Yankees GM Brian Cashman has a number of areas to address if the Yankees are to remain competitive.
With the the MLB trade deadline a month away, the New York Yankees' injury-filled season leaves them with a few areas that need to be addressed. Team president Randy Levine went so far as to say that he expects the team to be active during the trade deadline.
What areas the team will most likely try to improve upon and where they will turn to fill those needs lead one to speculation. However, there are glaring deficiencies that the Bombers must take action on if they wish to secure continued success in 2013.
First baseman Mark Teixeira's 2013 season has been lost with news that he will have surgery on his wrist.
First baseman Mark Teixeira has been a vital source of production in the Yankees lineup since he joined the club in 2009. In the four seasons prior to 2013, Teixeira averaged 34 home runs and 106 RBI while anchoring the heart of the batting order.
In the field, his sparkling play (three Gold Glove awards) has given the team a leg up on its rivals in the AL East.
Unfortunately, this season was a lost cause before it began for Teixeira. While swinging a bat warming up for the World Baseball Classic, the first baseman injured the tendon sheath in his right wrist. As a result, he has managed to see action in just 15 games and now will have season-ending surgery to correct the issue.
Lyle Overbay, signed in March to fill in until Teixeira returned, is now the everyday fixture for 2013 unless the team can find an upgrade.
Overbay has had some key hits for the team, but he is a career .269 hitter and has never driven in 100 runs (his high is 92 RBI in 2006 with the Blue Jays). In the field, he lacks the range and quickness Teixeira brought to the table, but he is consistent (.996 fielding percentage) if nothing else.
So where does the team turn to upgrade?
In Chicago, the White Sox have Paul Konerko, who will be a free agent at the end of this season. At age 37, he may be in the twilight of his career, but in the previous three seasons he has hit .303 and averaged 32 HRs. Mired in last place in the AL Central division, the White Sox might be willing to trade the veteran (17 seasons) to a contender.
The Seattle Mariners are another club that could be sellers as the trade deadline approaches. Sitting in fourth place with a losing record in the AL West division, they have an overabundance of first basemen and would seem to be a perfect match for the Yankees in any potential deal.
With Kendrys Morales and Mike Morse both becoming free agents in 2014, now could be the time for the Mariners to use their stockpile in improving the club.
The signing of longtime Boston Red Sox star Kevin Youkilis in December was met with polarizing fanfare as diehard Yankees fans could not bring themselves to root for a player who for so long had been a key piece for their hated rivals.
They no longer have to worry about dividing interests within their favorite team. The announcement that Youkilis will be out 10-12 weeks after back surgery has virtually ensured an end to his stay in the Bronx.
For the time being, rookie David Adams (age 26) and utility man Jayson Nix have spent the majority of the time playing the hot corner for the Yankees.
Adams has shown brilliance in the field but his hitting is well below average. Nix has been only slightly better at the plate. Both have shown promise, but neither appears to be a long-term solution for 2013.
Is Alex Rodriguez's return the answer?
In his excitement over being cleared to resume baseball activities by a doctor not representing the club, A-Rod angered GM Brian Cashman by tweeting the news to his followers.
How far off Rodriguez is in returning to action remains to be seen.
In addition to his recovery, he may also need to deal with an impending suspension from MLB. With that hanging over his head, his productivity could be affected.
Do the Yankees look to deal with a team out of the running for a veteran player they can use for half a season?
Would it be worth their while to trade a prospect for someone like Placido Polanco (age 37) of the Miami Marlins? As a veteran of 16 years and a free agent in 2014, he is hitting below average with a sparkling fielding percentage. Does that really represent an upgrade to what they have?
The Dodgers (currently in last place in the NL West) have veterans Jerry Hairston Jr. (played in 45 games for the Yankees in 2009) and Juan Uribe at third base. Both are free agents in 2014, and Los Angeles might be willing to part with one or the other by the trade deadline.
The bottom line for the Yankees is that they can either roll with what they have and let Adams continue to develop at third base, or they can seek a temporary fix for 2013 by dealing for another aging veteran.
Joba Chamberlain is very quickly wearing out his welcome in the Bronx.
At the end of the 2012 regular season, Joba Chamberlain finished strong in going his last seven appearances without yielding a run or walk. It looked as though the Yankees wouldn't have to worry about the seventh-inning bridge to David Robertson and Mariano Rivera.
The Yankees now have to worry.
The year 2013 has been a far cry from the end of last season for Chamberlain. Joba isn't the only reason the Yankees' highly touted bullpen only ranks sixth in the American League in ERA, eighth in WHIP and 11th in holds.
What are the solutions for shoring up what was once the pride of the team?
Rather than look for deals before the deadline, the best solutions may lie within the house.
Rookie Preston Claiborne has been just slightly less than perfect since his first appearance with the big league club on May 5. While Adam Warren (age 25) has proven to be a long-relief specialist for the team.
It may be time for Girardi to trust the next generation of Yankees on the mound a little more as the team heads into the second half of the season.
It may also be time for the club to rid itself of the inconsistencies and off-field baggage that Chamberlain has brought over the past five years. It is time for the Yankees to explore getting whatever they can before the deadline for the troubled relief pitcher.
It may be what Chamberlain needs to resurrect his career, and it may also be just what the Yankees bullpen needs to turn the corner.
All statistics not directly referenced are courtesy of www.baseball-reference.com and MLB.com.