May is coming to a close. The Yankees have performed pretty well over all, but it doesn’t exactly feel that way. The feel the team has is more of a “treading water” type feel. We’re just kind of waiting things out, hoping for that proverbial lifeboat in the form of a big midseason acquisition. We had the idea that the Yankees would do this as soon as we knew that the starting rotation would not include Cliff Lee or Andy Pettitte, but we’re still not sure what that lifeboat will be.
Over at RAB last week, Mike profiled the possibilities of the “in house” options, the guys who are injured, but could still come back. Of the two Mike talked about, Phil Hughes would probably have the biggest impact. After all, he’s a starting pitcher and those guys tend to have more impact than bullpen guys, even if it is the “eighth inning guy” in the person of Rafael Soriano. I doubt, though, that we should be expecting much from Phil Hughes this season. His injury seems pretty serious, whatever it is, and we shouldn’t be counting on him. If he can come back, though, and be effective, it will undoubtedly help the team. His re-emergence would boot someone out of the rotation–it’s got to be Ivan Nova at this point, no?–in favor of a possibly better arm. But if we can’t count on him, on whom can we count? Well, no one, really. There are no guarantees in this game, but that doesn’t mean we can’t consider the outside options.
Larry looked at the options from the White Sox and I think that’s the most logical spot to start. Chicago is wildly underperforming expectations in 2011 and when that happens, there’s always a chance that players become available. Hell, we’d kind of been counting on that, regardless of how the White Sox’s season turned out.
This note from Heyman via MLBTR says that Edwin Jackson could be the first South Sider made available since he’s due to hit free agency, so let’s roll with him. I’ve never been a big fan of Jackson’s and this year’s ERA–4.63–is proving me right. However, that’s unfair. His FIP has been solid at 3.23 and his xFIP is 3.31. It would appear that Jackson is due for a correction, and he does have good peripherals otherwise. His walk rate isn’t unacceptably high at 3.31 per nine and he’s bordering on eight strikeouts per nine (7.81 to be exact). His 45.9% ground ball rate is also encouraging. He’s decreased his HR numbers a bit this year (0.66 this year, 1.03 career) and his strand rate is right in line with his career numbers. The only thing different seems to be a .352 BABIP, thanks to a 24.2 LD%. His tRA+, courtesy of StatCorner, is 91 which tells us Jackson is getting hit hard. Still, there are enough positive signs out there to think an ERA correction could be coming and now might be the time to buy low on Jackson.
Jackson is due to make $8.35M this season, so a trade to acquire him would not mean taking on an unmanageable amount of money and we know the Yankees are not afraid to do that. That will always help the Yankees in their trade negotiations since they can, generally, take on more money than other teams can, but that doesn’t mean they’re able to forgo giving up players. I’m tempted to say that eating all of Jackson’s remaining contract and throwing in a C prospect would be enough to acquire Jackson, but that’s too low. I think we would have to bump that up to a B prospect to ensure Jackson’s arrival in the Bronx. I might do that; I’m not entirely sure, but if push came to shove, I could do that. What about you?