NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Yankees could look a lot different come Thursday evening.
As they continue to look up at the top spot in the AL East and at both wild cards, the Bombers are in desperate need of everything — offense, starting pitching and bullpen help — and have actively been trying to upgrade a roster decimated by injuries to its rotation and inconsistency in its lineup.
The Yankees have already made upgrades, acquiring veteran right-hander Brandon McCarthy, third baseman Chase Headley and left-hander Chris Capuano in separate deals for basically nothing and have seen solid production.
What they do before Thursday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline will likely shape whether or not they make the postseason.
With starting pitchers CC Sabathia (knee) and Ivan Nova (elbow) out for the season, and the likelihood of Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) getting back to pre-injury form sketchy at best, the Yankees have gotten by with the likes of youngsters David Phelps, Chase Whitley and Shane Greene, but they likely cannot be counted on during a pennant race. The Bombers hope to get Michael Pineda (shoulder) back in the middle of August, but definitely could use another starter.
According to multiple reports the Yankees have been linked to big ticket items like Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies, as well as solid youngster Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs and veteran left-hander Brett Anderson of the Colorado Rockies.
Lee has lost both of his starts since returning from injury, allowing nine earned runs in 10 2/3 innings. It’s believed the Yankees wouldn’t have to give up too much to get him, mostly because the struggling Phillies appear to be in selling mode and the Bombers are one of just a few teams that could absorb the 35-year-old left-hander’s massive contract, which will pay him a total of $52.5 million over the next two seasons.
Hamels appears to be the longer shot of the two to be traded because he’s in his prime. The 30-year-old southpaw signed a six-year, $144 million extension in May and would almost certainly command top prospects from any team that would be interested.
As for offense, the Yankees are 10th in the AL in runs scored (427) and 11th in batting average (.253). Free agent signings Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann have only recently started to show signs of life and top run producer Mark Teixeira is seemingly one foul step or mis-swing away from the disabled list.
As a result, the Yankees have been in hot pursuit of a bat and Josh Willingham and Marlon Byrd have reportedly been on their radar.
Willingham, 35, is hitting just .222 with 10 homers and 30 RBI for the Minnesota Twins, but is only two years removed from a career-high 35-homer, 110-RBI season.
Byrd, who signed a two-year, $16 million deal with the Phillies in the offseason, is hitting .271 with 20 homers and 60 RBI. The 36-year-old outfielder hit .291 with 24 homers and 88 RBI last season for the Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Yankees entered play Wednesday 4 1/2 games out in the AL East and 2 back of the second wild card spot.
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