Yankees At The Deadline: A Pitcher In Hand Is Worth Two In The Bush

Yankee Stadium's Great Hall (Photo: New York Times)

For the Yankees, as the deadline nears you gotta know when to hold ’em, when to fold ’em, and when to walk away to play another day…

The Yankees watched as their not so quietly heralded blue-chip trade target, Marcus Stroman, was taken off the board by their crosstown rival New York Mets. And with that, Brian Cashman moved some magnet pieces around with the names of pitchers on his whiteboard, reminding himself there is a Plan B and even a Plan C after that.

Start with the fact Marcus Stroman is not Cy Young. He’s not even Justin Verlander or possibly even Domingo German. But he was, nevertheless, the best of the rest in this year’s go-around at the July 31 trade deadline.

Brian Cashman: A Man Of Stealth And Precision
Brian Cashman: A Man Of Stealth And Precision

Which begs the signature question facing Brian Cashman and the Yankees (with Stroman gone) – Yes, the team needs pitching – but at what cost – and what is the real value of what’s left in the marketplace?

There’s always the chance one of those blockbusters will surface, and suddenly Zack Greinke or Luis Castillo will be starting on Sunday for the Yankees. But excepting that scenario, what should we make of Matthew Boyd, Mike Minor, and the rest of that boring list of names I’ve been repeating for a month now? As if any of them can make a difference as a number one for the Yankees.

No, this is splashing around in the kiddie pool. It’s scrambling around for that last seat in a musical chairs game. It’s settling. And the Yankees don’t settle.

Yankees: The Pieces Are There – Unscramble Them

The pieces of the pitching puzzle for the Yankees are there. It’s just a matter of unscrambling them in time for the playoffs. Who fits where and when?

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CC Sabathia‘s trip to the IL may or may not be a hiccup. And perhaps, unwittingly, he may have thrown his final pitch as a Yankees on Sunday. After all, you can’t live on cortisone forever.

The four remaining Yankees starters, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, Domingo German, and J.A. Happ are all healthy. German needs to be watched for innings pitched, but other than that, it should be the free-wheeling recycling of starts every fifth day from here to the playoffs.

But much like the Boston Red Sox pulling Nathan Eovaldi out of a hat from the IL to help them now, the Yankees have two birds in the bush with Luis Severino and Dellin Betances due back in due time before the playoffs. Looking to next year, both Jonathan Loaisiga, Jordan Montgomery, together with up and comers Albert Abreu, Deivi Garcia, and Clarke Schmidt are on the way to fortify the staff next year and beyond.

It’s Okay To Turn The Page

Already, the Yankees are making plans for Sabathia’s (minimum) two turns through the rotation. Chad Green is discussed as the “Opener” (and soon we’ll need to stop the quotes on a word that is solidified in baseball’s vocabulary) in upcoming series that may include the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium this weekend.

But the impact remains. The Yankees are what they are. They are not, nor will they probably ever be, a team that is pitching dependent. The Yankees are, after all, the Bronx Bombers.

There’s no need for Brian Cashman to reinvent the wheel in the next two days. More importantly, he knows it, and he knows himself. There’s nothing imminent at the moment, but if Cashman circles back around to a deal with a team that looked dead, as he so often does, maybe there’ll be a surprise or two.

But I’m not holding my breath. And if nothing else, I’ll take the bird in my hand (the 2019 Yankees), moving forward from here…no problem at all.

Written by Steve Contursi, Editor, Reflections On Baseball
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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.

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