Leading up to the trade deadline, the Yankees needed all the help they could get. The starting rotation was obliterated by injuries, half of the infield was playing atrocious defense, the offense was struggling to get anything going, and the team didn't have a true fourth outfielder. GM Brian Cashman managed to make several trades, but did the team do enough to improve?
In terms of the rotation, Vidal Nuno was traded for Brandon McCarthy. He has made four starts with the Yankees since then, and he's only allowed more than one run to score during one of those starts. While it's too early to tell how he'll pitch for the duration of the season, he has started well and has been a definite improvement over Nuno. With that being said, there was still room to improve the rotation, and I don't think any of us would have said no to acquiring another starting pitcher. Unless it meant giving up all of the prospects. McCarthy was a good addition, but it's hard not to feel like the rotation still needs help. Maybe Michael Pineda will return from the DL and be that person.
The trades for Chase Headley and Stephen Drew should certainly help the infield improve defensively. Headley is a real third baseman, after all, which automatically gives him an advantage over Kelly Johnson/Yangervis Solarte/etc. Drew, on the other hand, has never played second base in his major league career, or even in the minors. It was an interesting decision for the Yankees to DFA Brian Roberts, and trade second baseman Johnson to the Red Sox. The fact that Roberts had already made 10 errors at second base, coupled with the fact that he was batting .237/.300/.360 with 81 wRC+, makes it hard for Drew not to be an upgrade in one way or the other. Drew hasn't gotten off to the best start, after being signed late into the season, but he has shown signs of life over the last few weeks. I'm cautiously optimistic that he'll be better than Roberts, and he will be if he is able to hit anywhere near his career averages.
Considering how difficult it has been for the team to score runs for the majority of the season, Martin Prado's bat is a welcome addition. There is also the added bonus that he can be the right fielder, although he's only played left field before. This means more rest for Ichiro Suzuki, who was playing much better before he became the everyday right fielder out of necessity. Headley has also had a better season than Johnson, offensively, so that should help improve the lineup altogether. At the very least, all of the new additions have the potential to be better than the player they replaced, and none should be worse.
On the whole, the Yankees were much more active around the trade deadline than last year. Even if none of the moves work out, at least attempts were made to try and upgrade the offense, infield defense, and the starting rotation. It might have been nice to add another starter to take Shane Greene's spot, but he might be good enough while we wait to see if Pineda does return.
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