Thursday, July 23, 2009

Yankees don't need to move heavens at the deadline

With the trade deadline approaching, all baseball conversation seems to hover around whether one's team is a buyer or a seller, and, if so, who should be targeted or what should be brought back.

Last year, an eight-game winning streak right after the All Star Break pushed them firmly into buyer territory, but though the trade for Xavier Nady and Dámaso Marte was hailed as a steal at the time, Marte was soon injured and Nady soon ice-cold. Another move, trading Kyle Farnsworth for Ivan Rodriguez, seemed to ruin the flow of the bullpen, and was pretty much a disaster on the catching front, too.

This season, the Yankees have been buyers all the way. They've spent much of the season with the third best record in all of baseball--now second only to the Dodgers (and only 3.5 games behind them, as well), and the best in the American League.

That said, there are some holes the Yankees probably want to consider addressing--the most important and apparent of which would be the acquisition of another starting pitcher.

Once through the rotation after the All Star break and every starter was great, but it would not be fair to ask of Sergio Mitre to pitch against Boston like he did against Baltimore--he is, after all, the emergency fifth starter, not a highly-touted prospect or a high-profile free agent signing.

Right now, many eyes are on Roy Halladay, but the Yankees shouldn't need to do anything that drastic. The team doesn't need an entire makeover; it needs only minor improvements to go from one of the best teams in the American League to, perhaps, the best.

It's kind of interesting that an offense that's gotten by all season without Xavier Nady and for a while without Jorge Posada, and even for a month without Alex Rodriguez is still leading all of baseball in runs scored.

Could the Yankees use another bat off the bench so we don't have to worry about Cody Ransom's defense? Possibly.

Still, when push comes to shove, I'd wager it's far more likely that the Yankees would call up Ramiro Peña from AAA Scranton as opposed to going out and trading for another bat.

Now take a second to think about it.

That the Yankees have the option to call up a guy like Peña, and that no one would blink twice if they did, is a testament to the rebuilt farm system. Sure, Ramiro Peña is no Jesús Montero, but guys like Peña, who can field a range of positions, steal bases and otherwise annoy teams are just as important. The playoffs aren't won and lost as individuals; they are won and lost as a team.

I doubt that Eric Hinske will be the only in-season move that the Yankees make, but don't expect them to go the way of the Red Sox and be overactive at the deadline.

For the first time in a very, very long time, the Yankees have that luxury.