The Yankees are going to need a stroke of luck to be in contention for another AL East title but it is still not completely out of their reach. Here are some of the keys for the Yankees to stay in the mix in the second half of the season.
Pitching is key
If The Yankees stand any chance of making at least a wildcard spot in the AL, then it will be done behind their starting pitching. Sabathia, Pettitte, and Hughes have been as inconsistent as ever. With Nova and Kuroda stepping up their game, the others must also and with Michael Pineda coming back from the DL, it will provide competition for the other starters. Sabathia has not looked like an ace at all this year and the starting pitching will revolve around him. If Sabathia steps up so will the others, he is the leader and should lead by example. Andy Pettitte had an amazing start to the season but it proved to be too good to be true as his form has started to plummet and he does not even look like the pitcher he was last year. If Pettitte can not raise his game then he should be focused on helping younger players such as Pineda or Nova (yes. Hughes is a lost cause). If the Yankees starting pitching rotation should look a little something like this if they want to make the wild card at minimum: 1. CC Sabathia 2. Hiroki Kuroda 3. Ivan Nova 4. Michael Pineda 5. Andy Pettitte.
Before the deadline get an everyday infielder
So far this season the Yankees have had three different players play 3B (Kevin Youkilis, David Adams, and Luis Cruz) and will have a fourth in Alex Rodriguez once he returns. At SS there have been four players who have taken the field in Derek Jeter, Jayson Nix, Luis Cruz, and Alberto Gonzalez. My point throughout this is that the Yankees need another everyday infielder to help out Robinson Cano and Derek Jeter (once he returns). Some players that the Yankees seem to be in the hunt for are Placido Polanco and Michael Young who would both be veterans that could help serve a consistent role at the corner infield spot. By the time the deadline has passed the infield should look a little something like this 1B Lyle Overbay 2B Robinson Cano SS Derek Jeter 3B Placido Polanco/Michael Young.
Call up J.R Murphy
The Yankees can not be serious playing Austin Romine and Chris Stewart as everyday catchers when a great prospect who is tearing it up in Scranton is itching to be called up. J.R Murphy is a solid catcher prospect for the Yankees and with Gary Sanchez climbing up the ranks it seems like a huge possibility that those two could be the catchers for the Yankees come opening day in 2014. Murphy is a solid hitter that has been tearing up the minors and in all honesty, Chris Stewart and Austin Romine aren’t anywhere near his level and they are both players with too much MLB experience. I can’t imagine the Yankees attempting to trade for a catcher with Cervelli coming back, but as a short term option J.R Murphy is a great option.
Trade Curtis Granderson
The Yankees have been been solid in the outfield with Zoilo Almonte, Ichiro Suzuki, Vernon Wells, and Brett Gardner picking up the slack for the Yankees while their main man in the outfield, Curtis Granderson has been on the DL for much of the season. The Yankees should look to send Granderson and his contract to another team in hopes of a good deal. The Yankees best option is to package Granderson, Chris Stewart, Jayson Nix, and Phil Hughes for Giancarlo Stanton and Placido Polanco. This deal would work on both ends as it would give the Yankees a slugger in the outfield, and as I stated before, a reliable corner infielder. This deal would work for the Marlins as it would give them four solid players and Phil Hughes would be hit around so much in the NL so he could prove to be an excellent replacement for Ricky Nolasco who left Miami to go to LA.