After a recent setback for Andy Pettitte while recovering from an ankle injury, the New York Yankees should continue scouring the waiver trade market for another starting pitcher just in case those problems persist.
According to Andrew Marchand of ESPN, Pettitte suffered the setback a little over a week ago. While it was only a precaution to shut Pettitte down in the mean time, the Yanks have been no strangers to players having setbacks this season.
Brett Gardner, another of the Bombers wounded, got injured back in April and after several setbacks in his recovery, Gardner had to be shut down for the rest of the season.
So that fact alone has to make the Yanks worried about possible snags in Pettitte's recovery moving forward. Not to mention, the season-long struggles of Ivan Nova and the unpredictability of Freddy Garcia.
That could potentially leave the Yanks three pitchers short of a solid rotation, thus making it necessary for them to explore their post-trade deadline options.
Let's take a look at who those targets could be.
2012 Stats: 8-10, 5.52 ERA
Lowe was recently designated for assignment and while his numbers are horrific looking for a potential AL East-bound starter, the Yankees know full well that Lowe can turn into a different pitcher come playoff time.
In his career in the postseason, Lowe is 5-7 with a 3.21 ERA. Numbers like those are wholly impressive and guarantee Lowe can be a viable option in any role come October.
Even as recently as 2010, Lowe looked good in the playoffs, pitching to a 2.31 ERA.
Lowe would be little risk, high reward and there is a chance that he returns to past form when it matters most. That is worth taking a chance on if you're the Yankees.
2012 Stats: 4-2, 6.53 ERA
After six starts that were less than impressive at best, Oswalt has become a reliever for the Rangers and that has the lifelong starter upset.
Despite his numbers being horrid, it was only six starts and it is possible Oswalt simply needs more time to find his stride and make a better contribution. After all, Oswalt did get back to the big leagues in June and possibly hasn't hit midseason form yet.
In order to get rid of a disgruntled player and avoid bad vibes in the clubhouse, the Yankees could take him off the Rangers hands for a relatively cheap price, hoping Oswalt can get motivated and be the reliable arm New York needs.
2012 Stats: 3-8, 5.46 ERA
Again, there may be nothing special here based on the numbers, but Wolf has been playing for a horrible team in Milwaukee all season and a change of scenery could do him well.
The Brewers are looking to rebuild and ideally would love to move Wolf and the remaining money on his contract before the end of the season. Now all they have to do is find a suitor and the Brew Crew can unload the 35-year-old (36 on August 22).
Wolf may seem like a certain disaster in pinstripes, but he would cost next to nothing in a deal and isn't all that bad for a fifth starter. With a little extra run support from a great offense like New York's, Wolf could have some more success with the Bombers.
He has the potential to be better and that's based on Wolf's 2011 numbers: 13-10, 3.69 ERA. The Yanks would certainly sign up for that.
In the end, this experiment might fail, but if it costs little to nothing in order to try, why not?
2012 Stats: 5-3, 3.39 ERA
Another potential casualty of rebuilding, the Brewers could look to move Marcum soon in order to make more space for some of their younger, up-and-coming arms.
Marcum has dealt with injuries the majority of the season and hasn't pitched in a game since June 14. However, it appears Milwaukee's right-hander is on the comeback trail and that could make him available before August 31.
Having experience pitching in the AL East with the Toronto Blue Jays makes Marcum an even more attractive piece than most, so the Yanks should no doubt have their eye on him.
Marcum's contract does expire at season's end, but with injury concerns in the future, the Bombers could possibly re-sign him for a reasonable price when he hits the free-agent market.
2012 Stats: 7-8, 3.88 ERA
Johnson falling to the Yankees in a waiver deal isn't likely, but if it happens to be a possibility, the Bombers need not think twice about it.
Adding a starter like Johnson—even with his current disappointing numbers—would instantly bolster the Yanks rotation and fill the void left by Pettitte's injury or any ineffective starter.
When healthy, Johnson is as good a starter in this league as any top pitcher and at the top of his game could give New York a top-notch 1-2 punch to lead their rotation.
After two bad months to start the season, Johnson went 2-2 with a 1.87 ERA in June and then followed that up with another bad month at 1-2 with a 4.88 ERA.
But to start August, Johnson has two quality starts under his belt and could be ready to get hot once again.
The Miami Marlins have been nothing short of a mess as a team this season and there's no doubt that can be detrimental to a starter like Johnson. Changing his address to the Big Apple could do wonders for Johnson's psyche and his performance on the mound.
Pettitte's injury has certainly dealt the Yankees an unexpected blow, but he will make it back to pitch for the playoffs and that's all this team needs. Pettitte has already proven he can come back healthy and ready at any moment as evidenced by his impressive comeback this season.
No matter where the Yanks look—unless they are lucky enough to have a crack at Josh Johnson—there is no solution better than the one they have in-house. Pettitte's presence and experience on the mound is unmatched by any unwanted, waiver wire player.
Besides all that, what will the Yanks have to trade away in order to bring in any available pitcher of value in a waiver deal? It could be a hefty price of young talent for what would most likely be a short-term rental.
Bottom line: The best solution for the Bombers is Andy Pettitte's return. Until then, the Yankees should be able to piece it together.