(Will the original "Yankee 5th Starter Competition Pageant" winner still be in pinstripes at year's end?)
Guess that Chase Headley thing was never going to work out, huh? Good thing I didn't expect it to, although I did tip my hand a little with a couple of my pipe dream guys. If the Yanks added Lucroy and Stanton at the deadline, I think I'd take a day off of work to celebrate. I also don't expect that to happen, but I do have some ideas about what I do and don't think will happen before the July 31st deadline. The Yankees can't sit and be inactive, that's the only thing they can't do. Whether they are buyers, sellers, or both, they need to do something. Before the deadline passes and the dust settles, here's what I think they'll do.
1) Phil Hughes Will Stay a Yankee
I think Cash is dying to get rid of Hughes. He's probably the biggest prospect miss out of the ones who made the show under Cash's watch and Cash wants to get something valuable out of him before he leaves for a new deal after the season. I just don't see the Yankees finding a real partner with a willingness to meet their asking price, and with the contingency plan they already have in place for Hughes it doesn't seem like they'll be willing to lower that price much if at all. The market also doesn't seem to be there for him at the moment, unless there's stuff going on that we don't know about. I think in the end the Yanks hold onto Hughes, move him to the 'pen some time in August, and offer him a 1-year qualifier after the season.
2) Joba Will Be Dumped for Marginal Prospects a/o FA Pool Money
Not being able to rid himself of Hughes is going to make Cash want to get rid of Joba even more. He might be a little easier in terms of suitors because of the starter/reliever option and his age than Hughes, but he's becoming almost impossible to bring back any value in return because of how badly he's pitching. There's really no role for Joba on this team anymore, he's taking up roster space. Still, I don't see the team outright releasing him as a final slap in the face and acknowledgement that they botched his career. Cash will find somebody to offer a decent mid-level prospect and some pool money, which the Yankees are in the market for, and be done with it.
3) The Yanks Will Add Another Bullpen Arm
It might not be one that ever even makes it onto the Major League roster, but the jettisoning of Joba will be paired with a really small move - on the scale of Almonte for Kelley or lower - to add an arm to at least stash away in the Triple-A bullpen. The Yankees will have more spare parts than they know what to do with when people start coming off the DL. If somebody wants to take a flier on Melky Mesa for an underused guy with a decent heater, Cash will make that move all day and open a 40-man roster spot. If they get somebody who's actually useful, even better.
4) The Yanks Will Trade For a Righty Bat Nobody's Talking About
My prediction is the Phillies will hold onto all their chips and try to make a run at the Wild Card in the second half, in the same half-hearted way the Yanks appear to be doing it, and won't work to create any deal for Michael Young. After him, the other righty bat guys the Yanks like all come with warts and whether he makes it happen or not I think Cash will be examining any and all possibilities to find a good bat. Maybe Michael Morse, maybe Alfonso Soriano. Maybe someone nobody ever even thought of. The Yanks have been good at pulling off the out-of-nowhere trade in recent years and they need to upgrade their lineup badly. Seems like this would be the place to pull the out-of-nowhere move.
So there you have it. Everything you need to know about where the Yankees stand heading into the deadline and what we should expect them to do. As of right now it's down to 12 days and counting before the end of the month and things should start to heat up this week. Things are never dull in Yankeeland at the trade deadline and hopefully they aren't at this one. There's been even dullness on the field already.