With the trade deadline four weeks away, the A’s wasted no time making their big move. Last night’s trade for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel — both of them! — gave Oakland remarkable pitching depth heading into the All-Star break. The A’s have been the best team in the American League, and now they’ve made what might hold up as the biggest trade of the year.
“They were aggressive,” Joe Girardi said. “They had some pretty good prospects that the Cubs liked, so they’re obviously going for it.”
Question is, do the Yankees need to do something similar to help their own rotation? Chase Whitley is already approaching his career-high in innings, Vidal Nuno has been unreliable (at best), and the Yankees would rather not lean too heavily on Hiroki Kuroda in an effort to avoid his usual late-season struggles.
“We don’t have the depth that we had,” Girardi said. “Are there some adjustments that we could possibly make if we had to? Yeah. But coming out of spring training, you knew we had Nuno, Warren, and Phelps, guys who had started before, if you needed a start in a pinch or someone went on the DL for a couple weeks. But we don’t necessarily have that experience now. I’d say the guy with the most starts and the most built up in the minor leagues is Greene. And he’s starting to throw better, but we don’t have a ton of depth right now.”
Although David Huff is slightly more stretched out than he was when he came to the Yankees, Girardi said there has been no change to put Huff in the rotation ahead of either Whitley or Nuno. With CC Sabathia no longer on the horizon, the Yankees need for some sort of rotation help seems both obvious and unavoidable.
“It alters it some, definitely,” Girardi said. “That’s obviously more depth (if) you’re getting CC back, but there’s still a lot of things that we have to (do), in a sense. That’s one guy, but you have to get distance out of some other guys as well. But it definitely alters it.”
• When he met with the media, Girardi sounded completely unconcerned about Brian McCann’s sore left foot. After batting practice, though, McCann was scratched because of the injury. This will be the second game in a row that he’s missed. Here’s the new lineup:
Derek Jeter SS
Brian Roberts 2B
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Carlos Beltran DH
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Alfonso Soriano LF
Francisco Cervelli C
Zelous Wheeler 3B
• Healthy day off for Brett Gardner. “I don’t remember the last time Gardy had a day off. I really don’t,” Girardi said. “Think about, he’s played a bunch of days in a row. He had two day games after night games. He’s about the only guy that hasn’t had a day off. I was watching him run, and you could see him stretching a lot. You get a little bit concerned, so you just take the initiative. You know what, I’m going to give you a day.”
• Girardi said he talked to Sabathia yesterday just to try to pass along some encouraging words. “I told him, we’re going to get through this,” Girardi said. “You’ve got to stay positive and we’re going to get through it. We don’t know what the course of action is going to be, but stay positive.”
• Speaking of injured pitchers, there’s still some chance of Michael Pineda pitching late this year. “He’s playing catch,” Girardi said. “He’s up to 90 feet. I think the hope is that at the end of the week, next week, we start to get him on a mound.” Girardi said it’s probably a six-week process or so from the time Pineda gets back on a mound. So maybe late August at the earliest?
• Dellin Betances is not available today. Girardi said he would check with Dave Robertson, who might be available.
• With Huff surely unavailable after going three innings yesterday, the Yankees really need Phelps to pitch fairly deep in this game. “Oh, I think they’re aware of it, but they don’t ever go out thinking, I only want to pitch three innings,” Girardi said. “They go out thinking they want to pitch nine every time, but we do need some distance out of David.”
• If there’s a Yankees upside to the A’s trade, it’s the fact that two available pitchers landed outside of the American League East. “Really glad,” Girardi said. “And we don’t have to play them anymore.”
Associated Press photos