Through 100 games in 2011, the New York Yankees sit at a more-than-respectable 60-40.
As always, the Bronx Bombers have steadily handled the opposition with their big-stick policy and are right in the thick of the AL East race.
But I'm sure every Yankee fan would attest that this current roster doesn't have that "pop."
Although they sit 20 games over .500, this team doesn't scream out "World Series" to a lot of fans: The offense, although highly productive, comes up stale at times; the pitching rotation seems to good to be true thus far; and the bullpen continuously suffers from injuries to big-name arms.
So with every sports fan's favorite trade deadline approaching, the Yankees should be ready to be—well, the Yankees.
In order for the Bombers to compete with the Red Sox and possibly the Phillies or Giants in the Fall Classic, they need to make some moves. They could be major, they could be minor, but there needs to be some sort of shakeup.
Here's a list of the top 10 trade targets the Yankees should and/or could acquire.
When the Yankees were shunned by Cliff Lee and Andy Pettitte, they were left in a foggy situation.
Besides CC Sabathia, the Yanks had all kinds of question marks surrounding their starting pitching: AJ Burnett, Phil Hughes, and who their 4th and 5th starters would be.
Oddly enough, the front office brought in Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia to contend for a rotation spot. It turned out both veterans earned their respective spots and have been nothing less than impressive through the team's first 100 games.
However, there are still some doubts about the duo's ability to reprise their careers.
And being that Colon and Garcia have histories of inconsistent play, it'll be difficult for Joe Girardi to hand them the ball in big playoff spots.
Trading for Ubaldo Jimenez would solidify the rotation as one to be reckoned with come playoff time.
Sure, he's been on a roller-coaster ride this season, but there's no doubt that the righty has flat-out dominant stuff.
When Ubaldo is on, Ubaldo is ON.
Rumors of a potential deal have been up and down. The Rockies reportedly asked for a handful of the Yankees' best prospects, including Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos, and Dellin Betances.
At first sight, that deal does not look too appealing to Cashman and the Yanks. In fact, it's extremely unlikely the Yankees would send all three of them for Ubaldo.
So I wouldn't bank on seeing Jimenez toe the rubber in the Bronx quite yet.
Out of all the starters on this list, Kuroda seems like the most likely option for the Yankees.
Why? Because all the factors are there:
- His current team is going to be watching the postseason from home.
- His current team will be willing to shed any type of salary, especially since they're going under.
- He's good enough to pitch for any contender in the postseason.
From a Yankee fan's point of view, this may not be the sexiest acquisition out there—they are often spoiled by bigger names.
But Kuroda could end up as a much more reliable alternative to the struggling Phil Hughes or the oh-so unpredictable Bartolo Colon.
It may not seem like a huge deal, but the Yankees boast a righty-dominated rotation. They have Burnett, Hughes, Colon, and Garcia as their right-handers, and CC Sabathia as their lone southpaw.
Wouldn't the Yanks' pitching situation seem a lot better with another lefty involved?
I think so.
Especially when the Yankees have to face Boston's cavalry of left-handed bats come crunch time.
And just like Hiroki Kuroda, all the trade factors are there: The Astros aren't making the playoffs, they don't need to carry Wandy's salary, and he could be very useful to any contender down the road.
Before the first pitch of the 2011 was thrown, speculation about the Yankees' possibly landing Francisco Liriano was already looming.
Many fans may ask, "Why Liriano? He's so inconsistent."
Well, despite his ups and downs (mostly downs), Liriano does have some value for the Yanks.
For one, he's a left-hander. Just like Wandy Rodriguez, Liriano could provide some variety to the righty-dominated rotation.
And secondly, Liriano did and has shown some flash. Everyone remembers his 2006 campaign, in which he went 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA. Plus, he has displayed some no-hit stuff on more than one occasion this season.
It's been a while since we've seen the next-Johan side of Liriano, but it could come back with some work with pitching coach Larry Rothschild.
Not much to go over here... just another veteran arm that'll be available for any contender come the 31st.
The Cubs aren't going anywhere, Dempster hasn't been exactly content in his situation, and the Yankees could use another reliable arm in their rotation come playoff time.
How does this look: Mariano Rivera, Rafael Soriano, David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain, Damaso Marte, Boone Logan, Pedro Feliciano?
Now, how about this: Mariano Rivera, David Robertson, Boone Logan, Luis Ayala, Steve Garrison, Hector Noesi, Cory Wade?
I think everyone can agree that the first bunch is much better than the second one.
But unfortunately for the Yankees, they're stuck with the second one right now. They have lost Soriano, Chamberlain, Marte, and Feliciano to injury and were forced to bring up younger and less-talented arms.
Joba, Marte, and Feliciano are all lost for the season while Soriano remains a huge question mark in terms of his ability off of his injury.
Acquiring Heath Bell would be a monstrous move for the Yanks. It would mean Girardi could turn to two of the game's best closers and still have Robertson and Soriano available.
The only downside of Heath Bell's coming over to the Bronx would be the payoff to San Diego. Do the Yankees realy want to trade top prospects for a guy who may not re-sign after the season?
This 6'5" reliever is atop of many contenders' wish lists, including that of the Yankees.
"Why," you ask?
Because Adams has been nothing short of stellar in his seven-year career.
With the exception of his two-appearance season in 2006, Adams has never failed to post an earned run average under 3.41. In fact, his ERA is steadily improving with each campaign:
2004: 3.40 ERA
2005: 2.70 ERA
2006: 11.57 ERA (Two appearances)
2007: DNP due to injury
2008: 2.48 ERA
2009: 0.73 ERA
2010: 1.76 ERA
2011: 1.17 ERA
However, Adams is becoming less available by the day. Padres Owner Jeff Moorad has reportedly told the reliever that he will not be traded.
Only time will tell if this is true or not.
In order to win games in the American League East, you need lefty specialists in your bullpen.
That's especially the case for the Yankees, being that their arch rival carries guys like Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz, and Carl Crawford on its roster.
Prior to the 2011 season, the Yanks bulked up their lefty arsenal by adding Pedro Feliciano to the mix alongside Boone Logan and Damaso Marte.
Unfortunately, Marte and Feliciano have been lost to major injuries, leaving Boone as the only left-hander in the bullpen. (The team currently carries another LHP in Steve Garrison, but he was just called up on July 19th for the first time in his career.)
Trading for Sean Burnett would be a wise investment for the Yankees.
Sure, he isn't the top of the heap as far as relief pitchers are concerned, but the prospect of acquiring a decent lefty arm for a low price is too appealing.
Just like Sean Burnett, Randy Choate would provide Girardi's bullpen with a much-needed lefty.
But unlike Sean Burnett, Randy Choate is a more trustworthy option.
The former Yankee Choate boasts a minuscule 1.31 ERA in 47 appearances this season. And although he has pitched only 20.1 innings in those 47 appearances, Choate has done his job night in and night out against some of the toughest lefty hitters in baseball.
Acquiring Aramis Ramirez makes all the sense in the world for Cashman and the Yanks.
With A-Rod out until mid-August and the Red Sox clicking on all cylinders, having Ramirez would give the team a good ol' shot in the arm.
Although inconsistent at times, the third baseman carries a dangerous bat and is more than capable of handling the hot corner on defense.
The Yankees would have to eat some of Ramirez's salary, but trading an average prospect for him is well worth the low risk factor.
Plus, Ramirez is a more reliable option at third than youngsters Eduardo Nunez and Brandon Laird. Nunez is much too raw in the field, and Laird is much too inexperienced to put the onus on. (It's also tough to depend on Eric Chavez given his extensive injury history.)
Aramis could give A-Rod some extra time to fully recover and eventually fill in as the team's DH or as an extra bat off the bench.
A little more offense never hurts.
Felix Hernandez, SP, Seattle Mariners
Yankees are still on his no-trade list, but could remain in play with Jesus Montero on the table. After all, they almost acquired Cliff Lee with Montero as the centerpiece.
Carlos Zambrano, SP, Chicago Cubs
Yankees never had great interest, but Big Z will always be available.
Erik Bedard, SP, Seattle Mariners
Injury woes may be too risky.
Joakim Soria, RP, Kansas City Royals
Would have to trade Montero for Soria, but Royals are not convinced the catcher is reliable defensively.
Brian Fuentes, RP, Oakland Athletics
He can easily be acquired but hasn't been consistent in a while.
Mike Gonzalez, RP, Baltimore Orioles
Another guy that is easy to trade for, but isn't reliable.
Alfonso Soriano, LF, Chicago Cubs
Do the Yanks want to take a fat contract for an occasional DH/OF? Hard to "yes."