The Yankees only acquired Jerry Hairston Jr. before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, but with the Aug. 31 waiver trade deadline still on the horizon and the Yanks and Red Sox separated by only a half-game in the AL East, the skirmish to add roster depth will likely continue throughout the month. Chances are, it could come in the form of a starting pitcher for New York.
Joba Chamberlain and Andy Pettite have been solid behind CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett of late. However, the Yanks could be in search of someone to fill the No. 5 role currently held by Sergio Mitre.
Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman breaks down who could clear waivers in the next four weeks. We’ll focus on the starting pitchers.
Reds starters Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang could likely clear. The Yankees were said to be interested in Arroyo before July 31, but a deal was never agreed upon. Arroyo has about $17 million remaining on his contract that runs through 2010. The Reds probably would have to send some cash to his suitor in order to make a deal work. Harang also is signed through 2010, with an option for 2011.
Mariners pitcher Miguel Batista has starting and relief experience. But after the M’s traded for Jack Wilson before sending Jarrod Washburn to Detroit, who knows what their agenda actually is? That means Batista could be available.
Jon Garland and Doug Davis’ names came up several times before the July deadline, but they were never moved. The Diamondbacks are out of the 2009 playoff picture, and both pitchers are set to become free agents after this year, which makes them expendable.
Gil Meche and Carl Pavano have underachieved in ’09, but they still have some talent. The Royals and Indians have better chances at winning the Super Bowl than they do the World Series. No chance the Yanks take another shot at Pavano after giving him almost $40 million with virtually nothing positive to show for it. The Red Sox had him once, too, before dealing him to Montreal for a guy named Pedro, if you remember correctly.
The Yankees reportedly attempted to snag Brain Bannister before last Friday’s deadline, but the Royals didn’t budge. Maybe they’ve changed their minds? Doubtful.
And, of course, there’s always Roy Halladay and Felix Hernandez. If Seattle wouldn’t take five of the Sox’ top prospects for the King, there’s no chance they’ll waive him this month. Halladay is unlikely to go anywhere, considering the Jays could probably get more for him this offseason or even next July.
But if Pettitte or Joba begin to flounder, expect Yankees GM Brian Cashman to get creative before the end of August. And if he does, expect a counter by Theo Epstein, whose Red Sox staff has enough question marks of its own after Josh Beckett and Jon Lester.
The arms race should continue atop the AL East this August. After all, a team can never have too much pitching. Cashman and Epstein certainly know that.