By Steve Silverman
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The Yankees have always been good at looking at the big picture.
George Steinbrenner determined decades ago that the only thing that mattered to the New York Yankees was winning the World Series.
Necessities like making the playoffs, winning the division and taking the American League are necessary and important steps, but falling short of the World Series is never good enough for the Yankees.
That’s why Brian Cashman’s public attitude is quite strange. It seems like he’s more than secure enough to let the Yankees play the rest of the season with the same lineup they have now. Perhaps they will add speed when Brett Gardner returns, or perhaps they will make a small move for a role player who can provide outfield depth.
But as far as making a major move, Cashman is acting like his hands are tied. For once, it seems to be about the money.
King George never let the spending of dollars get in his way. He took pride in the fact that nobody had the ability to spend money like the Yankees, and he basically lorded it over the rest of baseball.
But Hal Steinbrenner has no designs on doing thing like his father did, and he wants the Yankees to stay on task while they stay within the budget.
The Yankees have more than enough talent as presently constituted to win the American League East. The Orioles have fallen by the wayside. The Rays don’t have the kind of hitting to challenge. The Red Sox are good enough to beat the average teams, but they can’t compete with the good teams.
The division is not the issue. How are the Yankees any better than they were a year ago when they lost the division series to the Detroit Tigers? They may very well meet the Tigers, Rangers or Angels in the playoffs, and the Yankees may not necessarily beat any of those teams.
They might not even beat the Chicago White Sox, who have a rookie manager in Robin Ventura at the helm, a solid pitching staff and a rejuvenated Kevin Youkilis and Alex Rios leading them to the top of the American League Central.
What the Yankees need is pitching help. There is an assumption that CC Sabathia will return at full strength after his stint on the disabled list with a strained groin. That seems reasonable, but there are no guarantees.
The Yankees are also operating under the assumption that the 40-year-old Andy Pettitte will return in top form after suffering a broken leg. That doesn’t seem very logical.
Pettitte had looked good prior to his injury –- he was 3-3 with a 3.22 ERA –- but that doesn’t guarantee anything. Pettitte took the 2011 season off, and he may not have the stamina that Yankees fans are used to seeing from him. Finding his rhythm again may be quite difficult for him, and if he gets hit hard in his first couple of starts he may not return to form.
Pitchers like Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and Cole Hamels are available. The Yankees need to be looking at each of these candidates and putting together a package to improve their team.
The best of these would probably be Garza, because of his Tampa Bay and AL East background. He spent much of his career pitching in the American League East cauldron, and he would not be intimidated by lineups that are loaded with power hitters.
Dempster seems sharper than Garza right now, but he is a career National Leaguer who would be in over his head. Hamels is also a career National Leaguer, but he has more than enough ability to make the jump.
Garza and Hamels would seem to fit the Yankees’ needs. This is no time for Prince Hal to sit on his fat wallet and do nothing. Cashman knows that there is still work to be done if the Yankees are going to beat Detroit, Texas or Los Angeles. He must get a deal done, even though his boss wants to keep from spending too much money.
That was never an issue with his old man, but it is the way that the 2012 Yankees are doing business.
Who would you like to see the Yankees acquire as the Trade Deadline looms? Sound off with your thoughts and comments in the section below…