The Yankees are in first place right now and have a stellar 44-28 record on the season as the All Star break continues to creep up on us. After a rough April, the starting pitching has (for the most part) corrected itself, despite the fact that C.C. Sabathia is not throwing his best ball. And even without Mariano Rivera, the bullpen has been dominant all year long while the offense pounds the baseball for power. Still, even a team as good as the Yankees has some holes, and as the trade market begins to open (Kevin Youkilis has already been traded to the White Sox), the Yankees might be looking around to see if there are any fits to their needs in areas where they could use the help.
A True 3 Hole Hitter
When it comes to a 3 hole hitter, I think you want someone who gets on base a lot – a .400 OBP guy. This guy is probably always right around .300 with his batting average but has enough power to hit it over the wall a few times a month… and the Yankees don’t really have a hitter like this. ARod is probably the closest right now, but the Yankees aren’t paying him all that money to get on base – they want Home Runs out of him. Still, hitting 3rd is probably the best place for ARod, even if he doesn’t exactly fit the mold. Robinson Cano just doesn’t get on base enough to hit 3rd, but the clean up spot is probably the best place for him going forward. I don’t see the Yankees finding a guy like this via trade this year.
Base Stealing Speed
With Brett Gardner on the shelf, the Yankees just don’t have a lot of speed. Curtis Granderson can really move, but that’s about it. Sure, I wouldn’t call Derek Jeter or ARod slow, but when Gardner returns, it’ll help the Yankees outfield and offense a lot with the addition of his legs alone.
Nobody on this team can bunt – I guess Jeter can, but that’s about it. Well, Ivan Nova laid down a nice bunt in DC (or was it Atlanta?), but that’s not especially helpful. I don’t love the bunt, but it’d be nice if the Yankees could actually do it considering Joe Girardi loves bunting.
OBP, AVG Hitters
The Yankees are at 115 home runs already this season, the most in the majors. Meanwhile, only Jeter and Cano are at .300 and only Gardner has an OBP over .400, and he hardly played at all this season.
Still, the Yankees are in first place, despite these flaws. I don’t see much getting corrected (besides whatever Gardner brings with him when he returns), but if their pitching holds up, it probably doesn’t matter.