When Andy Pettitte announced that he was returning, everyone was wondering how the New York Yankees would find a spot in the rotation for him. As the season moved along, it became obvious how important he would be to the starting five the rest of the year.
Unfortunately, thanks to a Casey Kotchman liner right back up the middle, Pettitte will be out for six weeks with a fractured ankle.
This came shortly after the team put CC Sabathia on the disabled list with a groin strain, though he is expected to be back right after the All-Star break.
But losing Pettitte leaves a void in the rotation that the Yankees don't have any in-house options to fill. Does anyone really think this team is going to put Freddy Garcia back in the rotation for another two months? More specifically, does anyone think he is going to last two months?
It would be foolish for the Yankees to simply make a panic move by trading for a starting pitcher and overpaying to get one. That was the way this franchise used to operate, and it was left with a depleted farm system it has been rebuilding for the last few years.
Now that the team has a lot of really interesting pieces in place, it can afford to take a chance on a possible starter that is on the market. I am not saying it should give up one of its best prospects—Mason Williams, Gary Sanchez, Jose Campos—but someone in its second tier could be up for grabs.
Again, all of this depends on what is out there, but the Yankees have the pieces in place to deal from an area of strength (farm system) to acquire someone who can help them keep their stranglehold on the American League East and make a deep run in the postseason.
There are going to be names that pop up on the trade market over the next few weeks (Matt Garza, Francisco Liriano, a healthy Ryan Dempster), so there will be options out there for the Yankees.
They need to do something to make sure they can stay afloat while Pettitte and Sabathia are out. The situation is not dire yet, but they are hanging on by a thread with Philip Hughes and Ivan Nova right now.
Never one to shy away from bold moves when they are necessary, Brian Cashman is going to have big decisions to make over the next four weeks. Acquiring another starter has to be right at the top of his list.