With just 10 days before the trade deadline, the Yankees are currently 1.5 games behind Boston in the AL East division, but are in clear control of the AL wild card (unless they suffer a massive slide and a team like the Rays or Angels catch up).
Nonetheless, there are still holes that this team has, and if they want to make an extra push into the playoffs, here’s what I think they should get:
Starting Pitcher: Sabathia and Burnett have both been fine in the rotation, and Phil Hughes has returned. However, can Hughes remain healthy and effective throughout the second half of the season? And what about the back end of the rotation; Garcia, and Colon? Both of them have been decent in the majors, and Garcia and Colon’s (and the hamstring he pulled a few weeks ago) age catch up to them? If you recall Nova to the majors, how will he fare? You need a proven pitcher that’s not way up there in age and will provide as a 3-5 pitcher in the rotation (maybe 2, if Hughes cannot be healthy and/or effective).
There has been talk that Ubaldo Jimenez of the Rockies is someone that they are looking at, and that would be a smart trade pickup, especially since they’ll have him for another year (his contract runs through 2012, with club options for 2013 and 2014). However, for a prize this valuable, they will have to give up plenty of prospects in the process, and that could damage them long-term. Instead of trying to add a second ace to the mix, I would try to add someone who could still be effective in the middle to back-end of the rotations. One name that comes to mind is Jeff Samardzija of the Chicago Cubs. First off, he’s relatively cheap (he is earning $3.3 million this year). Second, while his record is not particularly great, he does have a 3.33 ERA this year. Third, he’s on the Cubs, which will be selling guys to cut payroll. Fourth, he has two club option years on his contract; if he doesn’t prove to be helpful, they can dump him after this season ends. Fifth, because he’s not a top-of-the-rotation kind of guy, the Cubs won’t be asking as much in return, compared to trading a guy like Matt Garza or Ryan Dempster.
Backup Infielder: Currently, A-Rod is on the disabled list and will be there until August (maybe even September). Your current guys are Ramiro Pena (who has had trouble batting so far) and Eduardo Nunez (who has potential but makes errors). You also have to consider that Jeter just came off the DL a couple weeks ago; what if he reinjures his calf? Also consider the possibility of Teixeira and/or Cano getting injured. You need a more solid bench/replacement player that can cover the infield positions. Mike Aviles (currently in the Royals’ minor leagues), while is not the best contact hitter, has pop in his bat, can play both 1B and 3b, and wouldn’t cost much for the team. Other cheap options include Mike Fontenot of the San Francisco Giants (who can play SS and 2B, and Martin Prado (who would be perfect as a super-utility bench player).