The Steinbrenners always blather on about putting a championship contender on the field. For the most part, they have. Even after the Yankees string of AL East titles ended, the 2007-2012 Yankees averaged 95.5 regular series wins. Then last year, Swisher and Martin were let go and not replaced and a host of injuries struck an ancient team. Except for a brief period when A-Rod was healthy and Kuroda hadn't yet falled off a cliff, they didn't look like contenders. Despite a fantastic Hafner-Wells fueled April, they finished with only 85 wins. Unfortunely, the 2014 Yankees haven't shown any evidence of being better and the front office should be preparing to sell off veterans to bring in talent and free up playing time for younger players.
Here's how mediocre the current situation is. 31-31, 8th in the American League. -31 run differential, T12th in American league. This mediocrity is not new either as they're 79-82 with a -68 run differential in the last 365 days. Moreover, this mediocrity is fully inline with most offseason projections. Now fangraphs projects a final record of 81-81.
Now it could get better. And certainly an American League with 5 teams within a game of .500 will have some flux between now and the end of the season. The Yankees should not give up now. They should be investigating the value of their tradable veterans (Kuroda, Ichiro, Roberts, Jonhson, Robertson, Kelley, Thornton) and contending team's prospects.
Don't laugh at that list. Even Roberts is 18th in RC+ among major league secondbaseman. He'd actually improve the Orioles lineup. Ichiro has played fairly well and the Mariners outfield is atrocious. Neither would return much, but at least the Yankees could use the salary relief to sign another international prospect. Robertson would be the real prize as in the past, team's have forked good prospects for less effective relievers. If Kuroda continues to return to form, he could also net some good prospects. Kelley certainly has value as well.
The front office will also want to investigate how trades will influence clubhouse dynamics and chemistry. Tanaka is the Yankees most important player going forward. He doesn't speak English well. How integrated is he with the other players? Jeter's in his final season. How upset would he be if the team traded veterans and promoted fringy prospects? Will the trades affect future chances to sign veterans? Are any the veterans good nurturers of Solarte, Murphy and the young pitchers?
These answers to these questions, the scouting reports and trade values all take time to answer. The Yankees should be doing that work now so that if the team hasn't improved by July 1st, they can salvage something from 2014.