The New York Yankees hope to keep their comfortable lead in the American League East. Having Mark Teixeira healthy is key while Alex Rodriguez misses the rest of summer.
The Major League Baseball trade deadline is fast approaching, and suddenly the Yankees may be forced into making a move—something that seemed highly unlikely just six days ago.
Alex Rodriguez is sidelined with a broken left hand until mid-September at the earliest, and Mark Teixeira may be facing a serious injury himself, according to ESPN. At first blush, the news does not appear all that bad since an X-Ray showed no breaks.
However, according to ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand, 'Tex' will undergo an MRI Tuesday.
Yankees' Teixeira will undergo MRI on wrist espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/s…
— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) July 31, 2012
The Yankees most pressing need is hitting. While they lead the majors in a bevy of statistical categories, the team has lost eight of 11 games and there are still two full months left in the season for Baltimore, Tampa and even Boston to make a charge at the Bombers.
Chase Headley had been rumored as a possible trade piece that the Yankees could fill in at third base in A-Rod's absence, though that now looks less likely (SI.com). The cost would be prohibitive to the Yankees, and the reality is that the team seems to feel they can fill their needs internally.
So who do the Yankees have in their own organization that can serve as the proverbial band-aid for injuries to A-Rod and possibly Mark Teixeira? The pickings are slim and injuries to some minor leaguers have made matters more complicated.
Russell Branyan is on the triple-A disabled list, according to Chad Jennings of The Journal News. Another viable option, Ronnier Mustelier, is only one game back from an injury that sidelined him for over two weeks.
Branyan has a lengthy big league career—Mustelier is yet to arrive in 'The Show.'
The Yankees have until 4 pm today to decide what to do. They may decide to not give up any of their prized prospects like Gary Sanchez, Tyler Austin and Mason Williams—most of whom are in the lower levels of their farm system.
Here are four possibilities that the Yankees' should give very serious consideration to in lieu of a deal.
Nunez swings a nice bat but his defense leaves much to be desired.
Eduardo Nunez had quite an adventurous 20 games with the Yankees this season. Nunez hit .294 through May 10th and showed he can clearly hit for average at the big league level. However, the Bombers needed Nunez to be better with the leather and he was absolutely horrendous in the field.
Nunez managed to make four errors and had limited time in the outfield, where he turned every routine play into an adventure straight out of a little league game. Nunez missed two full months between mid-May and mid-July, and he's only been back with Scranton-Wilkes Barre for five games.
Nunez is hitting pretty well so far in his minor league return, but his overall numbers for the season have been lousy. Nunez can play third base, but the Yankees sent him back down to better learn the shortstop position to allow Derek Jeter to DH periodically.
Nunez is certainly an option and one who brings speed, a nice batting average and an ability to get some extra base hits. His fielding will be a detriment to the team, but the Yankees may be willing to bring him up and make that sacrifice.
At 27 years old, Ronnier Mustelier is not as much a prospect as he is someone that's shown he can flat-out hit in the minor leagues. Yet he hasn't yet arrived in the major leagues, which makes him something of a tweener right now.
There are advocates for Mustelier in the blogosphere and among Yankees fans. The Cuban import has hit for solid power and can play any position in the field. Fielding may not be his strong suit, but he has some pop in his bat and should be given a trial run at the major league level while he's still in the prime of his career.
Kevin Russo had a small taste of the majors in 2010.
Kevin Russo has fared well in his Yankees' minor league career and the middle infielder has already gotten a taste of what life in the major leagues is all about. Russo played for the Yankees for most of the month of May and June in 2010.
Russo is hitting .301 so far this season for Scranton-Wilkes Barre, and while he's hardly viewed as a long-term replacement at this stage, he could fill in and provide a spark on the left side of the infield.
Russo's glaring weakness? Power.
He has not hit a home run this season and only 18 of his 100 hits have been extra base hits. It's hard to argue that Russo deserves a shot, but the Yankees could certainly do far worse for a temporary replacement.
Jack Cust may be coming to Yankee Stadium soon.
As the MLB trade rumors continue to swirl, the New York Yankees may turn to a former major leaguer who doesn't exactly fall into the status of, 'prospect.' Jack Cust can hit for power and has proven so at every level of baseball he's played.
Cust is also something of an all-or-nothing player that has remarkable plate discipline though lacks an ability to consistently put the ball in play. Cust is hitting .252 for Scranton-Wilkes Barre this season and is tied for fifth in the International League in home runs.
Cust has hit 105 home runs in the major leagues and is primarily known for his years in Oakland, though somewhat notoriously. Cust led the American League in strikeouts three straight years (2007-2009) while playing in the Bay Area. He also led the American League in bases on balls in 2008.
Cust averaged 28 home runs per year during the stretch.
What you see is what you get with Cust. He's going to strike out a ton and his left-hand stroke has the muscle to put the ball deep into the right field bleachers at Yankee Stadium. If Mark Teixeira has to miss an extended amount of time, expect to see the New Jersey native, Cust, in pinstripes soon.