At baseball's halfway point, just 20 percent of the New York Yankees pitching staff remains since Opening Day. Common sense, emotion, statistics and sabermetrics would all tell you the Bombers are doomed with four of their five starters on the disabled list. FanGraphs gives New York just an 11.4 percent chance of making the playoffs.
But this isn't the AL East of your youth—or of even a few years ago.
Forget that the likes of David Phelps, Vidal Nuno, Chase Whitley and Shane Greene have all played some part in keeping New York somewhat alive: The Orioles lead the division with just a .553 winning percentage (52-42). For better or worse, the Yankees are a seemingly disinterested 43-43 ballclub, but they have much more than a simple heartbeat with only five games separating them from Baltimore and two wild-card spots up for grabs.
Besides the three months of baseball still left to play, the Yankees also have over two weeks with which to work until the July 31 trade deadline.
Whether you'd call the never-say-die, scrap, scrape and pay method the "Yankee Way" or the "Steinbrenner Way," it's really interchangeable. The point is: You'd struggle mightily to find the last time Yanks brass called it a season prior to their mathematical or concrete elimination.
As evidenced by new, underwhelming Yankee pitchers Brandon McCarthy and Jeff Francis—and with the coveted Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel off the market—there isn't a bevy of truly great starting options out there. There are even fewer for the Yankees, an organization without many marketable, or even desirable, prospects to offer. They do have cash, however, and that cash flow must be considered for baiting a team like the Phillies into a trade for one of its expensive, front-end starters.
While other notable positions of need haven't been completely discounted (infielder, right fielder, reliever), this breakdown of New York's top trade targets admittedly, and rationally, prioritizes the most viable starting pitchers who could help this team find its way to the postseason.
If there's one kicker for the ultimate decisions, it's that the top targets are those for whom Brian Cashman and the Steinbrenners wouldn't have to mortgage what could be the entire future of the ballclub (see: David Price, an unlikely target for division-rival New York, regardless of the package).
Yankees fans: Enjoy the mental break of the midsummer classic—the players aren't the only ones who need rest sometimes—and, for now, read on to get our take on six of the Yankees' top trade targets. Whether by way of stopgap solution or franchise face-lifter, Brian Cashman and company should be closely monitoring and targeting the following pitchers.