This was a good trip for the Yankees. They did what they needed to do against two of the weaker teams in the American League, and they’re coming home still in first place in the American League East. Their third baseman is back, their MVP candidate is thriving and their two young starters are grabbing ahold of rotation spots. Just a few thoughts right before Erik Boland, Wally Matthews and I get on the plane.
• With guys like Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano surging, the Yankees lineup looks really, really deep with Alex Rodriguez added to the middle. I know some people would have preferred a drastic shakeup, but there was no sense looking too far outside the box. Going back to the May batting order made sense.
• If Eric Chavez is playing against right-handers and Andruw Jones against left-handers, those dwindling Jorge Posada at-bats are going to become really tough to find.
• Russell Martin’s been somewhat inconsistent at the plate, but he’s such a power threat that he’s been a productive part of that lineup. Given the bat and the glove, Martin might be playing his way into a role next season as well. He’s arbitration eligible, and having Martin around could make it easy to break in Jesus Montero.
• It’s becoming harder and harder to so much as think about taking Ivan Nova or Phil Hughes out of the rotation. If the Yankees won’t move A.J. Burnett, is Bartolo Colon the most logical option? The workload seems to be affecting him, and he could shine in that relief role he had out of spring training.
• Ian Kennedy is pitching very well in Arizona, but I still the Yankees would make that trade.
• If Burnett were in the last year of his contract like Javier Vazquez was last year, then the rotation situation might be different. But the Yankees have to think about Burnett beyond this season. Long-term, it’s in their best interest to try to get him right and not just give up on him. Whether they can afford to do that in this division race is debatable.
• This team has exactly one player who wasn’t in the organization on Opening Day. It’s Cory Wade, and he’s really been a terrific signing.
•There were a few times this season that I though Luis Ayala might be DFA, but he’s stuck around and pitched well in a limited role. Unless he’s designated for Garcia this weekend — DFA someone right before September call-ups? — he’ll be one of the more obscure minor league signings to stick.
• Is everyone still worried about Mariano Rivera?
Associated Press photo