We're on the verge of hitting the month of June and the New York Yankees sit three games behind in second place in the American League East with the red-hot Toronto Blue Jays in forst place and not going away anytime soon.
The Yankees have been treading water and staying afloat in the American League playoff race but eventually, they're going to need help this summer, especially if they want to stay alongside Toronto, plus the Baltimore Orioles, who are a half-game back of the Yankees in third place and the help the Yankees need starts with pitching.
With Ivan Nova out for the season with a torn ligament in his elbow that required Tommy John Surgery and CC Sabathia is on the disabled list with a degenerative knee injury and will be out at least until July, maybe longer and his return to the Yankees in 2014 is in serious doubt.
Pitching along with Masahiro Tanaka and Hiroki Kuroda (who is also going through his own struggles) are David Phelps, who is too inconsistent to trust, especially after a 6-0 loss last night to the St. Louis Cardinals, Vidal Nuno, who again, is inconsistent in his starts, and Chase Whitley, who has shown a lot of promise in three starts, but hasn't pitched more than five innings in those starts.
The Yankees will get Michael Pineda back sometime soon so long as his rehab goes well, but even with Pineda, the Yankees will need more than that in order to compete for a chance at the postseason and winning a championship and why they need to make a deal for a pitcher.
The common names everyone has heard are Cliff Lee (who is on the 15-day DL with an elbow injury), Jeff Samardzija, Bronson Arroyo and even Max Scherzer, although the Detroit Tigers will never trade Scherzer away and the Yankees will likely have to wait until free agency if they want to get Scherzer. Lets throw in James Shields of the Kansas City Royals as a new name to the mix.
Yankees fans know Shields very well from his time with the Tampa Bay Rays and was always a pitcher the fans would have loved for the team to get, but the Rays would never trade within their own division, but now on the Royals, who are currently 24-27 and in fourth place in the American League Central and not looking like a contending team this year.
Shields is perhaps one of the Royals best trade chips considering he's a free agent after the 2014 season and is pitching to a 6-3 record with a 2.95 and has 63 strikeouts in 73.1 innings. Last season, Shields had a 13-9 record with a 3.15 ERA with 196 strikeouts in 228.2 innings and has the makings of a solid front-end starter in anyone's rotation and it's why the Yankees should look into him.
Getting Shields away from the Royals will definitely cost the Yankees as far as a deal goes; Gary Sanchez and maybe even Adam Warren or Manny Banuelos would be at the top of what the Royals would be looking for, but there's a reason why he has the nickname "Big Game James" for his ability to pitch in big games.
The one kicker with Shields is that he will be 33 by the time December rolls around and he has also logged 200-plus innings in each season since 2007, but this isn't a long-term type deal the Yankees would be attempting; this would be a mid-season summer trade deal to help the Yankees contend for October and a chance at a 28th World Series championship.
While a lot of people think that trading for Samardzija would be the best thing for the Yankees, getting Shields would be a better deal for the Yankees, as he knows how to pitch well in the American League and in the East, plus his experience in the playoffs as well can help the team he used to face off against and had success against, and can actually help them in a playoff run if dealt to them.
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