The Yankees have 10 days to acquire a player who would be eligible for the playoff roster. Even though they've turned things around, winning five of seven at home against Texas and Boston, there are still injury concerns surrounding the team. Most notably, CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte are on the disabled list.
Sabathia has been sidelined since August 9 with elbow soreness, but insists he will pitch on Friday in Cleveland when he is eligible to return. However, elbow soreness is not a good sign and Joe Girardi has not committed to pitching his ace this weekend.
Pettitte's return is more in doubt. Recovering from a fractured ankle, he has not been cleared to throw off a mound and has said that another setback may keep him out for the season.
If during the next 10 days Brian Cashman decides the Yankees need to trade for a starter to provide insurance in case Sabathia and/or Pettitte cannot return, here are five who may clear waivers and whose teams could be interested in making a deal.
Note: I'm not saying the Yankees should trade for any of these pitchers (in fact, I think the Yankees' current options even without Sabathia and Pettitte are better than any of these five pitchers; this is just a list of who could be available).
Any fan who watched the Yankees-Red Sox game on Sunday night knows that Josh Beckett isn't the pitcher he used to be.
At 5-11 with a 5.23 ERA, he's having perhaps the worst year of his career and has allowed four or more runs in seven of his last ten starts.
But he has a large contract that Red Sox would probably love to get rid of (he has $31.5 million due to him in 2013 and 2014).
At the same time, Beckett has always been a clutch pitcher who would likely clear waivers, and it would probably not take a major prospect for the Yankees to complete a rare trade with the Red Sox and acquire Josh Beckett.
But then he was traded out of hitter-friendly Coors Field to the Royals, where he has excelled.
In six starts for the Royals, he is 2-3 with a 3.23 ERA. He's allowed only 32 hits in 39 innings while only surrendering three home runs.
He hasn't allowed a run in his last three starts, either. In his last few outings, he's thrown eight shutout innings against the White Sox, seven shutout innings against the Athletics and another seven and two-thirds shutout innings against the White Sox.
Guthrie will hit free agency after this year and at 33 years old, he hardly fits in the Royals' rebuilding plan.
It's not a lock he would clear waivers, but the Royals could try to deal him over the next 10 days for an average prospect.
Like Jeremy Guthrie, Jason Marquis had a disastrous start to 2012, was traded, and has pitched well since.
Marquis is an older pitcher with below-average stuff who can probably attribute his success to a weak NL West as much as anything.
He's not a top option compared to the current Yankee starters, but they could probably have him if they wanted him.
Kevin Millwood, like Jason Marquis, is a veteran pitcher with below-average stuff who can still get batters out.
Despite his 4-10 record, Millwood has a 4.28 ERA for the Mariners this year and has been a pretty average pitcher overall.
He's certainly no one's top option, but he could fill in to the back of a rotation and eat up some innings during the season's final weeks.
Since Johan Santana's no-hitter, he is 3-7 with an 8.27 ERA.
But if the Yankees wanted him, the Mets would probably listen, and other teams would probably balk at claiming him on waivers.
Santana has $25.5 million coming next year, plus either a $25 million team option in 2014 or a $5.5 million buyout, but if the Mets were willing to take on a high percentage of that contract Brian Cashman might listen.
Johan had pitched very will up to and including his no-hitter, but the high pitch count and shoulder trouble combined probably did him in.
Would Cashman go for Johan not for 2012 but for 2013? It's possible, but the Mets would have to eat most of his contract.