal done. Considering his major league performance over the past two seasons, he’d likely clear waivers.

Scott Downs: Questionable whether he passes through. He has about $1.25 million on his contract for this year, plus $4 million last year. He’s lights out, though, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Sox and Angels put in a claim before the Yanks have a chance. Detroit and the ChiSox could also put in a claim.

Chad Qualls: Almost certainly would be claimed. He has under a million left on his contract this season, and has one arbitration year left before free agency. Even if a team didn’t want to take on his potential 2010 salary, they could dish him or non-tender him. Little to no chance he makes it to the Yanks.

Jon Rauch: Tough to say on Rauch. He has under a million left on his deal this season (about $660,000), and has a $2.9 million club option for 2010. That could lead to a few claims ahead of the Yankees, especially by a bullpen-starved team like the Angels. Again, don’t count out the Tigers. In fact, because of bullpen needs, I wouldn’t expect many, if any, decent relievers to be available to the Yankees after July 31.

Surely there are at least a few more names the Yankees are targeting, but these are the guys we’ve talked about for the past few weeks. And while it’s true that more players will pass through waivers this year than in the past, the players the Yankees are targeting right now most likely will not. This could put a greater onus on getting a deal done this week. Afterward, they might not have the same number of players available.

Just to spin this on its head, it could also open up new possibilities, players who pass through waivers who aren’t really being mentioned in trade talks right now. But chances are that the Yankees will lose out on unacquired targets on Friday at 4 p.m. EDT.

Giving up something to get something

When all is said and done, I would be pretty surprised if Roy Halladay ended up in the Bronx. The Blue Jays are not too keen on trading Halladay within the AL East, and Halladay’s recent ineffectiveness aside, the Yanks would have to give up a king’s ransom to land one of the game’s premiere pitchers.

When I last examined the questions concerning the Halladay trade, I looked at the Yankee Untouchables and concluded that just three players belonged on that list. Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes have already shown why scouts have long regarded them as a potential 1-2 combination in the Bronx, and Jesus Montero, at 19, has hit anything and everything thrown his way. Beyond them, I would be willing to move any Yankee prospect — and a few of the younger members of the Big League club — in the right deal.

Now, fans always tend to overvalue their own team’s prospects. The advent of the Internet has allowed us to track kids’ progress on a day-to-day level not really available to us a few years ago. We know what Montero does every time he’s at the plate, and we can see the results take shape in the form of gaudy season numbers. Still, a very valid school of thought believes that teams should trade the unknown for the known nearly all the time, and that contingent of analysts is alive and well in the Yankee Universe.

Our first example of this attitude comes to us via Peter Abraham. In a purely hypothetical post, Abraham opines on his belief that the Yankees could win now but need Halladay to do so. To get him, he recommends parting with Joba — for bad reasons — and Jesus — for good ones. “The unexplained loss of velocity is a concern. So is the stubborn unwillingness to listen to others. There is a chance he could be great. But as each day passes, there seems to be more of a chance that he won’t be,” he writes of Joba.

As each day passes, the chance that Joba will be great doesn’t lessen or decrease. He’s still in just his third full season of professional baseball, and he’s still feeling his way. As much as I have been frustrated with Joba’s results and process this year, we can’t write him off because of a bad half season. The Yankees have done that in the past, and it doesn’t ever end well.

Abraham’s argument concerning Montero closely echoes Mike Ashmore’s passionate piece urging the Yanks to trade Jesus. Ashmore, who watches Montero on a day-by-day basis, understands that Jesus is not likely to wind up a Major League catcher. Ashmore notes the Yanks’ depth at catching, and as Abraham summarizes, “There has to be pain in this trade and this is it.”

While Ashmore and Abraham focus on Halladay, the identity of the player targeted by the Yanks is nearly besides the point. To improve the team, the Yankees will have to give up something. As much as we joke about, they can’t really land anything for Ian Kennedy and Melky Cabrera. Last year, they gave up the unknown and mostly highly regarded Jose Tabata in a deal for two impact players. This year, who knows who it will be?

They can and will try to throw gobs of money at Aroldis Chapman, but he’s just another unknown not ready for prime time. The big fish come with a price tag now, and we’ll find out over the next 16 days just how much the Yanks are willing to pay.

Cashman: All quiet on the Yankee front

Coming off a series loss to the Nationals, many Yankee fans are eager to see some changes. Let’s get a shake-up! That’ll teach those professional baseball players never to lose again.

In reality, though, the Yankees and the rest of baseball are six long weeks away from the trade deadline. While the market is starting to develop, it is a thin one. The best bats out there probably belong to Adam Dunn for a steep price and Nick Johnson for too much more than he is really worth. The other pieces available for teams are relief pitchers.

For the Yankees, it’s the latter that will attract attention. Outside of some questionable characters manning center field, the Yankees’ 2009 lineup is as set as any team’s. They have top performers at most positions and the potential for a very potent offense. Meanwhile, they spent a lot of money to upgrade the rotation this year and have a few good young arms in reserve.

The bullpen, though, has been a concern. While the Yanks’ relief corps has seemingly solidified in June with Al Aceves, Phil Hughes, Phil Coke and Brian Bruney serving as the Bridge to Mariano, the Yankees aren’t quite satisfied with that mix. Hughes is a starting pitcher long-term and will be back in the rotation to spell either Joba, Chien-Ming Wang or perhaps even Andy Pettitte before too many months elapse. Bruney is a health risk, and the other two can’t do it by themselves.

To that end, the Yankees have already been linked to Huston Street and Jose Valverde as well as Chad Qualls, Russ Springer and even Heath Bell. Jon Heyman yesterday reported on Twitter that the Yanks prefer Street and then Valverde. However, neither the Rockies nor the Astros are ready to start selling.

There is, though, another piece to this Trade Deadline. The economy, not too robust these days, may place a limit on the Yanks’ spending. The team tried to hold payroll steady this year and succeeded. Now, news comes down from Yanks’ GM Brian Cashman that the team is not looking to make a July splash.

Speaking with the Spanish language media on Wednesday, Cashman said that he is hoping the team’s internal pieces will be enough to fill the holes. One day, Damaso Marte may return, and if Wang rounds into form, the Yanks could keep Hughes in the pen for longer than they perhaps expected to. “If we get everyone healthy and performing the way they are capable of here, there will be very little to do. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try,” Cashman said.

That’s a very vague statement from Cashman. He’ll kick the tires, as he should, on those players available closer to the deadline; he may not be able to add much in the way of payroll; and he is optimistic that the injured players can come back and contribute. While I would like to see the Yanks firm up the back end of that bullpen, Cashman’s assessment sounds about right to me.