If ever there was a Yankees team that seemed like a sure bet to make a move at the trading deadline, it was this one.
They had clear holes on their roster, a farm system stocked with players to use as bait for upgrades, plenty of money in the bank to use on additions and, as always, expectations that fall only slightly below creating world piece and solving the debt crisis. That, dear friends, is a recipe that makes it very hard to sit back and say that everything is just fine the way it is.
That's just what Brian Cashman did this weekend, however. For the first time since 2002, he let the July 31st trade deadline pass without making a deal to bolster his team for the stretch run.
There were discussions, obviously. The Yankees talked to the Astros about Wandy Rodriguez, to the Padres about Heath Bell and plenty of others, but never found a deal they liked enough to force them to pull the trigger.
It's not all that hard to understand why Cashman made that choice. The Rodriguez case is a perfect example.
He's done well for the Astros as a starting pitcher and has a contract that reflects that. He's owed at least $25.5 million through 2013 and the Yankees wanted the Astros to pick up a healthy portion of that in order to make a deal for a pitcher who would almost certainly struggle to find similar success in the AL East.
The Astros refused so the Yankees walked away from the deal. Given Cashman's statements after the deadline, it was something they did quite a bit lately.
"You always want to improve on your pitching, but how realistic is it? I was very comfortable walking away from any of the opportunities I had. We'll pay the price, and the players we give up are good, but it's got to be a worthwhile deal for both clubs."
Still, a trading deadline without a move from the Yankees feels like a romantic comedy without a montage set to upbeat music that shows our hero/heroine getting on with their life in triumphant fashion. It's just not how these things are supposed to work, even if you can come up with a plausible narrative to explain why such things aren't necessary.
Cashman is taking just as big a risk by going all in with this group as he would if he traded Jesus Montero for a player to help them over the next three months. That group has been good enough for the Yankees to be comfortably in playoff position after closing July with seven wins in 10 games.
What we don't know is if that group, especially that rotation, will be good enough to make it deep into October. Cashman's feeling, one that's hard to argue with, is that they weren't going to gain much certainty about a playoff run by dealing for anyone that was on the market.
This doesn't mean there's no chance of help coming before the playoffs. Teams can still make trades if players pass through waivers and big salaried players, like Rodriguez, will be there in case Cashman changes his mind about making a deal.
Everyone expects the Yankees to make deals simply because they're Yankees. Perhaps it is doing the unexpected -- like skipping the montage in favor of actual character development and a coherent plot -- that will make for the biggest box office hit.