Although they traded for almost half of a new roster last month, the New York Yankees still find themselves six games behind Baltimore for first place in the American League East.
The new kids in stripes – pitchers Brandon McCarthy, Chris Capuano and Jeff Francis, third baseman Chase Headley, shortstop Stephen Drew and infielder Martin Prado – have done well for the Yanks so far, but they still need solid help as we get into the home stretch of the season, primarily in the bullpen and in the outfield.
Outside of Shawn Kelley, Dellin Betances and David Robertson, the Yankees bullpen has seen more ups and downs than that new roller coaster in Coney Island.
Adam Warren has struggled coming out of the pen, allowing four runs in his last four appearances (2.2 IP) with just one strikeout. He only allowed two runs in the six previous appearances before the downfall began on July 29th. Chase Whitley has allowed five runs on just four hits in his last three outings, going just 2 2/3 innings and Matt Daley, who took the loss Tuesday night in extra innings against Detroit, has allowed a run in each of his last four appearances.
Meanwhile, it’s time for general manager Brian Cashman to address the depth of his bullpen, along with his outfield.
Injuries have held Carlos Beltran to just 79 games this year (.248, 13 HR, 40 RBI), forcing Ichiro to play 97 games this year, probably 20 more games than he’s expected to play in at this point of the season.
That’s not to say that Ichiro can’t handle the job anymore. He’s hit .271 for the Yanks in those 97 games with one homer and 14 RBI, however his consistent bat that has got him over 4,000 hits professionally between here and Japan is starting to fade away not because of talent, but because of the lack of energy.
We’ve seen earlier in the season that the Yankees minor leaguers aren’t necessarily ready to make the jump yet, even though they’ve given them the spark they’ve needed at times. Zelous Wheeler homered in his first career big league at-bat at Minnesota on July 3, however only recorded one more home run a week after and just six more hits after his big league debut.
Third baseman Yangervis Solarte had a hot start to the season, making the Yankees fans and the front office thinking they may have their third baseman of the future. After starting the year with a .303 batting average, Solarte saw that average drop to .296 in May and then plummet to .164 in June, leading to his departure to San Diego in July in the Chase Headley trade.
Cashman told MLB.com’s Jake Kring-Schreifels that he’s “open to anything that makes [the Yankees] better.”
“We’ve been mixing and matching all year, and that’s not going to stop,” he said. “I’m not going to predict what’s happening tomorrow. I knew at some point today we were going to make that move on (Matt) Thornton. If you had asked me three days ago, that wasn’t on the horizon yet. So we’ll see.”
On Tuesday Cashman waived the Yankees left-handed specialist Matt Thornton (0-3, 2.55 ERA, 20 K, .247 BAA in 46 games with NYY), who was picked up by the Washington Nationals, saving the Yankees about $1 million in 2014 salary and $3.5 million in 2015 salary.
Thornton move saves #Yankees about $4.5M. Rest of ’14 salary, plus $3.5M in ’15. NYY working on other things, could redirect money.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 5, 2014
While Cashman saves a total of $4.5 million in salary in letting Thornton go, where Cashman decides to put that has yet to be seen, or rumored to be seen, but expect the Yankees to make one or maybe two moves before the end of August as the Yankees look to climb their way into the postseason. It will be hard for Cashman to make a move since, according to Newsday’s David Lennon, nobody wants to trade their big players to the Yankees.
All they have to do is get hot at the right time to make the playoffs and go for their 28th franchise World Series title. All Cashman has to do is address both of his needs to make it happen.