After losing two tight races for top-of-the-rotation arms in Cliff Lee and Dan Haren before the trade deadline, it came as no surprise that the New York Yankees found other ways to make a splash by July 31.
The Yankees went out and did what they do best, pulled out their checkbooks and dropped $5 million on first baseman Lance Berkman from Houston and reliever Kerry Wood and outfielder Austin Kearns from Cleveland. The Yanks made headlines with the trades — especially because they pulled Kearns out of the game he was playing in Toronto — but will these three acquisitions help the team maintain its first-place status, or will they end up bombing for the Bombers?
The three acquisitions were brought in to add depth on the bench, and aren't expected to be everyday starters, but will their occasional appearances wreak havoc rather than deliver help?
Berkman comes to the Yanks in his 12th season in the MLB, and is definitely struggling in his new American League surroundings. Berkman is normally described as a sure thing when it comes to offensive talent, but so far with the Yankees, his offensive contributions have been minimal. Berkman is batting just .105 in pinstripes, with one RBI and three strikeouts. Not the burst of offense Yankees GM Brian Cashman was hoping for off the bench.
Though Wood hasn't had much time to impress in a Yankees uniform — he's only pitched 3 1/3 innings — it's been said that he's past his prime. Another 12-season veteran, Wood is thrilled to be playing with the Yankees, and Cashman believes the righty still has "terrific stuff." He needs to find his 2008 stuff, when he was marked as one of the best closers in the game, rather than early-2010 stuff, where he posted an 11.05 ERA in May.
Kearns has also had little time to acclimate in a Yankees uniform, as he has only seen action in three games since becoming a Yankee. In those six at-bats, however, Kearns has contributed six outs with two K's.
Even though $5 million is merely chump change for the New York Yankees, they still want their investments to prove themselves worthwhile. It still remains to be seen if these three midseason acquisitions will perform in the role that's required of them. Will they provide the bench boost the Yankees need? Or are they washed-up veterans who will bog the team down?
Aug. 6: Do Red Sox need to sweep Yankees to stay alive in pennant race?
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