Yankees' trade prospects uncertain
With Deadline nearing, club adding pieces bit-by-bit from in-house
NEW YORK -- The calls that Brian Cashman has been making are what the Yankees general manager refers to as his due diligence, searching to pinpoint reasonably priced talent that could upgrade his team.
With eyes perennially fixed upon October, the Yankees would not shy away from a winning option. But thus far, it appears uncertain if there is such a choice for them leading into this year's Trade Deadline.
"I've got my war-room set up back at the stadium, all my scouts are there," Cashman said. "We're going strong at it, playing with a lot of different options."
While the Yankees are entertaining ideas of dealing for pitching help outside the organization, they already feel as though they've been adding plenty of pieces this month.
By the time Sunday's 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline rolls around, Bartolo Colon, Phil Hughes, Eric Chavez and Rafael Soriano will have been reinstated to the active roster, and Alex Rodriguez is believed to be a couple of weeks behind them.
"I continue to stand with what I've been saying publicly for quite some time," Cashman said. "I think we're going to be hard-pressed to improve upon getting Colon and Hughes off the DL as starters, getting Soriano off the DL as a reliever, getting Chavez off the DL as a player off the bench. And we're eventually going to get A-Rod back; that's a middle-of-the-lineup bat."
Colon and Freddy Garcia have given more than expected, but there are questions how the rotation would play in the postseason behind CC Sabathia, especially with Phil Hughes trying to find himself and A.J. Burnett professing that he's not at the top of his game.
Names like those of the Rockies' Ubaldo Jimenez, the Astros' Wandy Rodriguez and the Dodgers' Hiroki Kuroda have been tossed about as potential starting pitching targets.
But Colorado's asking price for Jimenez is thought to be too high; the New York Post recently reported that the Rockies' initial request was left-hander Manny Banuelos, right-hander Dellin Betances and catcher Jesus Montero, plus right-hander Ivan Nova.
Cashman has been generally protective of those players, though he was willing to part with Montero last July when the Mariners were dangling Cliff Lee.
But he balked at including Nova in that deal, and there's no pitcher of Lee's caliber on the market this year, especially since the Mariners won't budge on dealing ace Felix Hernandez.
Kuroda or Rodriguez might be more likely targets; the Dodgers could want to move the $6 million he's owed for the rest of the year, if he'll waive his full no-trade clause.
Rodriguez is owed $23 million through 2013 and the Astros are said to have lowered their asking price of late. Houston would also move Brett Myers, but the Yankees' interest in the veteran has been said to be limited.
Smaller moves, like the tweaks New York made last July, could be in store. Cashman picked up a pair of bats in Lance Berkman and Austin Kearns, plus right-hander Kerry Wood, deals that produced mixed results as the playoffs approach.
"Past history has shown that the Yankees have done everything they can to tweak the club and to make it better," manager Joe Girardi said. "We'll see."
One area the Yankees have been looking at since the spring is picking up another lefty reliever behind Boone Logan, especially after they conceded this week that injured Pedro Feliciano won't be back this season.
Cashman offered Logan a vote of confidence, saying that he has the stuff to get Major League hitters out and has done the job better of late, but even Logan agreed that some help would be nice.
"It's tough to just have one lefty in the pen because you can't just bring him in in any lefty situation," Logan said. "So it'd be easier for Joe [Girardi] to manage if he had to lefties to work with."
The Yankees have an internal lefty option at Triple-A in veteran J.C. Romero, though the Bombers have taken a look at the Marlins' Randy Choate -- a former Yankee -- as well as the Orioles' Mike Gonzalez.
Speaking at a HOPE Week event in Staten Island on Thursday, Cashman kept his best poker face on, professing doubts that the Yankees would be particularly busy by Sunday afternoon.
"I can't imagine us being able to run into something, but you still have to go through the motions every time to see," Cashman said.