Brian Cashman had a pretty good July. Without sacrificing the future, he was able to add four players who, at the very least, should allow the Yankees to remain near the pennant race, if not in it. Of course, considering the season’s late stage, and the consolidation of talent among the American League’s elite, these reinforcements could prove to be “too little, too late”.
Whether or not the Yankees can salvage a poor season with a strong stretch drive won’t be the final verdict for Cashman’s deadline maneuvering. The day of reckoning might not come until next year. By acquiring the likes of Martin Prado, Stephen Drew and Chase Headley, the Yankees may have done much more than supply their late season deficiencies. On Opening Day next year, all three late season additions could be a part of the Yankees’ starting infield.
Prado is signed through 2016, and his flexibility gives the Yankees plenty of options. However, for Headley and Drew, the next two months could be a quasi-tryout. If either or both can perform well during a playoff push in the New York crucible, and the team’s scouts like what they see, there’s every reason to believe the Yankees would be interested in keeping them.
If the Yankees do enter next year with such an infield, it won’t rival the team’s All Star ensembles from the past decade, but it would represent a significant upgrade over the many combinations used this year. Also, if you add Alex Rodriguez to the mix as a DH, and assume he’ll share a significant portion of that role with Carlos Beltran, the Yankees would only have to add one more bat, particularly capable of playing both RF and 1B, before turning their attention back to the starting rotation. Here is where the team’s commitment to being a bona fide contender will be put to the test. With Jon Lester, Max Scherzer and James Shields all looking for a new home this winter, and as many as four rotation slots open, the Bronx could prove to be a popular destination, assuming, of course, the team is willing to open its deep wallet.
So much can change between now and November, but it’s hard not to look past August and September and see a blue print for next year. Although the Yankees would obviously prefer otherwise, the final two months may not be about getting back into the pennant race, or even snagging one of the wild cards. Instead, the this year’s trade deadline might be the starting line for 2015.