The New York Yankees finished the weekend taking three of four games from the Kansas City Royals.
The Yankees continue to lead the majors, and the AL East, with a 62-35 record.
The Tampa Bay Rays are just three games behind, which leaves little room for error. The ailing Boston Red Sox trail by eight and better not make the gap any bigger.
This scenario dictates nothing except that the Yankees are playing very good baseball right now.
Still, the Yankees recently lost pitcher Andy Pettitte for four to six weeks. Along with a struggling group of middle relievers, this is not an October-ready team.
Without Pettitte, losing out on pitcher Cliff Lee, due to being given the run around by the Seattle Mariners, stings even more.
Leave all the talk swarming around Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Dan Haren coming to the Yankees. That too is now over, with Haren going to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim because the Yankees said no when Joba Chamberlain became part of the deal.
That is the second time the Yankees name was in the mix to spark a bidding war amongst suitors.
So, what remain are Houston Astros Roy Oswalt and Chicago Cubs Ted Lilly. They are the only two creditable starters left before the July 31 trade deadline.
Oswalt has made it clear he wants to play for the St. Louis Cardinals. Also, teams will hesitate with Oswalt’s salary in 2010 having more than $5 million left, plus $16 million for next year, and he refuses to let go his $16 million option for 2012. I'm pretty sure most teams will pass and positive the Yankees already did.
Next up is Cubs and former Yankee pitcher Ted Lilly, who is in the final year of his contract and is owed around $5 million. That has a lot more appeal, but still Lilly’s value is hindered playing on the crappy Cubs. It would seem Lilly is better off staying in the NL, as his career stats indicate better success. Lilly is not the answer for the Yankees; we don’t need another Vazquez mess coming from the NL.
This doesn’t leave much, making this team far seem from perfect.
The idea behind obtaining a starter works because it takes pressure off CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Javier Vazquez, until Pettitte gets back.
Also, according to skipper Joe Girardi and GM Brian Cashman, Phil Hughes's 170 +/- innings limit is mandatory, so he is bullpen bound no matter what. This idea is fine with me, but if Pettitte is still on DL when the time comes it could be an issue.
My suggestion would be to grab Astros pitcher Brett Myers, who is an innings eater and has had success in the bullpen as well. Myers is cheaper, with $3.1 million for 2010, and his numbers are comparable to Oswalt’s this season. Myers has a 2-0 record, with a 1.88 ERA and 19 strikeouts in his four July starts.
With series coming up against the Rays and Red Sox, the reigning champs cannot still believe that Sergio Mitre is going to be the answer. Girardi cannot seem to let go of the fact the Mitre sucks, just like 2009.
The only way to consider Mitre as the choice until Pettitte is active again, is if they have a pitcher like Myers who can go in the fourth or fifth inning and pitch a couple of innings.
This could work out perfectly and something has to be, or else Chan-ho Park and Joba Chamberlain will continue to lose games in the eighth inning.
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