With Chien-Ming Wang hurt, Joba Chamberlain and Andy Pettitte struggling, and Alfredo Aceves and Phil Hughes in the bullpen, Brian Cashman may find it necessary to bring in a starter to give the Yankees some solid innings down the stretch. I figured it would make sense to run through the viable options. Of course, I will probably leave one name out and that is who Cashman will bring in, but hopefully we can identify most of the candidates in this column.
1) Roy Halladay, Toronto Blue Jays: We have discussed this so many times that I do not think it is necessary to rehash it, but I do not think that he will be a Yankee. If they do get him, the cost will likely be three top prospects, such as Joba, Austin Jackson, and Austin Romine.
2) Cliff Lee, Cleveland Indians: Lee is likely available for the right price, which will be high. Lee has a club option for 2010 at 8 million, which means that he would not be a one year rental. A package might have to include Jackson, McCallister, and Melancon.
3) Gil Meche, Kansas City Royals: Meche has another two years on his deal at 12 million dollars per year. He eats innings, but is having a down year (4.5 ERA, 1.5 WHIP) and should not cost too much in prospects for a team willing to take on all of his money. If the Yankees want a guy who will likely give them league average innings and has a chance of giving more, Meche may be a perfect fit. A deal would likely be built around McCallister, possibly packaged with Robertson and Eduardo Nunez or Ramiro Pena.
4) Brian Bannister, Kansas City Royals: Bannister is a very streaky pitcher with peripherals which suggest that his 3.66 ERA is a bit over his head. He is cheap and not signed for next season, and is unlikely to cost much in terms of prospects. I am not so sure that he would be a big enough improvement over Mitre to justify trading legitimate prospects for him, but would be willing to give up guys in the 11-20 range on the Yankees prospects lists.
5) Jarrod Washburn, Seattle Mariners: Seattle is right in the thick of things, and may not be willing to make a deal. However, their new management seems pretty smart, and they may realize that they do not have a championship club and try to trade for some future assets. Washburn does not strikeout a lot of guys and seems to be headed for a correction. However, he is another guy, who like Meche, should be able to give you league average innings at worst, and could surprise as he is doing thus far. Washburn is in the last year of his deal, which should bring the price down from what it would cost to get Meche. Might Betances and Cervelli interest them? Or would they want someone closer to the majors, like McCallister?
6) Erik Bedard, Seattle Mariners: Bedard is an excellent pitcher with an attitude problem and injury issues. He is also hitting free agency next year and will certainly want to hit the open market. Considering that he cannot stay on the field, I would not offer any more for him than I would for Meche.
7) Aaron Harang, Cincinnati Reds: Harang would be an acquisition in the mold of Meche and Washburn. He is unlikely to be spectacular, but is almost certain to provide nothing worse than consistent league average innings. He is signed for 2010 and there is a club option for 2011, so this seems to be an identical situation to the one with Meche. They may want a lefty in the deal, so something like DeLa Rosa, Bleich, and Suttle might be a decent offer, although there may not be enough premium talent there. Maybe Betances instead of one of the other two pitchers?
8 ) Bronson Arroyo, Cincinnati Reds: Arroyo is not good at baseball anymore. He has gotten progressively worse in each of the last three seasons, and is now a 32 year old with an ERA over 5 in the AL Central. He would be a salary dump longshot, something that does not make sense for the Yankees.
9) Doug Davis, Arizona Diamondbacks: Another pitcher in the Harang mold, Davis is a free agent at the end of the season. They will want McCallister, but a deal built around some of the other names I have thrown out (Betances, Cervelli, DeLa Rosa) might get it done for this one and done player.
10) Jon Garland, Arizona Diamondbacks: Garland is another innings eater, but is not as good as the ones that I have mentioned thus far. There is a mutual option for next season, so an acquiring team likely will get him for only one season. I am not a huge fan, and would likely only give up low end prospects.
Other names: If Chicago and Atlanta become sellers, Mark Buerlhe and Javier Vazquez might become available, but the cost would be very steep. Neither club looks to be selling at this point. Ian Snell and Zach Duke might be available, but both are vastly overrated and Duke’s peripherals suggests that a major crash is headed his way. Chris Young of the Padres is constantly hurt, but could be a decent reclamation project. Also, the Yankees could choose to bring in a reliever and put Phil Hughes back in the rotation.
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