Why Standing Pat at the Trade Deadline Is Now the Best Move for NY Yankees
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That'll do, Brian Cashman. Feel free to sit the rest of the trade deadline out. You've done enough.
By now, you know all about the trade that the New York Yankees' general manager was able to pull off on Monday. If not, well, just know that he acquired Ichiro Suzuki in a trade with the Seattle Mariners.
Yes, that Ichiro.
Truth be told, the trade is not that big of a deal. Ichiro is old and over the hill, and you can tell that his star power has taken a hit just by taking a look at what Cashman gave up to get him. All he had to surrender were two pitching prospects that only diehard Yankees fans will have heard of.
What's really interesting is how quietly the trade came together. There's never a shortage of trade rumors where the Yankees are concerned, but nobody ever said anything about the Bombers possibly making a deal for Ichiro. That's the kind of tidbit that would have stuck out.
That's a testament to how coolly Cashman handled the situation. To that end, the story only gets better.
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According to ESPNNewYork.com, Cashman made Ichiro agree to a list of conditions before the trade was finalized. Namely, he wanted Ichiro to agree to switch positions, hit at the bottom of the Yankees' lineup and to occasionally take a seat against left-handed pitchers.
This just goes to show that Cashman never kidded himself into thinking that he was getting a superstar. As he saw it, he was getting a role player. Just another guy, so to speak. He wanted Ichiro to understand that as well.
In getting Ichiro, Cashman definitely filled a need. One of the only real needs he had to fill, really.
For three months, the Yankees had been waiting patiently for speedy left fielder Brett Gardner to recover from a freak elbow injury that he suffered in early April. He suffered setback after setback, and it was finally determined a couple days ago that Gardner needs to have surgery that will likely end his season for good.
There went Plan A for the Yankees' left field spot. Plan B was to keep playing Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez. Plan C was to go out and acquire a defensive-minded outfielder with speed out on the trade market.
That's what everyone expected the Yankees to do, and Cashman went for a dark horse option in acquiring Ichiro.
Ichiro has never had to play left field in the big leagues. Exactly why he has to change positions instead of Nick Swisher is anybody's guess. Ichiro should be allowed to stick in right field.
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Oh well. One trusts that Ichiro will be able to figure it out anyway. He is, after all, one of the best defensive outfielders to come around in the last couple decades, and he still has more than enough speed to make all the plays. His cannon of an arm will be a major asset for the Yankees, just as it was a major asset for the Mariners for 11-plus seasons.
Ichiro doesn't have to hit like his old self in order to justify this trade. If he plays good defense and steals a few bags here and there, the Yankees will have gotten good value on their end.
Now that Cashman has filled the club's need for a corner outfielder, the Yankees are pretty well set for the stretch run. No further improvements are necessary.
You could argue that the Yankees need a starting pitcher to account for Andy Pettitte's absence, but it's not like they're desperate in that department. Freddy Garcia is hard to watch, but he has an ERA of 3.97 in four July starts. With the Yankees' offense, that's good enough.
The rest of the Yankees' rotation is good enough too. Per FanGraphs, Yankees starters rank third in the AL with an ERA of 3.90. They posted an AL-best 2.62 ERA in June, and a 3.53 ERA thus far in July.
The Yankees have a seven-game lead in the AL East. The starters they have are good enough to hold that lead. It's not like we're talking about the 2011 Boston Red Sox here.
And yes, the starters the Yankees have will do for the postseason as well. They could certainly use a Cole Hamels or a Zack Greinke, but they don't need one of them nearly as much as some other teams in the American League. The Bombers won't be odds-on favorites to win the AL pennant when the playoffs roll around, but they certainly won't be an underdog.
The Yankees' bullpen is not as well off as the starting rotation is, but one can only complain about the bullpen so much seeing as how it's only blown eight saves and lost nine games all season. Rafael Soriano has only blown two saves since taking over for Mariano Rivera, a better outcome than anybody could have hoped for.
Do the Yankees need to make more moves at the deadline?
So now that the Yankees have Ichiro, they're a club that doesn't have any discernible holes. He's going to provide their outfield with extra defense and their homer-happy lineup with a little more versatility. Their starting rotation is fine as is, and their bullpen is not a liability despite its various shortcomings.
The trade deadline is a chance for general managers to provide their teams with upgrades. Cashman did just that in acquiring Ichiro. The Yankees are a better team now than they were as recently as 24 hours ago.
Cashman used the deadline to its exact purpose. His work is done here.
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