It’s unlike the New York Yankees and general manager Brian Cashman to toe the line of coming up empty at a trade deadline when there is such a glaring need visible before the stretch run.
But with the Major League Baseball trade deadline just hours away on Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET, the Yankees have yet to pick up a starting pitcher to bolster a shaky rotation.
The pitching market has been an enigmatic one this summer as the availability of big names waiver or moves elsewhere.
One of the team’s biggest trade targets, Marcus Stroman, was sent to the Mets — who are not in a pennant race nor nearly as desperate for consistent arms.
The San Francisco Giants look as though they won’t deal Madison Bumgarner — one of the game’s greatest postseason pitchers — after a summer hot streak that throttled the organization back toward playoff contention.
Then there has been varying degrees of interest surrounding Trevor Bauer of the Cleveland Indians, Mike Minor of the Texas Rangers, Robbie Ray of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and his teammate, Zack Greinke.
Despite their usual standing as a major player in the trade market — and as an always-attractive destination — the Yankees are not favored to land any of those arms. At least, at the moment.
Cashman would have some explaining to do if the Yankees whiff on a starter. And the chances of that happening seem to increase with each passing minute.
A report from the New York Daily News on Monday revealed that the Yankees may pivot their gameplan and acquire another big bullpen arm. That doesn’t necessarily portray the sense of urgency that most Yankees fans were hoping for this summer.
Obviously, there is still time to pull off that all-important trade for a starter, but could the organization be looking at the impending return of Luis Severino as a later trade-deadline acquisition?
That remains to be seen, for now.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone provided an update on the injured ace over the weekend, stating that Severino could begin throwing off a mound within the next week.
The 25-year-old right-hander has not thrown a single pitch in the majors this season as he continues to recover from a lat strain.
As it stands, Severino could be back by September, giving the Yankees a month or so to reacclimate him to the majors for the postseason.
At his best, he was the undisputed ace of the Yankees rotation last year before the heavy workload of a full MLB season wore him out in the second half. Should Severino return promptly, he’ll be as fresh as ever for the final month of the season and the playoffs, which could be seen as the best add-on the Yankees could make given the circumstances.
For the time being, another bullpen arm would allow the Yankees to keep experimenting with openers for the time being if Boone loses faith in his rotation — especially with CC Sabathia on the 10-day IL.
Then when Severino returns, the starting staff has a one-month tryout to prove they can contribute to World Series title No. 28.