Well, the trade deadline has come and gone and it was a relatively quiet one for the bombers. Their only move was the acquisition Casey McGehee for Chad Qualls. McGehee grades out about average defensively at 3B and can hit lefties a little. Essentially, he represents an upgrade over Jayson Nix as the right-handed piece of the 3B platoon. Any marginal production he provides for the rest of the season means little to the Yankees as they are most likely going to the playoffs with or without McGehee. However, in the case of an A-Rod setback, the small upgrade provided by McGehee is magnified in the post-season. He’s also seen significant time at first this year which should come in handy with Mark Teixeira being banged up. Although sample size caveats apply, he’s posted a very solid UZR of 5.8 at 1B. He’ll likely see some time at 1B while Teixeira’s wrist heals up and provides depth going forward in case Teixeira’s wrist becomes a recurring issue.
Considering what they gave up, this is a very good move by Brian Cashman and company. Chad Qualls is more or less useless and was about to be shown the door anyway with Joba Chamberlain ready to rejoin the team. This is just the type of player the Yankees needed and I hoped they would get: A righty who could play both corner infield positions adequately and wouldn’t cost much. Now they have a fall back option in case Alex Rodriguez has to miss any postseason time.
Now let’s examine the trades Cashman didn’t make. With Andy Pettitte’s setback, many thought that meant a new starter would be donning the pinstripes. However, they decided to stand pat in the end. Even if Pettitte fails to come back this year, Cashman’s non-action is not the end of the world. They currently have C.C. Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, and Ivan Nova locked into the rotation with Phil Hughes being the 4th starter when needed. While they were linked to Ryan Dempster, he ended up being dealt to the Rangers instead. Dempster has looked excellent this year, but his peripherals indicate he’s gotten quite lucky. While his ERA sits at 2.25, his FIP (3.41), xFIP (3.71), and SIERA (3.84) indicate he’s been good but not great. Pretty much he’s still the same Ryan Dempster he has been the last few years. ZiPS projects a 4.14 ERA from here on out for Dempster. This is an upgrade over Ivan Nova (4.57), who he’d likely be replacing in the postseason rotation, but it’s not a huge one. Considering the Rangers gave up two good prospects to acquire him, I think the Yankees were smart to hold their ground. Dempster will hit free agency at the end of the year so he’d essentially be a 3 month rental. As stated earlier though, the Yankees aren’t overly concerned with the remainder of the regular season. Therefore, they would be giving up potential valuable pieces for the future in exchange for a few post season starts from Dempster instead of Ivan Nova.
Overall, I think the Yankees did what they need to do this trade deadline. They got insurance at the corner infield positions without giving up anything significant. No doubt it would have been nice to add a solid starter like Dempster or to get a better 3B such as Chase Headley, but the cost would have been too much given their in-house options as well as their place in the standings.