The drumbeat started a couple of minutes after Cliff Lee decided to sign with the Phillies as a free agent and hasn't really quieted down since then. If anything, it has gotten louder.
The Yankees need to trade for a starting pitcher! The Yankees need to trade for a STARTING PITCHER! THE YANKEES NEED TO TRADE FOR A STARTING PITCHER!
No amount of good pitching from Bartolo Colon or perfectly decent efforts by Freddy Garcia have done a thing to stop the entire baseball world from considering a trade to be an eventuality on par with tomorrow's sunrise. Now that the trading deadline is just 33 days away, the sound from the gallery will be amplified even more.
There could wind up being a lot of people with sore throats and no pitchers to show for it. Right now, it appears that the Yankees would be making a trade simply for the sake of making a trade.
Brian Cashman said as much to Joel Sherman of the Post. He summed up the trade market pretty succinctly by making a reference to pitchers currently on the disabled list.
"I don’t think I can trade for any starter that is better than Bartolo Colon or Phil Hughes, or a reliever better than Rafael Soriano," Cashman said.
That hits the nail right on the head. Sure, the Yankees could go out and spend some prospects to pick up Ryan Dempster, Brett Myers or some other veteran starter of modest results but doing so wouldn't do much to change their chances of winning a title this season because it wouldn't do much to change the quality of their rotation.
We won't even spend much time on the prospect of dealing for another pricey veteran reliever. Cashman's negative reaction to signing Soriano said volumes, and recent Yankee history with deals of this nature tells you the rest of the story.
What any of these trades would do is increase their depth, which is nice for the 162-game marathon but starting pitching depth isn't what wins in a short October series. Quality trumps quantity every time in the pitching department and that's why all the screaming in the world could wind up amounting to nothing.
What the Yankees need to alter the equation is a top-shelf starter, someone like the Lee that got away and started this whole thing, and there isn't one on the market right now. You can't discount the possibility that someone falls into their laps in the next month, but you don't need a crystal ball to know that buying chuck and calling it filet mignon isn't going to fool anyone.