Yankees: 3 Holes New York Must Address at the Deadline
With the All-Star break over and done with, the New York Yankees find themselves with a .500 record and in third place in the American League East as the second half of the season gets underway. Somehow, New York is within striking distance of a playoff spot, but it will need to make some changes come the trade deadline if it is to have any hope of being a true contender.
If not for Derek Jeter's farewell tour, this season would have already been one to forget.
After spending an absurd amount of money last offseason, the Yankees have little to show for it. The team's play has been lackluster. The starting rotation has been decimated by injuries. The lineup has performed well below expectations, putting up lamentable numbers. The team is old and in need of some new blood as well, even if such a player does not impact the pennant race.
With the July 31 trade deadline fast approaching, these are areas that the New York Yankees need to improve upon.
1. The Rotation
If you are a starting pitcher for the New York Yankees, chances are you are on the disabled list.
Heading into the season, the rotation consisted of CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova, Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda. Since then, a lot has changed.
Nova was the first to go down when it was discovered he would need season-ending Tommy John surgery. Pineda, in the midst of a suspension, got hurt and has had setback after setback. Sabathia is for all intents and purposes done for the year. Tanaka became the team's ace, the one ray of hope, before a partial tear to his ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) sidelined him for a minimum of six weeks and put him at risk of Tommy John surgery.
Now, only Kuroda remains.
In the meantime, the Yankees have relied on the likes of David Phelps, Vidal Nuno, Chase Whitley and Shane Greene to fill in. Veterans Brandon McCarthy and Jeff Francis were picked up, but the two are back-of-the-rotation starters at best. Only five games out of first place, the Yankees are still in this race, but they will need some more established arms.
The question is: Who? Starting pitching comes at a premium, and the Yankees unfortunately posses few premium prospects. One asset New York does have is money, an asset that Fox Sports' Jon Morosi says the team should use in an attempt to acquire Cole Hamels from the Phillies. Hamels is due to make $96 million over the next four years, money that a Philadelphia team in need of a rebuild would love to shed.
Another option out of the City of Brotherly Love would be Cliff Lee, a pitcher the Yankees have gone after numerous times. He has about $50 million left on his deal but will not be off the DL until July 21. He should make two starts before the deadline and would likely come cheaper than his teammate thanks to his age and injury concerns.
Cheaper and less risky options for the Yankees could include former Bronx Bombers Ian Kennedy, A.J. Burnett and Bartolo Colon, as well as the Rockies' Jorge De La Rosa.
2. The Lineup
On paper, New York's lineup is loaded with star-caliber players and a few future Hall of Famers. In reality, that all means nothing.
The lineup has performed miserably up to this point in the season, as the Yankees are 22nd in runs scored and 23rd in run differential. Not exactly what the baseball world expected after the Yanks added Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran to an already deep lineup this past winter.
While several players are failing to produce at the plate, most of the blame falls on Beltran, McCann and Brian Roberts.
McCann, who was expected to be a threat in the middle of the order, is batting just .239 with 10 home runs and 39 RBI. Beltran, who is currently on the seven-day concussion DL, has been worse. He is batting just above the Mendoza Line and has yet to crack double-digit home runs or 30 RBI. Roberts, despite staying healthy (a miracle in itself) owns a .240 average, five home runs and 20 RBI.
Come the deadline, the Bombers should look to upgrade at second or third base, and if they can, find a hitter who can handle outfield and designated hitter duties. The Arizona Diamondbacks have Aaron Hill and the versatile Martin Prado. The San Diego Padres could trade away Chase Headley and Seth Smith, although Headley could come at a steep price. The Twins could make the powerful Josh Willingham and Brian Dozier available.
These players, amongst others, are ones the Yankees need to consider in an attempt to upgrade their offense.
The final problem New York should look to address is the age issue. The Yankees are an old team—the oldest in baseball, according to ESPN. With an average player age of of 31 years old, the Bombers lead all of Major League Baseball.
The Captain, Derek Jeter, leads his team of fellow veterans at age 40, but he already announced his retirement and will hang up his spikes for good at the end of the year. Other players on the roster over 35 include Roberts, Beltran, Kuroda and Ichiro Suzuki.
The Yankees have a very thin farm system to work with. Greene, Phelps, Whitley, Yangervis Solarte, Adam Warren, John Ryan Murphy and Dellin Betances have all played a helping hand this season after rising through the ranks, but the Yankees will need more youth going forward. If the opportunity to acquire some younger players at the deadline presents itself, the Yankees need to jump on it, even if the players involved don't necessarily impact this current season.
The Chicago Cubs have a plethora of highly regarded minor league infielders that the Yankees have already expressed interest in. The Arizona Diamondbacks may look to move shortstop Didi Gregorius, another potential target for New York. The same goes for Seattle Mariners infielder Nick Franklin. The point is, the Yankees have few promising players waiting in the wings, so an attempt to add some younger players would be welcomed.
One internal option New York has is 2B/OF Rob Refsnyder, who is batting .333 with 12 home runs and 46 RBI between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season.
All stats were obtained via Baseball-Reference unless otherwise noted.
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