MLB Trade Deadline: Will the Yankees Make a Move Before July 31?

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst IJuly 21, 2012

MLB Trade Deadline: Will the Yankees Make a Move Before July 31?

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    We are less than two weeks away from the trading deadline for baseball.

    July 31 is the deadline for teams to make a trade without a player having to clear waivers.

    So far, a few teams have made a couple of moves to fill some needs, like the Phillies dealt Jim Thome to the Orioles and Chad Qualls to the Yankees.

    Or there was the 10-player deal that took place today between the Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros that sent J.A. Happ and Brandon Lyon to Toronto and Francisco Cordero and Ben Francisco to Houston.

    And then there was the trade that sent Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox because he and manager Bobby Valentine could no longer co-exist in Beantown.

    And that brings us up to the New York Yankees.

    What will Brian Cashman do between now and July 31?

    Let's take a look at the Yankees' situation and figure out what might be their game plan come next Tuesday afternoon.

Bullpen Help?

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    On June 24, the Yankees made a deal with the Phillies to get Chad Qualls for a player to be named later.

    Qualls was brought in to take Cory Wade's spot, who wasn't pitching as well as he once did for the team and got sent back down to the minors.

    The Yankees bullpen has had a lot of injuries in 2012.

    Joba Chamberlain, David Aardsma and Pedro Feliciano all started out the season on the disabled list.

    Mariano Rivera tore his ACL in early May and is not expected back for the rest of 2012.

    Yet Rafael Soriano has thrived as the closer and David Robertson continues to be great as the setup man.

    Plus, Cody Eppley and Clay Rapada have done very well in the Yankees bullpen.

    By the time the summer is over, the bullpen might be able to get Chamberlain and Aardsma off the DL and pitching in the Yankees bullpen, which would be a big plus if both can throw as hard as they once did.

    There are also reports of Rivera potentially being able to pitch again in September, which would be a gigantic shot in the arm for the Yankees if they can get their closer back.

    Verdict: Don't make a trade. If Chamberlain, Aardsma and Rivera all come back, the Yankees bullpen is loaded come playoff time.

Outfield Situation?

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    Remember when Brett Gardner used to play for the Yankees?

    It feels like it's been that long since we all saw the starting left fielder in pinstripes, as he has been out since April 17 with an elbow injury.

    The Yankees have gone with a platoon strategy so far in left field with Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones splitting time there.

    Ibanez has hit 12 home runs and 40 RBI and Jones has hit 12 home runs and 26 RBI, which are better numbers than anyone could have expected from either player.

    Combined, that's 24 home runs and 66 RBI from two veteran players who were supposed to be the starting DH and fourth outfielder on the team.

    The Yankees have gotten away with using both Ibanez and Jones in left, but considering they are age 40 and 35 respectively, Joe Girardi can't keep running them both out there in the outfield and tiring them out before October.

    Rick Ankiel and Juan Pierre's names have been talked about as suggestions, but the Yankees aren't interested in either player.

    Shane Victorino and Justin Upton have also been discussed, but they would both likely cost the Yankees decent prospects.

    Verdict: Make a trade, but don't unload the farm if you can help it.

Starting Pitching Help?

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    Nobody thought the rotation would be an issue at the end of June.

    However, Andy Pettitte suffered a fractured ankle pitching against the Indians back on June 27 and he likely won't be back until late August or early September.

    For now, Freddy Garcia is pitching in Pettitte's place, and he has a 4-3 record with a 5.37 ERA, but Garcia is not seen as a long-term solution for the rotation.

    At the same time Pettitte went on the DL, CC Sabathia also went on the DL with a groin injury, but he has since returned, so Sabathia's injury wasn't as serious as the one suffered to Pettitte.

    The Yankees have been linked to many different names this summer: Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Zack Greinke, Cole Hamels, Wandy Rodriguez, among others.

    I think if it were up to Cashman, he will wait for Pettitte to return to the team instead of trading for a pitcher.

    Verdict: I'd say make a trade because you can never have enough pitching, but knowing Cashman, he's likely waiting for Andy Pettitte's return from the DL.

The GM's Stingy Stance

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    Like I mentioned before in this story, if it were up to Yankees GM Brian Cashman, the Yankees would stay put.

    Last week, according to ESPNNewYork writer Mike Mazzeo, Cashman reiterated that he doesn't expect the team to be active at the deadline because the price tag for players is too steep.

    "I think it's going to be very difficult to improve upon this roster, so I'm going into the deadline very skeptical," Cashman said. Cashman said it's possible the Yankees do something small or perhaps claim a player off waivers if he gets released, but added: "The price tags suck, to be honest."

    You heard it there, the price tags suck, directly from the GM's own mouth. And he's right.

    Opposing general manager's have put a steep price tag on players who are on the block and it seems like dealing away top prospects is the answer if a team wants to make a trade that helps in the short-term.

    In years past, Cashman might have felt the pressure from George Steinbrenner to make a deal that would only serve the team in the short-term, but not long-term.

    Under Hal Steinbrenner, Cashman isn't making those kinds of deals anymore, and the Yankees farm system has been better because of it.

    It does make for a boring July though if you are looking for trades to happen.

What to Expect on July 31?

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    If you ask me right now if I think the Yankees are making any deals between now and the deadline on July 31, I'm going to say no.

    Cashman doesn't want to deal away prospects. He's really never been one to make a bold move at the deadline.

    The biggest name he has acquired in recent time was Lance Berkman back in 2010, and the trade for Berkman worked out horribly because he wasn't the same hitter for the Yankees.

    I would love for the Yankees to make a big splash and make the bold trade because it creates excitement and a buzz around the city and the team.

    But it's also hard to argue with a team's success that has the best record in baseball, is in first place and has a sizable lead in the division over their rivals.

    In spite of the injuries suffered, the Yankees have not only survived, but have defied the odds and have done well.

    When Rivera went down with the ACL injury, everyone thought they were doomed, and yet, they aren't even close to being doomed.

    I think Cashman will look around to see if players get designated for assignment or if they are placed on waivers and then see if he can strike a reasonable deal.

    But I wouldn't bet on the Yankees making any major deal by the time July 31 rolls around.

    Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.