Well here we are and the Yankees are in third place. With a decimated rotation and a couple clutch superstar just returning from injury. All that early talk of a disappointing infield seems to be a fact. Yes, Yangervis Solarte has been remarkable. Then the resurgence of Mark Teixeira had this team clicking earlier, when he was on the field. Derek Jeter and Brian Roberts both have showed flashes of their former selves. Just not often enough. What happened to Brian McCann and Alfonso Soriano offense? This team struggles to score runs. We suffer defensively when Tex is gone. Overall we are not a good defensive team. Sure we have some defensive wizards just not enough of them. Little wonder we are consistently employing the "shift", to minimize the damage. We need some offensive help and defensive help in our infield. Then again pitching is the key to the kingdom.
But dam, loosing three starters has not only damaged the rotation but has had a significant negative effect on the bullpen. So where does this leave the Yankees going forward? We need pitching but with all of the Tommy John Surgeries it may take a ton of prospects, a lot of cash or a miracle to make a deal. Yet with such a good looking free agent pitching class coming up, do we forgo 2015? With the possibility of signing James Shields, Jon Lester and or Max Scherzer in 2015? Do we really want to over spend in 2014 to fill a hole. That we can fill with one or two major free agency upgrade come 2015.
Michael Pineda should be back in July. At best, CC Sabathia "may" return in August, but what can we expect from him? Ivan Nova is done in 2014 and most of 2015, if not all of 2015. Looking forward to 2015 we would need at least two starters. That is assuming we do not resign Hiroki Kuroda. With this in mind and the potential free agent(s) that maybe available. What pitchers should the Yankees look to trade for this year? Obviously, the Yankees would be looking for a rentals first.
James Shields RHP, is the top possible addition out there. With the Royals flirting with a possible wild card just hard to believe they would trade him. He will be a free agent in 2015 so anything is possible. Yet I do not believe the Yankees have enough top prospects to get the job done.
David Price LHP, is not going anywhere and is under team control in 2015. The Ray's team always has been the giant killer. Do they have a run in them? They sure need those guys to get of the disabled list ASAP. If Price is traded, the team that gets him will decimate its minor league system. It will take at least two prospects in the top 20 and another in the top 50. That leave the Yankees out and noway the Rays trade in their division.
Jeff Samardzija RHP, like Price, is under team control through 2015. The Cubs still might hang on to him by signing him to an extension. Just seems very unlikely. They are geared to contented in 2017 or 2018, when all those prospects hit the big leagues. With most contending teams in the hunt for his services, hard to imagine the Bronx Bombers having enough talent to compete with the likes of Red Sox, Orioles, Blue Jays, Giants, Cardinals, Dodgers, Angels, etc.
Cliff Lee LHP, is on the DL. When he returns, how effective will he be? He is owed a ton of money. Not many teams will be lining up to pay his remaining salary. But the Phillies, may be willing to pay down some of his contract. All this plays right into the Yankees hands. They have the money. Hard to imagine this trade happening. For whatever reason Philadelphia never seems to want to make a trade with the Pinstripers.
Jason Hammel RHP, is quite a drop-off of the first four. He is pitching well for the Cubs. He is a desirable commodity with that American League east experience. He has to be most teams fall back option, if they are unable to land an ACE. With the Cubs in need of catching prospects and pitching, a deal might be worked out here.
Justin Masterson RHP, has not pitched very well in 2014. He has a major drop off in velocity this year. Cleveland tried to extend him, but he refused. Probable should have taken the deal. Cleveland is making rumbling noises towards the wild card spot. That most likely means they will hang onto him and hope he can return to form. Time will tell. He should be a reasonable cheap addition, with him becoming a free agent in 2015.
Brandon McCarthy RHP, has had an up and down season. In the last year of his current contract, he needs a change of scenery. The Diamondbacks are going nowhere fast. By the trade deadline Tony LaRussa, will have made his evaluation of who goes and who stays in Arizona. With a need for a back-up catcher and starting pitching a deal could be achieved here. This is a situation where a team will be looking towards the future so any strong prospect would create a trade possibility.
Francisco Liriano LHP, finally has won a game this year. He always seems to fall on his face during a contract year. He has the stuff to be a front line starter but never can do it year in and year out. He is most likely an upgrade over our currant left hand starter. He may or may not return to his 2013 status of ACE. Just hard to predict with his track record. At this pace he should be available for a prospect. If nothing else could he be used out of the pen?
Summary, I think Brandon McCarthy is tops on the potential list. Not because of ability but rather availability and potential trade requirements. Jason Hammel is second. He of course depends on what is required to secure him from the Cubs. Not to mention what teams will be in the hunt for Jason at the deadline. Cliff Lee is a question mark. His salary would require only one 2015 free agent pitcher to be added. But Cliff is a possibility. Lee still is a strike throwing machine and a potential #2 no matter what. Fransisco Lairano is the last chance here. Yes he is a loogy, and that is worth something. He could be the #5 in the Yankee rotation or a bull pen long reliever. The others just do not seem possible as additions in a trade.Maybe as free agents.
Speaking of the bullpen, keep an eye on Huston Street, he is a cheap option out of the pen, a proven closer and maybe put on the block, by the Padres. Jim Johnson is another option to help the bullpen. But Athletics needs to pay down that salary.
Asdrubal Cabrera is a switch hitting short stop. He could slide over to second or third, for a new team. With Francisco Lindor pushing for playing time he will not be back in 2015. Question remains will the Indians be in contention or sellers at the deadline. I still think that Detroit will be in the hunt for him at the deadline. As always it will be a question of can the Yankees meet the Indians needs for Asdrubal?
Chase Headley is another switch hitter. He has played third, left and first base, for the Padres. With that gold glove at third he immediately up grades the defense of any team. Still hitting south of the Mendoza line. He is in dire need of a ball park that is hitter friendly. He has lost a lot of appeal. But sure would add depth and flexibility to the Yankees, and of course improve the defense. He could be added at a very reasonable cost.
Rickie Weeks is a right handed hitting second basemen.. Having lost his starting job last year, makes him available. Easy to see that, San Fransisco and LA would be in competition for him. With these two it maybe a case of the best prospect wins. If the Brewers continue to lead their division then it just might take an upgrade over the current group playing first in Milwaukee.
To sum this up. The top choice has to be Chase Headley. He is an uptick defensively and not much of a drop off of our current left-handed option off the bench for third or first. Just a good back up plan. Should be a reasonable addition. If nothing else good time to see if the Yankees want to sign him in 2015 as a free agent. Asdrubal is a maybe. Will the Indians be buyers or sellers? That of course will drive what they want in return for him. Finally, Rickie Weeks is an interesting option. Playing much better this year. Just hard to see a match between the Brewers and the Yankees.
As we all know we cannot have everybody. But I am thinking that Brandon McCarthy and Cliff Lee would look good on the mound at Yankee stadium in home uniforms. Then on the left side of the infield we sure could use another gold glover. Chase Headley fills a need and could help.
Ok there you have it. Now what do you think?