New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman better get used to his name coming up in MLB rumors. Although he has said recently he doesn’t expect to make any major moves before or at the July 31st trading deadline, that was before Andy Pettitte suffered a broken left ankle today on a comebacker from the bat of Cleveland Indians first baseman Casey Kotchman. Pettitte is expected to miss six weeks but right now it doesn’t look like surgery will be necessary. This is not good news for the Yankees as they had already placed ace C.C. Sabathia on the disabled list with a strained adductor muscle. Sabathia is expected to miss only two starts and it is the first time since 2006 that Sabathia has missed a start.
For the moment, it appears likely the Yankees will call up Adam Warren to fill Sabathia’s hole and will probably promote Freddy Garcia to the rotation to take Pettitte’s spot. However, Garcia was not very good as a starter earlier in the year and Warren has been mediocre at AAA meaning Cashman might be picking up the phone to check in on some starting pitching.
After Warren and Garcia, the Yankees have veterans Nelson Figueroa and Ramon Ortiz stashed at AAA and Cashman might give them a shot if either Warren or Garcia falters. There is also D.J. Mitchell and David Phelps to fill in during an emergency. The Yankees recently sent Phelps all the way down to Single A Tampa to stretch his arm out after spending the beginning of the year in the Yankees bullpen.
Knowing Brian Cashman, he will scour the waiver wire and pick up the phone and do his due diligence to scout the starting pitching market. There should be plenty of starters available soon with Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza of the Chicago Cubs, Wandy Rodriguez of the Houston Astros, Francisco Liriano of the Minnesota Twins, and possibly Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies the biggest names that could be available.
Dempster recently landed on the DL and won’t be eligible to come off until next week. It will take time for Dempster to get a couple of starts under his belt to prove he is healthy before any team makes a commitment to acquire him.
Garza has a much higher upside than Dempster and will cost more in terms of prospects because he is under team control until 2014. However, Garza has pitched in the AL East before and would be an intriguing addition for the Yankees down the stretch. However, Theo Epstein is a shrewd GM and he won’t just give Garza away, or Dempster for that matter, especially to the Yankees.
The Yankees showed an interest in Wandy Rodriguez around last season’s deadline and there were plenty of rumors floating around. However, Rodrgiuez makes a lot of money, a possible $31 million through 2014, which could scare the Yankees away as they seek to get under the $189 million luxury tax threshold in 2014. If Rodriguez is traded his 2014 club option becomes a player option worth $13 million. That might be too rich for the Yankees blood.
Liriano has been a bit of an enigma in recent seasons. He can shut down a lineup but he also has an equal chance of getting shelled. I don’t think the Yankees would look to Liriano as an answer because he has not shown he would be capable of pitching well on a consistent basis that would warrant the Yankees investing prospects and money into him.
Hamels is the most intriguing one of all. He is an ace on a staff of aces and is a free agent at the end of the year. He won’t cost a ton in terms of prospects but the Yankees won’t be able to get him for free. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. has stated his team will be sellers if there isn’t a drastic turnaround by his ballclub.
Cashman is going to have a lot to think about. In the meantime, he will be a frequent flyer in all MLB rumors. For the moment, he will look at what he has in-house before turning to the trade market for a solution.