With 4/5 of the opening day starting rotation down and out, and ll the money spent on bats this off-season (Ellsbury, Beltran, McCann, re-signing Gardner), you’d think the offense would be carrying the pitching. Nope. Both facets of the team are in the middle of the pack across the league, but the Yankees lose a lot of low scoring games, and failure with RISP, along with poor defense, have hurt the pitching staff.
Mark Teixeira continues to come up small injuries that keep him out of the lineup, Carlos Beltran is just now starting to heat up, and Brian McCann still hasn’t. The inconsistency is keeping this team around the .500 mark, but they remain in the hunt for October because of parody in the American League East. The top of the order has been solid of late, with the hot month courtesy of Gardner, and a good month by All-Star Derek Jeter. Jeter made his presence felt in the MLB All-Star game, an American League win, when he scored the 1st run of the game. Jeter also moved into sole possession of 7th on the All-Time Hits list, and he’s just single digits from 6th, where he will most likely finish his career.
MLB TRADE DEADLINE MOVES
- SS/2B Stephen Drew for Kelly Johnson
It took nearly 40 years, but the Red Sox and Yankees finally made a trade. Sure it was the equivalent of trading two 5-dollar bills for a 10… but progress is progress. Kelly Johnson wasn’t the guy the bombers thought they were getting, a good defensive utility player with pop. Instead they got a bad defensive player with very little pop. Stephen Drew could have been a Yankee in the off-season, instead he brings his even worse batting average, yet better glove to help sure up the infield defense in the deadline trade.
- Martin Prado for Prospect Pete O’Brien from Arizona
Prado bring versatility with the ability to play the infield and the corner outfield positions, a solid bat and a healthier veteran option who is in, not past, his prime. He’s signed for two more years after this.
- Brian Roberts & Alfonso Soriano Designated For Assignment
Roberts stayed healthy, something he’s been known not to do, but didn’t produce, something new for the veteran 2nd baseman. And to make matters worse for Roberts, the Yankees held him out a couple games, keeping him from hitting the 350 plate-appearance mark, which would’ve bumped up his salary. The DFA came to make room on the 25-man roster for Prado. Soriano was let go earlier after a 2&1/2 month slump to start the season. He was hot in the 2nd half of last season after being acquired from the Cubs, but his age caught up with him at the plate and in the field.
- Esmil Rogers Claimed Off Waivers from Toronto
The back end of the Yankees bullpen has been a strength, and in an 11th hour move, Brian Cashman finished off his moves adding another arm to the over-worked pen. Rogers hasn’t been good this season for the Blue Jays, but maybe the change will do some good.
- Chris Capuano , Chase Headley and Brandon McCarthy (prior to the July 31st deadline):
Two veteran starters and a sure-handed 3rd baseman started off the month of moves for the Yankees. All three have contributed in their short time, McCarthy is undefeated, Capuano had a very good first outing (a no decision) and Headley had a walk-off single in his first game.
The best part of the moves GM Brian Cashman made? Not giving up big prospects or adding too much money to the payroll. The only significant loss was Yangervius Solarte in the Headly trade.
Best Starter(s): David Phelps & Brandon McCarthy – or two guys not in the opening day rotation. Phelps went 2-1 with a sub 3 ERA in July, proving my point about the lack of run support. He quickly shot up to the team’s number 2 behind Kuroda after all the injuries to the staff, and Phelps has not disappointed. And talk about needing a change of scenery! Brandon McCarthy had a near 5 ERA in the National League before being traded for by the Yankees. He’s 3-0 (could be 4-0), has given length and brought stability to the rotation. I’m not totally surprised despite a couple poor seasons, because he’d had a number of very good years in Oakland before moving to the NL.
Best Hitter: Brett Gardner – the guy is HOT! 7 homers in the month (a shortened month thanks to the All-Star break), which is one short of his previous career high for a season, which he set last year! A team high 16 RBIs to go along with the 7 bombs in July have him just 5 short of tying his career high in that category as well, also set last season. He’s doing everything you’d want fro ma lead off hitter, and with his recent power surge, the stolen bases are down, while strikeouts are up. But in a consistently inconsistent offense, Gardenr has been a true bright spot.
Biggest Surprise: Francisco Cervelli – he sure has put injuries and suspensions behind him. He’s hitting nearly .300, and has handled the makeshift pitching staff well.
Record vs AL East: 2-6
Overall Record: 55-52 (3rd in the AL East)