The New York Yankees may not have a steadfast role in this year's July 31 trade deadline in terms of being a buyer or a seller, but Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports (via Twitter) that the team is "aggressively shopping" both right-handed reliever Joba Chamberlain and right-handed starter Phil Hughes.
Rosenthal cites that Chamberlain could be shipped to a National League team "soon," but also stressed that the Yankees aren't yet close on anything.
Perhaps that National League team could be the Philadelphia Phillies (pure speculation on my part)? The Phillies have two pieces in Michael Young and Carlos Ruiz that would presumably be of interest to Yankees' general manager Brian Cashman, and swapping either for Chamberlain would give the Phils salary relief—not to mention a semi-viable arm out of the pen.
On the season, Chamberlain sports a 5.75 ERA over 20.1 innings and has been used sporadically by manager Joe Girardi as a result. He hasn't had great command (10 walks) and has been unable to keep the ball in the ballpark (four home runs allowed). His 1.77 WHIP is amongst the highest marks of all full-time relievers in baseball.
Hughes, on the other hand, is a name that seems surprising to some. Hughes will be a free agent come season's end, but the Yankees haven't exactly had the healthiest of pitching staffs this season. Relying on CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, David Phelps and Ivan Nova to stay healthy (and effective) after dealing Hughes could be a recipe for disaster.
Sure, Vidal Nuno has given the Yankees a few good innings this season, but he's young and shouldn't be relied upon.
Cashman is likely attempting to get something from Hughes before he walks, as he may not have plans to re-sign him after his contract is up. The San Francisco Giants (again, pure speculation here) could be in the market for another starter, and Hughes could be had for a few mid-level prospects.
Hughes has been his usual inconsistent self in 2013. He has been dominant on multiple occasions, but simply awful others. He boasts a 4.55 ERA and 4-8 record over 95 innings this season. His downfall this season has been his tendency to serve up the long ball. He's allowed 15 home runs already, though moving to a more spacious ballpark in San Francisco could help his cause.
How active the Yankees are at the trade deadline will hinge a ton on the next few weeks, but Cashman already seems poised to make a move or two. It's obvious that Cashman has no intentions to retain either Chamberlain or Hughes after this season given his willingness to deal them away now, so don't be surprised if both players are gone before July 31.