Thursday, July 9, 2015


In the final stretch of the first half, the Yankees front office is wheeling and dealing for the final adjustments for the second half. The Yankees have their eyes on a few players, to fill some holes in the roster. While the Yankees are in first place, there are plenty of needs that need to be met if they’re going to go to the playoffs and compete well. The starting rotation is inconsistent at best, and more than half of them are recovering from serious injuries - something the Yankees can hardly afford. The bullpen is overworked, depending on only a few good pitchers because of disappointing trade acquisitions and rookie call-ups. The team is hitting .254 and holds the fourth worst fielding percentage in the league. Clearly there is room for improvement.

Let's start with the starters. We have reported the news that the YANKS ARE SCOUTING THE HECK OUT OF JOHNNY CUETO. I still wonder whether Johnny Cueto can handle the pressure of playing in New York, but all signs are that the Yankees are trying to decide whether or not they want to pay the inordinately high asking price. They are not the only ones. Somebody might flinch and cough up half the farm, but the Yankees have more cost-effective options. For instance, Jeff Samardzija. There’s something to be said about a starter that has a winning record on a last place team. He has a 0.9 HR/9, 1.7 BB/9, 7.5 K/9, and a career ERA of 3.92. If we’re worried about the bullpen, he is averaging just under 7 innings per start over 17 starts, and 10 of those were Quality Starts. He is on a 1-year contract, and the White Sox are in last place. If we offer them something competitive, and they can get something out of it, I believe he moves. 

There is another diamond in the rough that the Yankees should be looking at, and the name should be familiar. Ian Kennedy is on a 1-year deal and should be available for the right, but not crazy price. Right now he’s 4-8 with a 4.84 ERA, which sounds downright dreadful to the untrained eye. First, smart scouts learn to ignore win-loss records when the team is hitting .239 behind him. Second, Kennedy had 3 bad starts in May that blow up his stats. Take a look at his starts since June 1. In seven starts - five of them Quality Starts - he had a 2.63 ERA, 8.12 K/9, and 1.98 BB/9. Before you point out that he only had two wins during that stretch, note that he had 2 runs or less of support while on the mound in 6 of those 7 starts. Look, I hated it when we gave up on him at age 24, and I still think he has potential.

It’s time to beef up the hitting as well. The most obvious way to improve the hitting is to replace our second baseman, and I am liking Howie Kendrick. He is in his contract year and has gotten some attention from scouts. Nevertheless, while all eyes wanting a second baseman are on Ben Zobrist, the Yankees may be able to pull off a deal here with a little less competition. He’s hitting just under .300, his OPS is just under .800, and his fielding percentage is .991. At age 31, this would be a good deal.

There are a lot of good deals out there if the Yankees are looking in the right places. The obvious risk is that they will be tempted to give up too much. With a rich farm system, everyone is demanding a huge return. Still, we get the feeling that we are going to see some good moves before the trade deadline. More to come.

--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Senior Staff Writer
Twitter: @KingAgamemnon
My blog is: Shots from Murderer's Row

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