The Yankees were certainly not the most active team at the trade deadline, and to make matters worse the Blue Jays got better by adding Troy Tulowitzki and Ben Revere in separate deals to boost their already potent offense, and David Price was brought in from Detroit to bolster what was a weak starting rotation. The Orioles improved as well by getting Gerardo Parra from the Brewers. The Rays are in the thick of it too, and all three teams are set to make the AL East race competitive again. With the loss of Michael Pineda for what could be up to a month with a forearm strain, the Bombers suddenly look vulnerable.
The Yankees took themselves out of the running for another bullpen piece like the Padres’ Craig Kimbrel or the Reds’ Aroldis Chapman when they refused to part with their elite prospects. And other than Dustin Ackley, the Yankees never seemed to be active in trying to acquire another bat. Rumors stated that the Yankees bid on Cole Hamels, but they never landed him or any such starter of his caliber, which they really could have used.
So can Dustin Ackley carry the freight and help the Yankees hold off the rest of the AL East? His numbers this season don’t indicate that. Ackley is batting just .215 with six homers and 19 RBIs this season. This is well below his career averages of .242, 12 homers and 56 RBIs. He’s also averaged 50 walks per season in his professional career, this year he is at just 14. It’s possible the change of scenery and switch to the more hitter-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium will wake him up a bit, but even if it does the Yankees are still lacking in the starting pitching department.
The Yankees rotation is the fourth-worst in the American League and 23rd in the majors in ERA at 4.39. The opponent batting average against Yankee starters is an alarming .275 (only the Twins have surrendered a higher average in the AL) and Yankee starters have served up 79 homers this year (fourth-worst in the AL).
The Yankees will turn to blue-chip prospect Luis Severino to try and fill the void left by Pineda; he has a 7-0 record in Triple-A with a 1.91 ERA, which is astoundingly good. If Severino can continue that kind of dominance at the major league level, it would be a huge boon for the Bombers. But as long as the $23-million-a-year human pitching machine C.C. Sabathia and lemon Nathan Eovaldi continue to make starts, the Yankees will have to produce runs in bunches to stay afloat.
The Yankees control their destiny to an extent; they will play the Blue Jays 13 times between now and the end of the season and will face the Orioles six times, including in the season-ending series at Camden Yards.