Given the state of the New York Yankees this season, it's only natural that fans speculate on what opportunities may lay on the horizon in the form of trades. Which of those is realistic or pure fantasy is left for time to decide.
Plagued with injuries and setbacks in rehab assignments, the Yankees have used a patchwork lineup while trying to keep pace in the AL East. GM Brian Cashman has remained active in his attempts to plug holes whenever possible, acquiring players like Brennan Boesch, Brent Lillibridge and Luis Cruz to name a few.
With the trade deadline looming and a heart of the order that ranks among the worst in baseball (the fourth and fifth hitters in the lineup are batting a combined .202), Cashman may have no choice but to swing some deals to keep the team in contention.
Three rumors swirling around are:
- FACT - As George King III reports in the New York Post, the Yankees are close to bringing back old favorite Alfonso Soriano. King writes that the team is looking for a deal similar to the one they used to acquire Vernon Wells, where the club will pick up what is remaining for this season on his contract and the Cubs will pay the rest ($18 million for next season). In exchange the "Bombers" will give Chicago a mid-level prospect.
- FICTION - It had been reported that the Yankees were interested in the Phillies' Michael Young. Given the struggles of David Adams (.190 average), Kevin Youkilis (injured and hitting .219) and Luis Cruz (.182) the deal certainly would make sense. It would provide the team with a solid, professional hitter capable of playing multiple infield positions. Unfortunately, the Phillies are in contention in the NL East Division (second place, seven games behind the Atlanta Braves) and have told the Yankees that Young is not available in a trade.
- FACT/FICTION? - Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that Jake Peavy of the Chicago White Sox may actually be a coveted pitcher on this year's trade market. Ken Rosenthal tweeted that several teams, including the Yankees, had scouts in attendance for Peavy's July 20 start. Even though New York's scout was there as part of normal coverage, one can't help but wonder about the team's interest in acquiring a proven, veteran starter who would give a boost to the rotation. Inconsistency has plagued starters CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and Andy Pettitte, and even though it would be unlikely that either Sabathia or Pettitte would be replaced in the starting five, Hughes' continued struggles open a window to bringing in a more stable starter.
The fact is that the New York Yankees need to make some changes if they want to be a playoff participant this October.
They are a team that ranked second in runs scored in 2012, but now are 22nd in MLB for that category. Clearly the injuries have taken their toll and the replacements for the lost players aren't easing the pressure on the starting pitchers, who feel as if they have to perform at nearly perfect levels to scratch out wins.
The return of some of their injured stars will help but making some changes before the trade deadline can only further enhance their push to postseason.
Any unreferenced statistics courtesy of MLB.Com.