The July 31 non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone, but teams can still make trades to improve their teams for playoff pushes until August 31. The only restriction is that the players involved must clear waivers, or else be traded to the team that claimed them.
Here are five players who could clear waivers and could interest the Yankees sometime during the next 25 days.
Note: Cliff Lee would have been on this list, but he was claimed by the Dodgers off waivers earlier in the week. Even if the Dodgers cannot complete a trade to acquire him from the Phillies, the Yankees will be unable to trade for him. It is unlikely the Yankees would have tried to, anyway, given Lee's bloated salary for the next three seasons.
The Yankees dealt for Casey McGehee last week to help fill in at third base in Alex Rodriguez's absence. But if he does not contribute during the next three weeks, and if the medical staff is concerned about A-Rod's ability to come back before the playoffs, the Bombers could look elsewhere for a replacement.
Placido Polanco could be an option. He's hitting just .255 this year for the Phillies, but he's a career .299 hitter and a three-time Gold Glove winner.
Polanco's contract expires this season (he has a mutual $5.5 million option for 2013 that the Yankees would certainly decline) and he could clear waivers, so he would be available for the Yankees if they want him.
If A-Rod is going to miss significantly more time, a third base platoon of Eric Chavez and Polanco would be workable.
Before trading for Casey McGehee last Tuesday, the Yankees agreed to a trade with the Marlins that would bring Carlos Lee to the Bronx, but Lee vetoed the deal with his no-trade clause.
Since the Yanks acquired McGehee to be a right-handed hitter off the bench, they probably no longer have a need for Lee. But if McGehee struggles and Brian Cashman decides to acquire another bat, Lee would be one of his options.
He's already shown interest in "El Caballo," who is hitting .292 this year with six home runs. The obstacle would be convincing him to come to New York after he already vetoed a trade to them.
It's hard to imagine why he wouldn't want to come play for a winning team rather than a sinking Marlins club, but if he would agree to a trade, the cost to the Yankees would not be expensive.
After calling up Ryan Lavarnway, Kelly Shoppach is now expendable for the Red Sox and the Yankees could be interested in a catcher.
The Yankees are publicly supporting Russell Martin, and he has hit 12 home runs, but the fact is that on August 6 he is hitting just .192. That does not cut it.
If the team does decide to look for an upgrade, at least at backup, Kelly Shoppach could be a perfect fit.
Backing up Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Shoppach is hitting .258 with five home runs and a .340 on-base percentage in 128 at-bats.
It's hard to imagine the Yankees and Red Sox completing a trade, but if Ben Cherington concedes that his team is out of the race, he could be convinced to deal Shoppach to his biggest rival in return for some salary relief and roster flexibility.
With the news that Andy Pettitte had an X-ray yesterday and his fractured ankle may not be recovering as quickly as was hoped, the Yankees may be in the market for starting pitching.
If they are, Carlos Zambrano may not be the worst option.
With the off-field issues Zambrano has had in the past, he will probably clear waivers, and he's actually pitched relatively well this year.
His 88 strikeouts and 68 walks in 118.2 innings this year is not great, but he's only allowed 105 hits with a 4.47 ERA.
Zambrano's contract expires after the season so there would be no future commitment for the team, either.
It's unlikely the Yankees will pursue Zambrano, but he could be theirs if Andy Pettitte's rehab is delayed.
The best bat that could be dealt this August is the Twins' Justin Morneau.
Minnesota's first basemen used to be one of the best sluggers in the game, but after dealing with several concussions over the last couple of years, Morneau is not the player he once was.
He probably shouldn't play every day and may be best suited to be a designated hitter, but in 84 games this year Morneau is hitting .272 with 13 home runs.
The left-handed bat may be perfectly suited for Yankee Stadium, and he could fit in to the Yankees' rotation at designated hitter for the last month of the season and the playoffs. With several other veterans like Raul Ibanez, Andruw Jones and Eric Chavez rotating days at DH, left field and third base (while Alex Rodriguez is out), Morneau could slide right into that platoon.
The reason Morneau will likely clear waivers is his contract; with $14 million due to him in 2013, he is more than just a rental player. The acquiring team, if it cannot get the Twins to pay a portion of his contract, will be on the hook for a large salary next year.
He may not fit into the Yankees' plan next year with Mark Teixeira ingrained at first base and Brian Cashman preferring to leave the DH spot open to be able to give his veterans half-days off. But if the Yankees really want to improve their lineup for 2012, Justin Morneau may be the answer.