Recent injuries to starting pitchers C.C. Sabathia and Andy Pettitte came as a scare to the New York Yankees. Despite the absence of these two key pitchers, the Yankees have managed to stay on track due to reliable pitching from Hiroki Kiroda, Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova.
Due to strained muscle in his left leg, Sabathia was put on the 15-day disabled list, and looks to be back in action quickly after All-Star break. Conversely, Pettitte suffered a much more serious injury.
After taking a ground ball to the ankle in a game against the Cleveland Indians, Pettitte left the mound and was later diagnosed with a fractured fibula. It's expected that the veteran left-hander will miss no less than six weeks of action.
Pettitte's scary ankle injury has now given the Yankees even more motive to add depth to their rotation.
Chicago Cubs starting pitchers Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster are two names that have popped as possible trade targets for the past couple of weeks.
Garza hasn't had the greatest numbers this year for the Cubs, posting a record of 4-6 and a 4.01 ERA, but has shown signs of improvement by winning two of his last three starts. Dempster has been on the DL for the majority of the season, but is expected to make a return to the major leagues by the middle of July. A move for Garza seems to be more likely for New York, rather than waiting for Dempster to be activated in mid-July.
The Cubs have reportedly requested two younger prospects in return for either of the starting pitchers New York has enough minor league talent to sacrifice in a trade for Garza or Dempster.
Another pitching talent that has found himself at the center trade rumors is the Milwaukee Brewer's Zack Greinke. Unlike Garza, Greinke has had a solid season with the Brewers, achieving a record of 9-2.
Greinke has the best track record of any starter on the market. He's a former Cy Young Award winner with a career ERA of 3.76. New York might be able to get him on the cheap because he is a free agent in 2013.
The biggest question concerning Greinke is his the prospect of him pitching in the biggest market in the country. He's suffered from anxiety in the past, and the Yankees may be reluctant to trade for a player who might have trouble adjusting to New York.
Between Garza, Dempster and Greinke, the Yankees have the most interest in Garza due to his fairly young age (28) and past success in the American League.
With Pettitte out for possible two more months, Freddy Garcia or David Phelps will have to become a fixture in the team's rotation. Garcia has struggled mightily in 2012, pitching to a 5.94 ERA. Phelps has been a pleasant surprise for the Yankees, but New York might be unwilling to put their trust in a rookie.
If the Yankees don't feel that they have enough to withstand the loss of Pettitte, they are in a position where they can afford to give up a few prospects for a solid starting pitcher.