Countdown to the Trade Deadline

The clock is ticking down to the Trade Deadline at 4 p.m. ET, and we’re waiting to find out if Yankees general manager Brian Cashman will be able to pull the trigger on anything to upgrade the roster between now and then.

The Yankees already made one late July addition by acquiring outfielder Alfonso Soriano from the Cubs — at Hal Steinbrenner’s urging, as it turned out — and while there are certainly areas of the roster that could use tweaking, it has appeared that the Yankees were leaning toward either a minor move or no move at all before the non-waivers period expires.

It’s not a great market. There was talk that the Yankees were in on infielder Alberto Callaspo before he was traded by the Angels to the Athletics last night. The White Sox have been trying to drum up a market for outfielder Alex Rios, but the Yankees seem to have made their outfield move with Soriano and it’s a head-scratcher how Rios would fit in.

With Alex Rodriguez expected to be disciplined by Major League Baseball very soon (perhaps tomorrow?), the Yanks would probably get involved if Michael Young told the Phillies that he’d consider going to the Bronx. As of now, Young is believed to be willing to go only back to the Rangers or perhaps to the Red Sox.

You already saw a first Biogenesis deal last night as the Tigers traded for Jose Iglesias, a fit for them at shortstop in case Jhonny Peralta gets hit with a suspension. Third base production is obviously a need for a Yankees team that, right now, is plugging in Jayson Nix, Brent Lillibridge and maybe Eduardo Nunez. There was some guessing earlier this month that the Yankees might talk to the Twins about Justin Morneau, but now it looks like they’re more inclined to stick with Lyle Overbay.

The Yankees could dangle Phil Hughes as a trade chip, but he’s in the midst of an inconsistent season and they might prefer to keep the potential Draft compensation attached to him. There isn’t thought to be much of a market for Joba Chamberlain, as it’s a hard sell for the Yankees to tell a contending team that Chamberlain is a ready-made fit to plug into the late innings of a bullpen since they obviously don’t believe that themselves.

Actually, if the Yankees were inclined to sell – and they aren’t – the four players they could probably bring the most return for would be Robinson Cano, Hiroki Kuroda, David Robertson and Ivan Nova. None of those players seem to be floating around the trade market right now. The Soriano move proved that the Yankees are not selling, even if they’re not exactly aggressive buyers at this point.

Even if the Yankees stand pat, Andy Pettitte said last night he believes the players in the room can get it done and punch a ticket to October.

“I just feel like this team’s got a lot of experience, and hopefully we can just will this thing — will it into the playoffs,” Pettitte said. “I know I expect to go. And I’m sure and I hope everyone else in this room feels the same way. I think the power of belief is awfully big and awfully important. And I believe in this club.

“I believe we’ve got the guys in this room to do it, and we’re going to continue to try to push each other and get it done. And the only way to do that is to stay positive and not let anything get inside here and interfere with that, and that’s what we’re going to do and I’m hoping it works out. That’s not a guarantee but we’re going to stay positive, try to grind this thing out and hopefully get rolling.”

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