NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — While several teams in the American League were able to add valuable pieces prior to the non-waiver trade deadline, the Yankees, in somewhat of a surprise, did not make any significant moves.
As Friday’s 4 p.m. deadline came and went, the Bombers, who own a six-game lead atop the AL East but have issues in their starting rotation, were unable to pull off a deal, despite trying to snag former All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel from the San Diego Padres.
With Michael Pineda on the disabled list due to a forearm strain, Masahiro Tanaka seemingly always a pitch away from surgery due to his partially torn ulnar-collateral ligament in his right elbow and CC Sabathia struggling each time out as he tries to reinvent himself, conventional wisdom suggested the Yankees would be aggressive in the hours leading up to the deadline.
But starting pitchers Cole Hamels, David Price and Mike Leake were all dealt elsewhere this week as the Bombers were thought to be unwilling to unload any of their top four prospects — right-hander Luis Severino, outfielder Aaron Judge, first baseman Greg Bird and shortstop Jorge Mateo.
The Yankees continued to stick to their guns as the hours ticked away on Friday, though they reportedly were ready to ship Mateo, who is currently playing in Single-A, to San Diego in a package to get Kimbrel. The Padres reportedly wanted Mateo, but then balked at that idea.
Kimbrel has led the National League in saves four years in a row, including an MLB-best 50 in 2013. The four-time All-Star is 1-2 with a 2.68 ERA and 30 saves.
Adding Kimbrel, 27, to an already-loaded bullpen would have been the best Plan B available to general manager Brian Cashman, especially since the Yankees had the option of moving Adam Warren back into the starting five. New York already boasts one of the best 1-2 punches in the league with setup man Dellin Betances (1.32 ERA, seven saves) and closer Andrew Miller (1.54 ERA, 23 saves).
So now the Yankees start a weekend series with the surging Chicago White Sox mindful of the fact that the teams tied for second place in the AL East, Toronto and Baltimore, added key parts before the deadline.
The Blue Jays snagged star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki from Colorado and ace left-hander Price from Detroit, while the Orioles acquired slick outfielder Gerardo Parra from Milwaukee.
Cashman told reporters Friday that Severino, the crown jewel of New York’s farm system, will make his next start for the Yankees, though when that will be was not immediately announced. Severino is 7-0 with a 1.91 ERA in 11 starts for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
On Thursday, the Yankees acquired utility man Dustin Ackley from Seattle for a pair of minor leaguers.