By now, almost everybody has had a chance to catch up on the big story to come out of last night, that being the Yankees' decision to send Adam Warren back to the bullpen. They announced that Nathan Eovaldi would make the start tomorrow, effectively removing Warren from the rotation and sending him back to where he was originally supposed to be. The argument for why Warren deserved to go when he's outperformed former fellow starters CC Sabathia and Nathan Eovaldi is both a valid and unnecessary one, as this was always the move the Yankees were going to make. Further beating that dead horse case into the ground won't change the decision, so rather than dwell on it let's move forward from it and use it as a launch pad to look ahead over the next month.
The return of Ivan Nova is what really led to the Warren decision, and depending on how you want to look at it, that return can act as the Yankees' version of adding a starter at the trade deadline. With Nova taking Warren's spot, the Yanks now have Warren and Chris Capuano who could step back into the rotation in a pinch as well as prospects Bryan Mitchell and Luis Severino available to do the same. The depth is certainly there to cover for additional rotation injuries, even if the depth of talent is questionable.
Nova was not the only key Yankee on the DL at the time of his return, and he won't be the only one to come back and help bolster the soft underbelly of the active roster. In the weeks to come, the Yankees expect to get their starting center fielder/leadoff hitter (Jacoby Ellsbury) and closer (Andrew Miller) back. Ellsbury has already begun his MiL rehab assignment and could return as early as this week. Matt questioned how aggressive and even active the Yankees will be at the deadline last Friday, and with that in mind I took a quick stab at projecting what the active roster could look like once Ellsbury and Miller return:
Starting Lineup: Ellsbury, Gardner, A-Rod, Teix, McCann, Beltran, Headley, Didi, Drew
Starting Rotation: Tanaka, Pineda, Sabathia, Eovaldi, Nova
Bullpen: Miller, Betances, Warren, Shreve, Wilson, Rumbelow or whoever, Mitchell/Capuano
Bench: Murphy, Young, Jones, Pirela
Naturally this assumes that nobody else is going to get hurt over the next month and that the Yankees will not promote any more Triple-A prospects to replace guys. Based on the way they've gone about handling the situation at second base, I feel pretty confident in that second assumption.
Looking at that group, I think I'm seeing the same things Matt was seeing last week. The lineup isn't bad provided guys are still hitting, the bench is as flexible as its going to get, and the bullpen is much deeper and better than it is today. The back ends of the 'pen and the rotation will need improvements, but will the Yankees be willing to pursue the top names available to make those improvements? If they're as close as they are right now to the division and Wild Card races, I highly doubt it. New or re-occurring injuries could certainly change that plan, but right now it looks like the most help the Yankees are going to get leading up to the deadline will come from the returns of their own guys.