In the first two months, the New York Yankees starting rotation has taken a hit from the injury bug.
Ivan Nova went down for the season with a partial tear in his right elbow that required Tommy John Surgery, Michael Pineda is out until June with a back injury and CC Sabathia is out for at least two weeks with a knee injury.
With the Yankees at 20-19 and fully in the thick of the American League East divison race, as well as the playoff race, the Yankees will need all the help they can get if they want to make a run at playing October baseball again, something they failed to do last year; only the second time since 1995, but the second time since 2008.
On Thursday, New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner took a page out of his late father and former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner's playbook and told Ken Davidoff of the New York Post that he will be willing to spend this summer and add to payroll in order to upgrade the rotation if needed.
“Always willing to look at options come July, come the trade deadline,” Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ managing general partner, said as he departed the quarterly owners’ meetings at Major League Baseball’s Manhattan headquarters. “And I think we’ve shown that. Some years we’ve done stuff like last year with [Alfonso] Soriano. Some years we haven’t. But we’re not going to ever lay down and die. We’re going to do what we need to do to stay in.”
A few of the names thrown around for the Yankees are Chicago Cubs' Jeff Samardzija, Arizona Diamondbacks' Bronson Arroyo and Philadelphia Phillies' Cliff Lee; Lee has been heavily talked about over the last couple of years and was already discussed as a potential trade target last month when Nova went down for the season.
Last year, the Yankees added Alfonso Soriano because the team needed a right-handed bat to the lineup and even got the Chicago Cubs to pay for most of the deal, but for some of the other pitchers, the Yankees would likely have to add salary to their payroll in order to get a guy they would want.
Even before his injury, Sabathia's struggles were well documented and with a degenerative knee condition, his struggles could continue and if the Yankees want any chance of contending, they either need to hope Sabathia improves or replace his production from the first six years on the team and considering Sabathia's age and the wear and tear on his body frame is starting to catch up to him, the replacement is the likely scenario.
Either way, expect Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman to be all hands on deck and fully willing to make deals needed in order to make the Yankees a better team and a playoff team, which means adding starting pitching before July 31.
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