The Yankees were among the busiest teams at the trade deadline yesterday, significantly changing their roster in hopes of another World Series title.
Each new player coming in will have a role to play, while the players they're replacing will move on to different things themselves.
Lance Berkman was the biggest piece to drop into place for the Yankees this year, arriving from Houston for reliever Mark Melancon and infielder Jimmy Paredes.
Berkman will fill the void left at DH by the perpetually injured Nick Johnson.
The Yankees value on-base skills from the No. 2 spot in their lineup, and Berkman certainly possesses those.
Even in what some term a "down" year, Berkman had posted a more than respectable .372 on-base percentage in 85 games for Houston this year.
His slugging percentage is down over 100 points this year from his career average, but if he continues to get on base in front of the Yankees sluggers, he'll have done his job and the Yankee lineup will be that much deeper.
Considering the relative low cost in prospects, the Berkman deal could turn out to be an absolute steal for the Yankees.
With Joe Girardi becoming increasingly uncomfortable playing Marcus Thames in the field, the Yankees knew they needed to find a player that could hit left-handed pitching and hold his own defensively.
Enter Austin Kearns, who has by no means been phenomenal this season, but has been more than adequate.
His bat has cooled somewhat after a blistering April, but still holds a respectable .272/.354/.491 triple slash line. Strangely enough, he's been more productive against right-handed pitching than he has left-handed pitching.
He'll be asked to start some games against tough left-handed pitchers when Curtis Granderson or Brett Gardner needs a day off. He can start in either corner outfield spot and will also see some time at designated hitter.
Acquired for a player to be named later or cash considerations, Kearns came very cheap and his track record and performance this year make him an upgrade over Colin Curtis.
Given the inconsistency of Joba Chamberlain, the ineffectiveness of Chan Ho Park and the injuries to Damaso Marte and Al Aceves, the Yankees needed another arm in their bullpen.
After exploring options like Joakim Soria and Scott Downs and determining that the cost was prohibitive, the Yankees settled on Indians closer and former Cubs phenom, Kerry Wood.
Wood will be thrown into the mix for late inning assignments along with Chamberlain and David Robertson. Wood has suffered through two separate stints on the disabled list this year and hasn't posted numbers reflective of the 2-year, $20 million deal he signed a year and a half ago.
Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman believe that Wood's stuff is still as electric as ever and that they can harness that raw ability into an effective late-inning reliever. If they can do that, the bridge to Mariano Rivera becomes that much stronger and the Yankees become that much more formidable.
Juan Miranda was optioned to Triple-A Scranton to make room for Lance Berkman, but not for good. Miranda demonstrated impressive raw power at times that impressed Yankee brass.
He's a decent enough defender at first base, and will take his hacks in the minors and remain as injury insurance until a September call-up comes his way. Miranda has always had a strong bat, but the Yankees have never had much use for him.
Curtis, like Miranda made his way back to Triple-A when the Yankees acquired a veteran replacement. With the arrival of Austin Kearns, Curtis was momentarily expendable.
He certainly impressed in his short time in New York, putting together quality at-bats and coming through with some big hits for the Yankees.
He'll get regular at bats down on the farm until rosters expand in September. He's never been a tremendously gifted offensive player, but put up nice numbers in the Arizona Fall League last year and seems to be building himself up as a possible major league contributor.
The Yankees raved about their newest offseason free agent acquisition, having signed him away from their World Series opponents. Brian Cashman loved his stuff and demeanor and was ready to see him bring his talents to the Big Apple.
Unfortunately, Park got off on the wrong foot and never righted himself. He took the loss on Opening Night, surrendering three runs to Boston and never got his ERA below 4.76 as a Yankee. He allowed runs in thirteen of his twenty-seven appearances and had one infamous bout with diarrhea.
The Yankees needed a spot on their 25-man roster and their 40-man roster for newly acquired Kerry Wood, so they designated Chan Ho for assignment. They've got ten days to work out a trade for him, but all signs point to his outright release.
With relief pitching at a premium, Park is sure to catch on somewhere, most likely back in the NL where he's experienced most of his success.