Changes for the Yankees won’t make a difference unless…

By Rich Mancuso

Lefty-hander Vidal Nuno is an Arizona Diamondback and right-hander Brandon McCarthy comes from Arizona to the Bronx. And the successful return of Alfonso Soriano in Yankees pinstripes that went sour is now over.  Sunday, prior to their series finale with the Twins in Minnesota, the New York Yankees made some changes.

But does this make the Yankees any better and a sure bet to be playing post season baseball in October? Probably not, unless GM Brian Cashman has some other moves in mind before the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline.

Right-hander pitcher Bruce Billings was brought up to help the bullpen. That won’t make an impact except help a Yankees bullpen that has been taxed. The departure of the 38-year old Soriano, designated for assignment, won’t matter that much either. He was a part of the Yankees crowded outfield, hit .221 in 67-games and he has ten days to decide his options.

But, don’t expect Soriano to return again as a Yankee.

Soriano and his home run surge of last year quickly became a brief and good homecoming in his second stint as a Yankee. He had the tendency of swinging at bad pitches this season and the swing was not reminiscent of 2013 when he hit 17 home runs and had 50 RBI, all as a Yankee after being acquired from the Chicago Cubs at the trading deadline.  

If anything, this was the beginning of the Yankees hierarchy trying to send a message to their fans.

The message: We will not stand still. After all, in a mediocre division of the AL East, the Yankees are a .500 team and trailing first place Baltimore by 3.5 games.  It’s a division that in the end will come down to the Yankees, Baltimore and the Toronto Blue Jays.

"We designated Soriano, which is extremely difficult because he's been a great Yankee and been a great player," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We felt we needed some more pitching today, so we called up Billings. Bullpen has been extremely taxed."

Getting McCarthy may have been the option for getting another viable starter with every expectation that CC Sabathia will not return this season and will undergo micro-fracture surgery of the right knee. Add to the fact, Nuno, 3-7, with a 4.78 ERA, had 17 starts with the Yankees and had his ups and downs as a replacement starter for an injured Yankees pitching staff,

McCarthy, 3-10 with a 5.01 ERA this season, is a nine-year veteran with the White Sox, Texas Rangers and Oakland.  The 31-year old has a career 4.21 ERA, so first thought is the Yankees get experience in the rotation but nothing much to help their playoff chances. However, at this juncture, any experience to the pitching rotation won’t hurt.

As for Soriano, he leaves a crowded Yankees outfield and was not making an impact.  That move won’t hurt and Soriano could be picked up by another team and add depth to their bench, a playoff contender would be the best option.

A source said from Minnesota Sunday afternoon, “This is not the beginning of a purge. Just moves that had to be made to shore up the bullpen and maybe lead to something else.”  There is every speculation this time of the season, with teams finding where they are, that the Yankees within reach will be more active before the trade deadline.

Who is next on the trade block, more so than getting an outright release? Money never seems to matter with the Yankees so stay tuned as they obviously need more to take control of a division that can be had.

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