As you probably already know, New York Yankees starter CC Sabathia’s degenerative right knee condition took a turn for the worst last week, and skipper Joe Girardi confirmed that the lefty’s 2014 campaign is over.
The fact that none of the five teams within the division can grasp a foothold on it has been the Yankees saving grace to this point.
Last night with Tanaka on the bump, the Yankees lost to the Indians, 5-3 putting them just a game over .500 at 45-44.
They also pushed themselves back another half-game further from the first place Orioles, who now have a four game lead ahead of the third place Yankees.
With the trade deadline looming, a shortage of top prospects and a need for rotation help, the Yankees will have to pay to play.
And the Yankees brass would be stupid not to open their wallets with the AL East still ripe for the taking.
But who is left that can help fill a void and propel the Yankees to win the division?
Well, there was Cubs Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel but the Athletics already nabbed them.
Rays have made it known that ace David Price is on the block. But Price will not come cheap and the likelihood of Tampa sending him to a divisional rival is slim to none.
One rumor, according to the New York Daily News is that the Yankees could go after 35-year old veteran Cliff Lee. Lee has been sidelined since beginning of May with an elbow injury, but he is slated to make a rehab start later this week.
Now, I realize Yankees fans are going berserk over this idea, as I did when I first heard that Lee was even a possibility. But when I thought about it more, I realized that if Lee’s elbow proves healthy in his rehab starts acquiring him might just work.
The Phillies owe Lee between $50 – $60 million through 2016, and you can bet the City of Brotherly Love would be elated to get that money off their books. And since money is something the Yankees have a plethora of, getting Lee is in their reach.
It makes no sense for the Yankees to completely wipe their farm system of all minor league talent left for an arm like John Danks.
Lee will not command what Samardzija or Price would prospect-wise, and the Yankees take on the majority of his salary.
There has been chatter about the Yankees going after Lee’s teammate, Cole Hamels but reality is the Phillies will command a lot more his services.
Honestly, Lee is not my first choice but he might be the Yankees only one pending he is healthy. True, he is a shell of what he was, but Lee is experienced and has proven he pitch in high leverage situation.
Bottom line is the Yankees cannot hope that 37-year old Hiroki Kuroda won’t sputter post All-Star Break again; and with an already over-worked bullpen, getting pitching help could be the difference maker come October.
I know trading for Lee is a risk, but in my opinion it is one where the reward could be worth it.
I would love to know what you think about Lee donning the Yankees pinstripes in 2014?
And if your response is no, please give your solution in a comment below.