Grading the New York Yankees' Trade Deadline Performance
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The New York Yankees are a team that has suffered through continuous injury and performance disappointments this season, but after the MLB trade deadline had come and gone, the best evaluation of what the Yankees accomplished on the open market is to call it "incomplete".
The holes in the Bombers' order are obvious.
The heart of the lineup has consisted of some combination of a player who was initially signed to add depth to the outfield in Vernon Wells along with injury-prone left-handed designated hitter Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay, another player intended for depth at first base.
While the three have occasionally come up with big hits this season, they rank near the bottom of Major League Baseball in hitting from the fourth and fifth spots in the order. The Yankees rank 28th overall at the fourth position and 30th at the fifth position in the lineup.
The deal, combined with the return of Derek Jeter, gave manager Joe Girardi flexibility in being able to move a more consistent and powerful bat into the middle of the lineup.
The results are already noticeable as Soriano is batting .286 from the cleanup spot after the Overbay/Wells/Hafner experiment combined to hit .237.
The Yankees may have addressed one of their issues with the acquisition of "Fonzie", but they are a far cry from plugging all of their holes.
New York's lack of activity at the trade deadline seems to indicate that GM Brian Cashman is willing to roll the dice with players from within the organization as the last two months of the season unfold.
Outfielder Curtis Granderson could return from his second stint on the DL for the upcoming weekend series with San Diego. That would add even more potency in the heart of the order and provide a valuable left-handed bat to Girardi's arsenal. It will also give him more options in the outfield.
The Yankees' starting pitchers have ranked in the middle of the pack this season with a 3.97 ERA and a 39-41 record. Inconsistent performance from CC Sabathia (9-9, 4.65 ERA) and Phil Hughes (4-9, 4.58 ERA) have held the team back from efforts to gain ground in the AL East. Should the Yankees want to make a change, David Phelps is nearly ready to return and Michael Pineda certainly is another option waiting for his shot at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
At catcher, Chris Stewart has performed admirably while his counterpart, Francisco Cervelli (originally the Yankees starting backstop), has missed a majority of the season with a broken hand followed by a stress reaction in his elbow. Now it appears that Cervelli is involved with the Biogenesis scandal and could be suspended by MLB.
Stewart has slipped at the plate, perhaps the result of playing more games this season than in any other year of his career and hit just .148 in July. Backup Austin Romine may see an increase in his workload if that continues.
The dark cloud that hovers over the Yankees remains at third base where the Alex Rodriguez soap opera has been documented ad nauseam.
The team cannot count on "A-Rod" playing for them this season. They had hoped to get production from Kevin Youkilis, but that plan quickly dissipated with a back injury to the veteran. Since "Youk" left the lineup, Girardi has tried Jayson Nix, Chris Nelson, David Adams, Brent Lillibridge, Luis Cruz and Alberto Gonzalez at the "hot corner".
They have collectively hit .176.
Unless the Yankees can find a suitable answer at third base, get better consistency in their starting rotation and find a way to get improved performance from their catchers, a stretch run into October may be out of their reach.
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