New York Yankees: Why They Desperately Need a Blockbuster Trade This Summer
It's interesting how fast things can change.
Roughly two weeks ago, the New York Yankees were riding high from beating their hated rivals the Boston Red Sox. They were on a roll and things seemed like they were going to come together for the team.
Now, the Yankees lost Mariano Rivera for the season, the offense depends on the 37-year-old Derek Jeter and the rotation is not as deep as it was supposed to be. Don't forget that they're third in their division. Even the Baltimore Orioles are ahead of them. Plus, the Yankees have yet to consistently win against teams above .500.
People were picking them to reach the World Series before the season started. Now people are wondering if they'll make the playoffs.
The Yankees need a blockbuster trade if they want to regain their status as World Series favorites. The current team is not going to cut it.
The Struggling Offense
The New York Yankees' offense relies on Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher. Those aren't exactly the names you'd expect with Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira as the 3-4-5 hitters.
Combined, those three are batting .253 with 11 HR (one more than Granderson), 39 RBI. The heart of your order should be doing better than that.
The Yankees are still in the top 10 for major offensive categories. They're sixth in runs scored with 146, fourth in batting average with .271, third in on-base percentage with .343, and lead the league with 47 homers.
Anyone who knows and follows the Yankees, however, would know that those are subpar stats for them. A closer look reveals that they are only fourth in average because of Jeter. Take him out and the team's average drops to .254, tying them with the Baltimore Orioles for 12th.
Take Jeter's 22 runs away and they drop to 13th in runs scored. At that point, even the Houston Astros have more runs. Jeter is the MVP of the team right now, but there are questions as to whether he'll be able to do it all season long.
If the middle of the lineup doesn't pick it up, then the Yankees will need to make a trade to give Jeter and Granderson some help.
What Happened to the Pitching?
Um, weren't the New York Yankees supposed to have one of the deepest and strongest rotations in the league?
As of this moment, the Yankees don't have a truly reliable starter. CC Sabathia is starting to get back on track, but he's given up too many runs earlier in the season. Hiroki Kuroda has been inconsistent but seems to be finding his groove.
I'd count on Sabathia on reputation alone, but the numbers aren't there to support him yet. Ivan Nova lost his way after giving up five or more runs in back-to-back starts. Phil Hughes is just lost, David Phelps doesn't have enough starts yet and I'd rather ignore the subject of Freddy Garcia.
As a team, the Yankees are 24th in ERA, 27th in quality starts, 23rd in WHIP and 24th in BAA.
I didn't expect them to be that low.
To make things worse, Michael Pineda—their offseason prize—is gone for the season and they're relying on the soon to be 40-year-old Andy Pettite to help out the rotation. I really hope he does, but I don't expect him to be his old, stellar self.
No More Mo
May 3, 2012 is a day that will live in infamy with New York Yankee fans. That's the day Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer of all time, tore his ACL and his meniscus in his right knee (via NJ.com)
The one consistent factor on the team, Rivera, was lost for the season on that night. With that, the Yankees' bullpen was sent into chaos; no one expected to step into the shoes of the great Mariano Rivera so soon.
David Robertson has a tendency to get into tricky situations, but the team is looking to him to fill in for Rivera. He's not ready to be a closer yet, but he's the best they have. For those who believe he is ready to do the job—even if part time—look at last night's four-run ninth for evidence that he isn't.
The Yankees don't necessarily need to trade for a closer, but obtaining one would help. A blockbuster trade either for a hitter to put in the lineup or a starter for the rotation could help ease the troubles of the bullpen.
They Just Keep Getting Older, Getting Older All the Time
Not many teams can say that their season turned for the worse when their 42-year-old closer was lost for the season. Not many teams can also say that their postseason hopes are riding on a 37-year-old shortstop and the comeback of an almost 40-year-old pitcher.
But that's the life of the New York Yankees, folks. Any chance they have of reaching the playoffs rests on the bat of Derek Jeter and the arm of Andy Pettitte.
Jeter is currently the team's MVP, but with his age, he's liable to drop off or get hurt. Pettitte hasn't pitched in a major league game since October 18, 2012.
There's also the 36-year-old Alex Rodriguez, who hasn't been the same A-Rod of old since 2008. The Yankees are also relying a little too heavily on the might-as-well-be-40-years-old Raul Ibanez.
Older players require more rest and are more susceptible to injuries than younger ones.Their skills are also not at their best. The core of the Yankees is past its prime, and unless the younger ones can step up, they won't be able to win the World Series.
A trade to bring in a young, but proven star (no more trading for rookie sensations for a while, Mr. Brian Cashman) could be what the Yankees need.
The New York Yankees are currently third in the AL East. They are behind the Tampa Bay Rays and the Baltimore Orioles. I don't expect the Baltimore Orioles to finish ahead of the Yankees, but stranger things have happened.
The Rays are showing why they are the best team in the AL East thus far. Last night's game was further proof that the Rays are better than the Yankees at the moment.
Don't forget the Toronto Blue Jays who are a blockbuster trade themselves away from being a contender for the division title. They have the league's best hitter of the past two seasons in Jose Bautista. Their lineup is shaping up as well as their pitching.
The Boston Red Sox have a long way to go to threaten the Yankees, or any other team for that matter, but they can still be a threat if they ever get their act together.
The Tigers have Justin Verlander who just might be the best pitcher in the universe. They also have a powerful duo in Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera. As for the Angels, Albert Pujols can't and won't suck for the entire season and their trio of Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, and Dan Haren is going to land them many wins then they have right now.
Then there's the Texas Rangers, the one team I absolutely fear. They have the hitting and the pitching. Josh Hamilton and Yu Darvish are two guys I don't want to face at all.
In order to keep up with those teams, and maybe even surpass them, the Yankees are going to need some help.