Brian Cashman (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Even before the first pitch of the 2013 season was thrown, the New York Yankees were hit with a plethora of injures. A franchise, which has been a staple in the playoffs 17 of the last 18 seasons, was projected to be out of the postseason picture. Never count the Yankees out! Despite all their injuries and the mid-summer classic around the corner, the Yankees are 51-44, shocking the baseball world. They are currently 5 games in the loss column behind the division-leading Red Sox, and 3 games back of the wildcard leading Rays.
The second half of the season kicks off in ‘Bean Town,’ and with their captain back leading the way, the Yankees have a chance to pick up some ground. I’m pleased to see where the Yankees stand, but the question now becomes do they need to improve their roster? With Rodriguez, Granderson, Youkilis, and Cervelli all coming off the disabled list, maybe the Yankees lineup won’t be so depleted, and if Cashman doesn’t make a move, maybe it’s not so bad.
Yankee fans, myself included, feel that the team relies too much on the long ball. Especially in the postseason, if they make it, home runs are hard to come by. If Cashman rolls the dice with what they have, and their injured players return and contribute more than their replacements, this might be the year the Bronx Bombers uncharacteristically have timely hitting and play small ball.
On the other hand, once the players return from the DL it might be too late to help the Bombers make a push for the playoffs. With all their injuries, and the trade deadline of July 31st only three weeks away, the Yankees need to address the catching, corner infield positions, and the bullpen by adding another lefty to help out Boone Logan.
While Chris Stewart and Austin Romine have been getting the job done, there might be better options on the trade market at the catcher’s position. One option the Yankees could explore would be trying to trade for Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz. Or the Yankees could look at making a big splash and land Brian McCan of the Atlanta Braves.
Comparing the two trade options:
Ruiz: 0HR 6RBI .267AVG .320OBP
Stewart: 3HR 13RBI .248 AVG .324OBP
MacCan: 10HR, 30RBI .297AVG.371OBP
Stewart: 3HR 13RBI .248 AVG .324OBP
The Yankees could also plug another hole at third base by attempting to get Michael Young, a versatile player who can swing a solid bat and would split time with A-rod. Although, with a cloud hanging over the possible return of Rodriguez, depending on the Biogenesis investigation and his alleged involvement with performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), Young could possibly become the everyday third baseman.
They also have some concerns across the diamond. With Mark Teixeira needing season-ending right wrist surgery and Lyle Overbay, who is hitting .244 with 10HR and 36RBI on the season, the Yankees could use a major upgrade. They could explore several options such as: Justin Morneau, Matt Adams or the switch-hitting Kendrys Morales.
Comparing the three trade options:
Morneau has 7HR 51RBI, .272AVG and .331OBP and his addition would be a perfect fit with the short porch in right. Morneau is due 14mill at the end of this year and the 39-52 Twins are looking to trade the 32 year-old 1st baseman.
Trading for the 24 year-old Matt Adams who has 7HR, 25RBI, a .315AVG and .370OBP would also be a smart move. He is only making 490,000 this season and trading for him would give Cashman the option to try and resign the young budding star to split some time with Teixeira since he will be coming off an injury plagued season.
The switch-hitting 30 year-old Morales has 13HR, 51RBI, a .280AVG and .340OBP would also be a great fit. He would make it difficult for opposing managers to make the correct match-ups late in games. Since he is due to be a free agent it would make sense for the Mariners to try and trade him. The Yankees could also attempt to pick up the southpaw Oliver Perez, along with Morales to improve the bullpen.
Picking up one of these options at 1st base, a veteran like Michael Young at 3rd, or somehow both, would exponentially improve the ball club. The Yankees could vastly increase their team’s chances of making the postseason. The Yankees could go from a questionable playoff team to a contender, Yankee fans will just have to wait and see what happens!