This should make every Yankee fan stand up and cheer. The last thing we need is another season like last year, where we spent the summer resigned to our fate. At the same time, trades resulting from itchy trigger-finger moves can have disastrous effects. With Ivan Nova out for the season, CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda out indefinitely, and Hiroki Kuroda still trying to reset himself, it is going to be critical that the Yankees find some help for the starting rotation and fast.
Regardless of whether or they make a move in July or this week, here are some of the starters the Yankees need to be looking at right now:
Jason Hammel is one starter that should be at the top of the Yankees list. Jesse Rogers from ESPN talks about how the Chicago Cubs, who seem to have an annual rite of trading away talent for prospects, expect to be marketing him. At 31 years of age, he is having as great a season as you can have for a team like the Cubs. He has an ERA of 3.06 and a WHIP of 0.906, while only getting wins (4) in half of his starts. He is a fly ball pitcher (his GB/FB is 0.76) which makes him a bit of a liability in Yankee Stadium, but his HR/9 over the season so far is 0.8, which is respectable.
Justin Masterson is in the last year of his contract, and the Cleveland Indians may be ready to make a move. He is averaging just over 6 innings per start, and he has a decent ERA of 4.31. His K/9 of 8.6 makes him a good strikeout pitcher, and his HR/9 of 0.7 is below league average, which will keep the ball in the ballpark. The downside on him is that he gives up many base runners (WHIP of 1.380 this season), and that can spell trouble. Still, he is playing for a last-place team in his contract year, and a little motivation may get his game up (think Ichiro Suzuki when the Yankees traded for him). The question will be how much of what’s left of his $9.76M contract will the Yankees be willing to take on.
Brandon McCarthy is a wild card that the Yankees may look at. With a 1-6 record and 5.01 ERA this season, you may be wondering if there is anything of value here. One can explain the 1-6 record by the fact that he is playing for the last-place Arizona Diamondbacks. His ERA is mostly attributed to home runs allowed, but he is pitching in homer happy Chase Field (5th highest HR/Games in the majors). In his 2 season prior to going to Arizona, when he was pitching in Oakland, his ERA’s were 3.32 and 3.24. That was against American League hitting. He also has some good history against high-octane offenses like Boston and Detroit. Boston has hit .252 against him and Detroit .259 over his career. With his current season record, the Yankees may be at a strong advantage in trade negotiations.
Finally, Kyle Kendrick is a name that has made its rounds on the trade rumor mill, and one that the Yankees probably have on the wall of their war room. Despite having an ERA of 3.96, he is still looking for his first win after eight starts. We are sure he is ready to punch his ticket to anywhere. His 7+ years’ experience in the majors makes him a good candidate to get us to the finish line. The biggest area of concern is his home runs allowed, which has spiked this year. To his credit, this is the first year in his career where that is a problem. Maybe a little motivation, like playing for a winning team, might make him the diamond in the rough. The Yankees would have to pick up the remainder of the $7.675M owed him.
The Yankees will look into many that come up over the upcoming weeks and months, but we all agree that they have to do something. We cannot count on Sabathia returning to form AND Kuroda returning to form AND Pineda returning to form. The Yankees cannot afford to bet the season on those odds. It is time to pull the trigger and make a move.