Inbox: Why not do more at the Deadline?
Beat reporter Bryan Hoch answers Yanks fans' questions
I am surprised that the Yankees did not do more at the Trade Deadline, especially with Chien-Ming Wang out for the year. I thought that they would definitely show more interest in Roy Halladay than what was reported. Do you think they made a mistake?
-- Nick B., New York, N.Y.
The Yankees definitely could have used another arm, and that was general manager Brian Cashman's stated intention leading up to Friday's Deadline, saying that there were concerns about the depth of the pitching in the rotation and the bullpen.
They were never serious players for Halladay, though they might have splashed around more in the pool had the Red Sox become involved -- see last winter's pursuit of Mark Teixeira, which they kept under wraps until the day Teixeira agreed to a eight-year, $180 million contract.
I think what we saw were two major factors. The Yankees spent a lot of money over the winter, laying out $423.5 million to CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Teixeira, and Cashman was actually reported to be done right before they signed Teixeira (remember, Nick Swisher was going to be the first baseman?).
In a way, they made their Trade Deadline moves before Spring Training, digging out a little extra coin so they could have Teixeira long-term, rather than pick up a rent-a-player for two months. If you have to choose, that seems like the smarter play. The other factor is that Cashman was dead-set against paying a ransom in prospects.
Various reports suggest that the bidding for Halladay could have cost them a combination of Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Austin Jackson and Jesus Montero (the last of whom is now out for the season with a fractured left middle finger, suffered on a foul tip at Double-A Trenton). The Blue Jays were going to make the Yankees give up a premium if they had to see Halladay existing in the American League East.
The play I expected the Yankees to make was for Jarrod Washburn, but the Mariners reportedly were starting their bidding for the left-hander with Jackson. That's a high price to pay for two months of pitching, and you can argue that the Tigers gave up less to get him. By turning the Mariners down, Cashman now needs to be confident that the waiver wire can yield options before Aug. 31.
I saw where the Yankees might not bring back Wang for next season now that he is injured. Don't you think they should stand by him? He was one of the best pitchers in baseball before getting hurt.
-- Dylan P., Phoenix, Ariz.
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While Wang has the rest of the year to rehab under the Yankees' care, it is true that they will have a difficult business decision to make with him, now that he is out up to 12 months after having surgery on his right capsule last Wednesday.
As an arbitration-eligible player, Wang can only be offered a maximum pay cut of 20 percent for 2010, meaning the Yankees would have to offer him $4 million to not pitch for most of the season. The alternative would be to allow him to become a free agent and try to re-sign him that way.
It's a little bit off in the future, and certainly the Yankees have bigger issues right now, but I could see a situation in which Wang re-signs as a free agent. Wang came up with the organization and he has a nice support base that allows him to be comfortable. It's definitely possible he would not want to leave that.
I thought that Jerry Hairston Jr. would replace Cody Ransom on the roster, but now the Yankees are carrying both of them. Couldn't they have given a chance to Shelley Duncan?
-- James R., Trenton, N.J.
That surprised some of us in the press box as well, but the positive for Duncan is that he's now back on the 40-man roster. Ransom has had trouble being productive this year after helping the Yankees in a limited role last season, and the plan -- as far as I can tell -- is that Ransom might stay on the roster until Brett Gardner returns from his fractured left thumb.
Here's how manager Joe Girardi explained the Hairston-Ransom breakdown of playing opportunities: "[Hairston] will get some of them, but Cody is still going to get some of them, too," Girardi said. "If we go with an all right-handed lineup, you can DH Alex [Rodriguez], you can put Cody at third and Jerry in left. You can do a lot of different things because of that. That's what we like."
Are there plans to alter the outfield walls at Yankee Stadium? Moving them deeper is unlikely, but what about extending them upwards with Plexiglas? Doubles and triples are more exciting than homers.
-- Ian B., Barrington, R.I.
But I thought Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine told us chicks dig the long ball? Seriously, the Yankees have not announced that there will be any changes made to the Stadium, though if there are, they would have to wait until after the season.
There have been 160 homers already hit at the new Stadium, matching the total hit last year at the old building. Hal Steinbrenner is not concerned about the issue, recently saying, "I want a full year of data. Right now it's not a big enough sample size for me to even address that."
We haven't heard much about Ian Kennedy and Jackson this season. How are they doing down in the Minors? Any chance we see them in September?
-- Jake J., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Jackson is continuing to show signs of progress at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, batting .307 with four home runs, 44 RBIs, 19 stolen bases and a .797 OPS through 100 games. The Yankees have considered calling him up but aren't likely to do so before September unless they have a reason to offer him regular playing time.
As for Kennedy, he underwent surgery May 12 to remove an aneurysm from his right biceps and is currently working out at the club's complex in Tampa, Fla. Kennedy is hopeful he'll be able to pitch in some Minor League games before the year is out, but as far as the Yankees are concerned, they'll see him in the spring.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.