I've not talked much about baseball lately as I've been distracted with some weirdness in my professional life. Nonetheless, I have been watching Yankee Baseball. The ballclub has been active on the tradewire of late. It seems that they have addressed some glaring deficiencies.
Before I begin discussing the specifics, I will recognize the loss of a legendary Yankee, Bobby Murcer. When I began to watch the Yanks as a child, I remember all of the teams that he played on. From 77' to 81' Yankee clubs, I always remember Murcer staying out of the limelight (Something Jackson, Munson, nor Gossage could accomplish) of the big city. Nobody could ever accuse Bobby of being a hell raiser. He clearly was a role player and was quite content at being a contributor. When his playings days subsided, he still made contributions to the younger players, particularly Jeter. Though he would later succumb to Cancer, he was always the epitome of courage and valor. Murcer will truly be missed.
Now we know that the Bombers had several needs:
- Power Right-Handed Bat
- Starting catcher to replace injured Posada
- Lefty specialist in the bullpen
- Backend rotation starting pitcher
Going into the trade deadline, Cashman seemed determined to soothe wounds that were the inflicted by rookie starting pitchers Kennedy and Hughes combined 0-7 start. Quite simply the ballclub needs to get younger and you must groom and nurture the farm system. Both of these young pitchers were sent down to AAA for extra work on their mechanics.
The pick-up of cast-off Richie Sexton addressed the right-handed pop. Recent pickup of Pudge Rodriguez helps to fill the void for a tier I starting catcher. Pudge is a free agent after this season and could potentially walk without much resistance if Posada can come back healthy.
Luckily there are some hefty contracts coming off the books next season (Mussina, Giambi, Abreu) so we could sign Pudge for insurance in the event that Posada's shoulder does not respond to rehab.
Yanks also dipped into the Bucs sell-off and acquired Marte (lefty bullpen specialist) and Nady to provide another right-handed bat. Placing Nady and Pudge at the end of the lineup helps to stretch it significantly. The 6-8 spots in the lineup are no longer easy outs and both players have BAs well above replacement level.
The ballclub was making a run before the acquisitions took place, nonetheless, the team is better positioned to challenge for the AL East crown with these pieces in place. The starting pitching has done great works despite the losses of the Chien-Ming Wang and Phil Hughes.
Bringing back another castoff, Ponson appeared to be fools gold. However, he has been respectable in his seven starts. Time will tell if the rotation can hold up until the reinforcements arrive. If the club can stay within shouting distance of the front running Rays and Bosox, we have the makings of a very interesting division race.
I'm not sold on the Rays, as it remains to be seen if that young ballclub can withstand the dog days of Summer.