“We are a championship-caliber-contending team with areas of need that I need to work on,” general manager Brian Cashman said in assessing the first third of the season. “We are going to have to continue to look for ways to improve our pitching.”
From all I have heard, the Yankees currently do not imagine pursuing a significant bat between now and July 31 (so we can close the Carlos Beltran rumors for a bit). Instead, they see signs of life up and down the order everywhere but from Jorge Posada. And they feel that if the DH ultimately has to be changed that could come internally from Eric Chavez getting healthy, Jesus Montero being promoted or Eduardo Nunez playing the field more to allow Alex Rodriguez, in particular, to DH more frequently.
Cashman badly wants to add a lefty reliever because the farm system does not have many (if any) options. But it could be the Yankees will just have to wait to see if [Pedro Feliciano] and, perhaps late in the year, Damaso Marte can return.
Thus, for the next third of the season Cashman will — as expected — be fixed on upgrading his rotation, although the Yankees currently are the only AL East team with four qualified starters (CC Sabathia, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia and A.J. Burnett) with ERAs below 4.00.
“Overall, the pitching is going to be the defining thing for us,” Cashman said. “The pitching has excelled, but it is not wise or prudent to sit back and try not to reinforce and improve on it.”
The never ending quest for pitching is still on. It makes sense too, as good as the starters and bullpen have been to expect that to continue is to expect pitchers to continue to pitch above their heads. It could happened, but betting on it is not a wise move.
Conversely, the lineup has been quite strong with only Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter, and Nick Swisher under performing. Swisher has shown signs recently of breaking out of his season long slump and there is nothing that can be done about Jeter at this point. So that leaves the DH spot as the only one that needs to be addressed and like Sherman noted, they are capable of handling it in house (although I wouldn’t close to the door on a potential deal, it is unlikely).
Nothing is imminent and if a deal goes down it will be likely toward the end of July, but expect the Yankees to go after pitching when they do try for a trade.
Like during the offseason though, expect Cashman to preach patience. He won’t make a deal just for the sake of making a deal. He’s going to wait until the right offer comes along and will pounce on it. This could mean a big trade, a small one, or no trade at all.
It’s hard to predict this season, especially this early before the deadline, but the Yankees will make improvements. That’s what they do. They are currently in first place, it isn’t the Yankee way to sit back and be happy about that.