Since 1995, there have only been two occasions where the New York Yankees failed to qualify for the postseason. With a strong, durable core of stars, the Yankees have amassed 5 World Series titles and 7 AL Pennants, and continue to hold the financial ability to regenerate success with stars on the free agent market.
After failing to qualify for the postseason last year, the Yankees are on the verge of not qualifying for the playoffs for two seasons in a row for the first time since 1992-1993. With the impending retirement of future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter and the untimely injuries to Michael Pineda, Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia, the Yankees find themselves trapped and stuck, with a desperate need for more pitching in order to make a substantial playoff run.
The Yankees currently find themselves tied for 2nd place in the American League East, sitting four games behind the first place Orioles. With the race still very much alive, the Yankees have the money and a decent amount of assets to be able to pull off several mid-upside moves to pad their patchwork rotation. One of these moves has already been made, with the Yankees trading for the struggling Brandon McCarthy earlier this month.
Yet even with this move, there is much work to be done to improve the Yanks’ chances at October baseball to culminate the Jeter farewell tour. As the Yankees lack the farm system to trade for a star ace, such as David Price, the large resource of money and the drive to compete and make trades should and does draw teams to want to deal with New York. The Yankees have also allegedly shown interest in other mid-upside pitchers, including veteran Cliff Lee and the struggling Edwin Jackson.
With both pitchers being locked down to a significant amount of money, and both teams willing to unload, there is a strong chance the Yankees could luck out financially shall they pursue one or both of the aforementioned pitchers. Just as they found with the McCarthy trade, when a team is willing to unload an underperforming pitcher with a significant deal attached, cash could come the Yankees’ way as well. With a good history of getting the most out of trade deadline pickups, it’s not inconceivable that the Yankees could easily find the upside in these pitchers.
With their hitting at the caliber of what a playoff team is, any improvement in what has been a substantial blow to their rotation can be the difference between an early end to the season, or one last shot at a title before the last generation of Yankees officially ends with Jeter’s retirement.
Another beneficial factor to the Yanks’ is simply the parity in the league, and the fact that outside a select few teams, namely the Oakland A’s and Los Angeles Angels, all other teams have shown large levels of vulnerability. These weaknesses can easily be exploited by a team that is loaded with title-hungry veterans, and with a track record that shows the Yankees can quickly make a run for the pennant.
The burden of these contracts and perhaps sub par performances shall the Yankees make the aforementioned moves may be felt strongly next year, but for a team that may only have one more run left in them, it is certainly worth the shot to pull all strings to ensure that they at least have a chance at postseason success in 2014.