Coming into the 2011 season, many questioned whether the New York Yankees would have enough starting pitching to be considered a serious contender. With nearly a third of the season in the rear-view mirror, the Yankees occupy a familiar spot at the top of the American League East, but their journey there has been foreign.
Although they have scored an American League leading 264 runs, the Yanks have endured struggles from their usual anchors, Derek Jeter (.259 BA) and Jorge Posada (.159 BA). Mariano Rivera has also blown three saves. In addition, Alex Rodriguez (.277 BA) has struggled periodically, and his average has dipped as a result. For all of the home runs the Yankees have been able to produce (80), they do not have a single starter batting .300 this season.
The great surprise of the 2011 season has been that the Yankees have been saved by their perceived weakness: the back end of their rotation. Between Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia and Ivan Nova, the Yankees have 10 wins this season, and both Colon and Garcia boast 3.26 ERAs.
The strange irony of the Yankees' season this year, then, is that if they want to return to the playoffs, they are going to need another starting pitcher, not another bat. As good as Colon, Garcia and Nova have been, they have also been spotty at times and the Yankees are going to need at least one more reliable arm if they are going to have any success in the playoffs. With 264 runs scored, its clear that the Yankees can generate offense (even if it is only with the home run). So they need to start thinking hard about dealing some of their offensive players who are having unusually good seasons in order to get defensive value.
With all that in mind, here are five players Yankee fans should keep in mind looking forward to the trade deadline.
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