July has now come and gone and the Yankees are the only playoff contenders that did not make any addition to their team. Luckily, Cashman's misfits have come in handy at the right times.
Eric Chavez was injured for a while but came back in time to ease the burden in the wake of A-Rod's absence. Jorge Posada has struggled to fit in as a DH but has taken to the first base position rather well, giving the team an option to rest Mark Teixeira when needed. Russell Martin has not hit the ball as well as the team had hoped but has shown that he can call a great game and play stellar defense. Rafael Soriano seems to have been humbled by his shoulder troubles and is now willing to do whatever it takes to help his team win. Then there is the combination of Ivan Nova, Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia. These three have all made at least 16 starts and have a combined ERA of 3.49. You really can't ask for more out of your bottom 3 starters.
The weakest link at the moment, is Phil Hughes. Maybe the recent trade rumors will spark a reaction from the embattled starter and if not, Nova stands ready to step in.
On the other side of the pitching spectrum, the Yankees have a bullpen who is missing Pedro Feliciano, Demaso Marte and Joba Chamberlain. Soriano, having just been reinstated, joins Dave Robertson and Mariano Rivera to fortify a back end of Baseball's finest. In Soriano's absence, Robertson established himself as the best setup man in the league.
Boone Logan has been the weak link in a bullpen that has also looked to Luis Ayala and Cory Wade for stability and Hector Noesi as a long man. All parties with the exception of Logan have pulled their share of the weight.
The team may have an answer for this problem. Clearly it is not a trade. Twenty year old, Manny Banuelos is the team's top pitching prospect and has been promoted to AAA. He is likely a favorite for a late season call up to see if he can help the team in the playoffs.
The leaks in the team could not be plugged by what was available on the trade market. Although this is an upsetting and unsettling fact, it is nice to see that the team did not make a deal for the sake of making a deal. Our prospects are too valuable to just trade away for cosmetic reasons. Time to start benefitting from these kids. Brian Cashman seems confident in what we have. His message: "I like our team."
Let's see if he still likes it in October.
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