Even when they said that they would be keeping their wallets shut tight for the winter in order to get under the $189 million luxury tax threshold, the Yankees went against their own word and showed a large desire to win by inventing almost $500 million over the next seven years on free-agents such as Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, and most notably, Masahiro Tanaka.
However, while those offseason additions have been working out very well, for the most part, it's been the pieces that were already under contract that the Yankees have had problems with.
CC Sabathia's season got off to a rough start, and now he finds himself on the disabled list with some concerning knee problems. Ivan Nova had to undergo Tommy John Surgery and is out for the rest of the season. Michael Pineda was pitching well before he was suspended for 10 games then got hurt during that suspension. And Hiroki Kuroda hasn't quite shown that he'll be consistent this season.
Overall, the Yankees' starting rotation -- with the lone exception of Masahiro Tanaka, who has probably been the best pitcher in the league this season -- is a mess.
With three of their five starters on the DL, Vidal Nuno and David Phelps are now in the rotation, and youngster Chase Whitley is making his Major League debut tonight. Nuno was hit hard by the Mets on Monday, and that might not be the last time someone knows him around, and with Phelps, his biggest problem is being able to stay consistent.
With all of that concern there, the Yankees now have a clear need to go onto the trade market to bring in some help, because there isn't any the bring up from the minors.
Speaking to the NY Post recently, Yankees managing partner Hal Steinbrenner said that he is willing to shell out the cash in order to build the rotation into better shape.
“Always willing to look at options come July, come the trade deadline,” Steinbrenner said. “And I think we’ve shown that. Some years we’ve done stuff like last year with [Alfonso] Soriano. Some years we haven’t. But we’re not going to ever lay down and die. We’re going to do what we need to do to stay in.”
The Yankees, though, would still need to trade chips to send to other teams. For the time being, the Yankees really don't have any top prospects worth trading, without draining the farm system to ship others away, too.
Pitchers are starting to become very, very expensive on both the trade market and in free-agency. Michael Ket mentioned on the YES broadcast in Milwaukee that Matt Garza is a career .500 pitcher, and still got $50 million from the Brewers this past winter. That's insane.
Also, it seems like every other week a team's top pitcher is going down with baseball's plague, Tommy John -- see: Nova. So with that, team's are starting to value their starting pitchers more often, making it tough to make trade for, because, as is the case with the Yankees, you can never have too much starting pitching depth.
The NY Post threw out names like the Phillies' Cliff Lee, who the Yankees have been going after for years, the Cubs’ Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel and Arizona’s Bronson Arroyo. Two of those guys, Hammel and Arroyo, jsut signed with their current teams this season, and Samardzija figures to be hella expensive.
I don't know; this ealry in the season it might be too hard to find a starting pitcher on the trade market without having to overpay for him, but if the big guys upstairs, like Hal, are will to do what it takes to make the moves to improve the club, then I'm on board.
If only Tanaka could pitch every game. They'd never lose!