Baseball officials often say they like to break the season down into one- thirds. The first third is to evaluate your team’s strengths and weaknesses. The middle third is to look for solutions to your problems and to make changes – and the final third is to make a push with the new/improved team you’ve assembled. The Yankees are in that middle phase now and have gone through a lot in the season so far. They struggled for the first 42 games and had a .500 record on May 21st. They then went on an amazing 20-4 run that just ended with back to back losses to Atlanta. Now that we’ve seen their worst and their best baseball, I think it’s a good time to evaluate what this team needs to make a push for their 28th Championship.
The pen has been their strong point all season. Even after surviving the loss of 2 All-Stars in Mariano Rivera and David Robertson they still have kept it together. They are 3rd in MLB in bullpen ERA with a 2.73 mark and have blown a league-low 4 saves in 24 opportunities. With Rafael Soriano looking comfortable in the Closer’s role and Robertson returning healthy, the Yankee bullpen is set. Boone Logan & Clay Rapada have been absolutely excellent vs LH hitters and Cody Eppley and Cory Wade are serviceable in their roles. There may even be a chance that Joba and/or David Aardsma come back at some point this year so there is no need for them to look outside of the organization for relief help.
The starters have been pitching tremendously in June and on the season they are 5th in the A.L. with a 4.14 ERA. The one disturbing trend is that they lead all of baseball in HRs allowed with 65 and are 27th overall in opposing hitters OPS at .780. However, all the starters are pitching better as of late and right now the top 3 of C.C., Andy Pettitte & Ivan Nova look pretty strong. Kuroda is solid as a #4 and Hughes is OK as the #5 man. So the question is, can anyone out there help them? Read the rest of this entry
Here I will recap any rumors that have occured throughout today, and I will update it as more come. Remember, this is all starting to boil up, as the deadline is tomorrow at 4PM EST. Any updates will be made at the top of the current list of rumors.
— UPDATE, 7:50PM: And now Ubaldo is off the market. Troy Renck reports that a deal in which Jimenez would be traded to the Indians is just about done. Jimenez has been scratched from tonight’s start. Indians’ prospects, Pomeranz, Matt McBride, and Alex White have all been scratched. Joel Sherman says the Yankees took all their top prospects off the table and offered Phil Hughes, plus, and the Rockies were infuriated.
— UPDATE, 6:57PM: Well you can cross off 2 more pitchers from the remaining trade market. Hiroki Kuroda reportedly told the Dodgers he will not waive his no-trade clause and will remain in Los Angeles. Also, Jason Marquis has been traded by Washington to the D-Backs. Not that Marquis would be the answer to the Yankees pitching needs anyway.
— UPDATE, 6:30PM: Jon Heyman says the Yankees have called the Twins about Francisco Liriano, but were old he is not going to be traded.
— Joel Sherman believes that the White Sox have really fallen “out of love with (Matt) Thornton”. They would “love” to move the $13MM owed to Thornton from ’12-’13. Reportedly, the Yankees have been watching the left-hander closely.
— According to Yahoo’s Tim Brown, the Yanks have inquired upon Twins outfielder Denard Span, who the Nationals have strong interest in. He says that it “could be part of something bigger.” Meanwhile, Joel Sherman says the Yanks could potentially have the intention to trade for Span, and then flip him over to Washington for reliever Tyler Clippard. Sherman adds that Clippard is very good against left-handed batters (.181 BAA).
— ESPN’s Jim Bowden lists the teams involved in the Heath Bell sweepstakes, and says the Yankees are one team who is kicking the tires. I doubt they have much interest in trading for Bell though, as the price would presumably be pretty high. However, Joel Sherman notes that one of New York’s most trusted scouts, Bill Livesey is scouting the Padres’ relievers.
— Tim Kurkjian of ESPN says “Source said ‘someone who should know told me that the Yankees are all over Ubaldo Jimenez.'” This only validates the Yankees interest in Jimenez as a pitcher. However, they are not interested in paying the Rockies’ high price for Jimenez.
— SI.com’s Jon Heyman reports that the Rockies asking price has indeed dropped a tad today. Instead of the Rockies asking for Nova, Betances, Banuelos, and Montero, they are “only” asking for Nova, Betances, and Montero. (note quotation marks) To me, that is still high, for what the Yankees don’t know is a “sure thing”.
— The Rockies will have a scout watching Ivan Nova make his start versus the Orioles tonight.
— Heyman also reports that 2 teams involved with Ubaldo have “enhanced offers for him.”
— Well the Yanks won’t have to worry about facing Baltimore’s relief pitcher, Uehara tonight. Heyman confirms that he has been traded to Texas for Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter.
— Buster Olney says that “Other teams believe that the Rockies’ best chance, for making a Ubaldo Jimenez deal, is with the Cleveland Indians.”
— Hiroki Kuroda has finally indicated that he may be open to a deal with the Rangers, the Red Sox, or the Yankees. Gordon Edes says Texas has been pushing hard for Kuroda.