As the baseball clock crept closer to Tuesday's 4 P.M. non-waiver trade deadline, the Yankees were taking calls and making calls and trying to improve themselves. Before the deadline, the Yankees acquired infielder Casey McGehee and $250,000 from the Pirates for reliever Chad Qualls. Since Qualls was likely to be jettisoned once Joba Chamberlain was activated, the Yankees added a potentially useful player for a player who wasn't going to be with them much longer.
While the Yankees also spoke to the Cubs about pitcher Ryan Dempster, one club official said that those discussions weren't very serious. The Yankees might have been interested in adding Dempster if they could have obtained him for a modest price. In the end, the Cubs dealt Dempster to the Rangers for two minor leaguers. With Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz both out for the rest of the season, the Rangers were desperate to add another starting pitcher.
The Yankees weren't necessarily desperate for another hitter, but they were definitely intrigued by McGehee. McGehee was hitting .230 with eight homers and 35 runs batted in for the Pirates this season. But McGehee is also a player who hit 23 homers as recently as 2010. Although McGee was hitting .207 with runners in scoring position this season, he is batting .285 in that department in his career. Willie Randolph, the former Yankee who coached McGehee with the Brewers, called him a solid situational hitter.
"He's a line drive hitter and he hits the ball to all fields," Randolph said. "He's not a swing and miss guy. You can hit and run with him. He's a good guy to have at the plate."
Randolph described McGehee as a "tough grinder" and a player who "has an edge to him." Defensively, Randolph said McGehee will make the routine plays at first and third, but that he had limited range. McGehee mostly played first for the Pirates.
"He will be ready to play," Randolph said. "He's a tough kid. He will fit in well with the Yankees."
Eight days before the deadline, the Yankees made a splashier move when they acquired Ichiro Suzuki from the Mariners for minor league pitchers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar. Entering Tuesday night's game, Suzuki had hits in his first seven games with the Yankees and was batting .259. Manager Joe Girardi said he believes Suzuki will be a stellar player for the Yankees, filling the void left by Brett Gardner's absence.
As the Yankees surveyed the trade market, they factored in the injured players who they expect to return this season. Chamberlain was activated on Tuesday and gives Girardi more flexibility in the bullpen because he can retire right-handed and left-handed batters. In addition, the Yankees expect Andy Pettitte and Alex Rodriguez to return in September. Until then, the Yankees will plow ahead with a roster that was slightly revised when they added McGehee.
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