It is no secret that the July 31 Major League Baseball trade deadline has come and gone. New York Yankees fans are irritated at the moment because of the horrendous performance of the team and a dearth of major moves on the day of the deadline. At first glance, I was almost at the verge of aggravation myself. However, we all need to take a step back and look at the big picture.
It would not be fair to say that the Yankees did not make any big deals this season, as they acquired LF Ichiro Suzuki from the Seattle Mariners on July 23 when the team visited Seattle. He has gone a long way in improving the defense put up by the platoon of Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones in left field.
I agree with the decision to make the trade because he brings a speed element to the team, which is missing due to the absence of Brett Gardner, as well as a different approach to hitting. Almost every player on the team (except for Robinson Cano and Derek Jeter) is a strict .250 hitter who has a big deal of pop in the home run numbers. Ichiro has the ability to set up big innings by getting infield hits, bunts, and steals because of his speed.
A great deal of New York Yankees fans are moaning about the acquisition of Casey McGehee. However, I thought the deal was beneficial for both the Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates. Since the Yankees were going to release Chad Quals with the recall of Joba Chamberlain and the Pirates would release Casey McGehee, why not save the time and swap them?
He certainly helps take time away from the injury-prone Eric Chavez with the injury of Alex Rodriguez. A combination of Jayson Nix and Casey McGehee, with the occasional use of Chavez should be decently productive.
People might laugh at the fact that I said that that third base combination could be productive. Do not forget, though, that McGehee has hit .328 with a .199 ISO on opposite field shots since 2011, which ranks 17th out of all right-handed batters with at least 100 balls in play this season.
Kevin Long can turn that success into helpful production. I am not saying he will be Miguel Cabrera or anything, but he will help contribute to the club when he is not on the bench.
Jayson Nix and Eric Chavez have both had helpful seasons themselves. Remember the Jayson Nix bases-clearing double in Seattle that salvaged the rubber game of the series? In few at-bats, Nix has a .260 AVG with four HR, and Eric Chavez is hitting .265 with nine long balls. After more opportunities, I would expect to see these numbers dip a little since these two are meant to be used off the bench, but they have produced well thus far.
Several people will point to the Yankees' recent loss of games in the AL East. After the first game against the Boston Red Sox, which was a 10-3 win, the Yankees had a 8.5 game lead. They now have a 6.5 lead on the Baltimore Orioles, which has some fans shaking.
There is not a huge reason to worry, though, because this is what the cushion is for. It helps protect the Yankees from slipping too far after slumps like the one they had been in. After winning a few series, the Yanks should be able to return to a favorable position because of a greater number of divisional games.
Try not to relax too much, though. With the Yankees having a greater amount of divisional games later in the season, it becomes more and more likely that teams like the Orioles, Rays, and Red Sox could catch up by winning series like the last two. So long as the team does not become complacent and shows the ability to bounce back from dry spells, everything should work itself out in the long run.
It is not what happens in the regular season that determines success, at least not for the New York Yankees. October is what really matters overall. For the Yanks to get to where all of the fans want them to be, Alex Rodriguez and Andy Pettitte need to come back strong in September.
We are all counting on CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda to be their normal selves, as well as either Phil Hughes or Ivan Nova stepping up to be the third or fourth starter, depending on how Andy copes.
Baseball is all about the long term, rather than short series during the regular season. Concern for the team can only really be justified if these losing ways and lazy play add up to include the play over the span of a few weeks. There are certainly many variables in play, but all of the pieces are there to give the Yankees the potential for a huge October run.