New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman went into the trade deadline with thoughts of strengthening the pitching staff and came out of the deadline empty handed.
Apparently for Cashman, not adding a pitcher is fine by him.
"What these guys are doing is good. Also look at the alternatives we have sitting," said Cashman. "It's not like I'm blowing smoke, trying to promote our guys. No, I believe in our guys."
That might be exactly what he's doing. Nothing short of winning the World Series will be acceptable for Yankee fans, and the team stood pat while the Red Sox landed Erik Bedard, the Rangers dealt for two elite set-up men, and the Indians acquired Ubaldo Jimenez.
More than likely, the Yankees will have to face either Boston or Texas in the playoffs, should all three teams not break down for the last two months of the season.
Cashman seems to have faith that the Yankees will improve with Alex Rodriguez returning, as well as Phil Hughes reemerging for perhaps bullpen duty in the playoffs when a four-man rotation is needed.
The potential four-man playoff rotation would certainly include ace C.C. Sabathia, but after the big left-hander it becomes less certain.
Freddy Garcia has over-achieved this season with a 3.22 earned-run average in more than 117 innings. He is followed by Bartolo Colon who has a 3.30 ERA in 109 innings. Ivan Nova (4.01 ERA in 98 2/3 innings) and A.J. Burnett (4.23 ERA in 138 1/3 innings) also figure prominently in the possible starting rotation in October.
Between now and the start of the playoffs, Cashman seems to believe the starters behind Sabathia will be able to improve or at least continue their production. However, it appears that the Yankees wanted a specific player, and didn't get him.
Dodgers' starter Hiroki Kuroda was rumored to be leaving Los Angeles as the team languished in the National League West. Kuroda decided that he would not waive his no-trade clause, despite sources saying the Yankees were interested.
Of the pitchers that Cashman was targeting (Jimenez, Felix Hernandez, and Heath Bell), Kuroda appeared to be the most attainable since the Yankees would get a quality starter and likely not have to surrender blue-chip prospects. The 36-year-old Japanese right-hander would have been a valuable addition, and would have served as an effective insurance policy should either Garcia, Colon, Nova, or Burnett have a prolonged slump going into the post-season.
With Cashman deciding against pulling a trigger on a deal, he sends the signal that the pitching will hold up, and that top prospects Jesus Montero and Manny Banuelos were too valuable for any deal.
Those points may very well be true. But for a team with high expectations, and not being a clear cut favorite to win the World Series, it's a gamble.