Yesterday, one minute before the trade deadline was upon us, YES Network focused in on the clock at Yankee Stadium. The announcers were quiet until 4:00 p.m. struck, as the Yankees had not announced a single move. Michael Kay cautioned that deals could still be announced after the deadline, but there was no talk of the Yankees striking a last second deal.
And they didn't. Brian Cashman stuck with his current roster, and I cannot be happier about that decision. The sports talk radio shows and ESPN will complain about how the Yankees did not make a move, as will all the fans who wanted a big name to come to the Bronx. They will be called the losers of the 2011 trade deadline.
Cashman will receive negative press for not making a move, but why would he want to, especially given that the trade market was weak and the asking prices from the Yankees were absurdly high? That spells disaster, folks.
Let's take a look at the reasons why Cashman made the right decision by standing pat.
It's About The Money already took a look at the Yankees' top four starters and showed that they match up favorably, when healty, to the other American League contenders. The Yankees' top three starters all have FIPs below 4.00, which would make A.J. Burnett the Yankees' fourth starter in the playoffs.
With the bullpen, the Yankees have Mariano Rivera, David Robertson and Rafael Soriano as the headlines. Could they have made a move to bolster middle relief? Sure. But why would a team waste talented prospects on a reliever that will not pitch important or high leverage innings with three quality arms in front of him?
Come playoff time, we could also see Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova in the pen, assuming CC Sabathia, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, and A.J. Burnett make up the playoff rotation. Hughes and Nova undoubtedly make the bullpen deeper and stronger.
In terms of offense, the Yankees have scored the second most runs in the AL, have the most home runs, are second in OBP, and third in SLG. If they felt they needed a bat, they could call on Jesus Montero and not trade away prospects. Additionally, Alex Rodriguez will return soon. With options in house and an already elite offense, why waste talent on a rental or unnecessary move?
The Yankees went to the ALCS last year with, essentially, the same core group of players. They were two games away from the World Series. The playoffs are a crap shoot, and a bounce or a break here and there could have sent them to the Fall Classic last season.
Right now, the Yankees are 64-42, just two games back of the division leading Red Sox, and are currently on pace to win 98 games. When you stop and think, it's kind of hard to improve a team that's on pace to win almost 100 games. And when you really stop and think, teams that win 98 games are usually really good, and have a really good chance of advancing deep into October.
So thank you, Brian Cashman, for holding on to Ivan Nova, Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Gary Sanchez, Austin Romine, and the other talented kids on the farm. You knew the 2011 Yankees have just as good a shot as anyone, and the future of the Yankees continues to look bright.