Yesterday, Yankee ace Andy Pettite, suffered a grade 1 strain to his groin. Apparently this was very painful for the Yankee ace and something that he could not pitch through. Pettite is expected to remain on the disabled list for around a month or so. So you know what this means right? There will be some moves made by the Yankees as usual before the July 31st trade deadline. There probably were going to be moves made anyways by NY, but this just confirms it.
The Yankees have had problems not only with their starters, but with their bullpen as well. Do not be surprised if the Bombers pick up a relief pitcher and a starter. This team is 8th in the League in ERA, which they know will be unacceptable down the stretch. No team knows better how to handle the stretch run and playoff baseball than these guys. They have been through the fire, and will be ready come Mid October once again this year as they look to repeat as champions.
It really is a shame about Pettite though. The guy is having his best year since 2005, and just has had the look of a rejuvenated pitcher all year. He is a proven winner and a guy who can get the job done as a starter better than anyone ever has in October. What will the Yankees do when he and Mariano retire? I mean there are plenty of great pitchers in the game. But how many of these great pitchers get better come October?
Pettite is 38 and Rivera 40. This could be the last year for the pitching half of the core 4. And believe me, Posada and Jeter each only have probably around 3 to 5 years left. It will be interesting to see if a new core 4 can emerge in New York. Or will this be the last time we see something like this in baseball? Where 4 mainstays, grow up in a team’s farm system and appear together on the big team. And just win for the better part of 2 decades.
So who will the Yankees trade for before the deadline? If I had to take a guess, I would narrow the pool down to 4 guys. And from these 4, I would count on the Yankees getting at least 1 of them and possibly 2. The starting pitchers out of this group of 4 are Dan Haren and Roy Oswalt. The relievers are Joakim Soria and Octavio Dotel.
Haren is having his roughest year in some time with Arizona this year. But he still possesses all the makings of a big time starter, and on this market, where Cliff Lee, the gem has already been taken, he may be the next best thing. The other starter that the Yankees will be eyeing is Roy Oswalt. Oswalt currently is on track to finish with the worst record of his 10 year career, but he also holds a 3.12 ERA. Put him pitching like that with the big bats of the Bronx Bombers, I think his record would turn around real quick. There is only one issue with both of these guys. They are both right-handed pitchers, and depending on when Pettite will be able to return, the staff would be going a good month with only one lefty (CC) in the rotation. Are the Yankees willing to deal with this for a month plus?
Out of the bullpen option 1 would be Joakim Soria. Joakim has consistently produced an ERA of under 3 for all 4 of his years in the bigs. The Yankees would have to turn him into a setup man, and possibly he could become the heir apparent to Mariano for the closer role. Because who really knows how much longer Rivera is going to play. Lastly, Joakim is young, so they could get him for fairly cheap and have him for a very long time (though the Yankees do not traditionally care about spending too much). The other option in my eyes is Octavio Dotel. Dotel is a journeyman who even has played in the Bronx before, but is currently stuck in Pittsburgh. Which is generally not a good place to be for any pitcher. Dotel, though not having a great year, has been around the block and would probably not tense up down the stretch. The only problem is, he is 36, and would probably only be a quick fix for this bullpen problem. Soria would be more of a long-term investment.
So what will the Yankees do? If I had to guess, I see them going after Soria. They know how crucial the bullpen is come playoff time and realize that they can use a 3 man starting rotation (CC, Phil, and hopefully Pettite) in October. All they have to do is get the ball to Mariano, and they will win games.
Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.