The Yankees have won six straight to open the second half, and they probably couldn’t have picked a worse time to do it. That’s because today is the front office’s pre-trade-deadline meeting in Tampa, where Brian Cashman, the Steinbrenner brothers, and a cast of thousands will begin to determine whether the team is good enough as is or if it will need reinforcements before July 31. And based on their play in the last week, they might just think the club can get by with starting Brett Gardner in left, handing Darrell Rasner the ball every five days, and going without a useful lefty in the bullpen.
It’s no secret that this is an imperfect Yankees team as it stands now — one that’s proven it’s just as capable of winning six in a row as it is of, say, losing six out of seven. And the front office has indicated it’ll go for it this season, which should come as no surprise, as that’s been Hank Steinbrenner’s general philosophy since he advocated the win-now approach last winter in the Johan Santana negotiations. But they’ve been uncharacteristically hesitant to part with prospects since GM Brian Cashman got his authority put into writing in 2005, and it stands to reason that if they feel they can win without having to give up youth to land, for example, Pittsburgh’s Xavier Nady, they will.
Right now, the team is winning. Mike Mussina has thirteen victories, less than a year removed from being yanked from the rotation. Kyle Farnsworth, who was so reviled that “Anyone But Farnsworth” T-shirts were being sold on River Avenue, is suddenly unhittable. And, inexplicably, they’ve won all of Sidney Ponson’s starts. But what about when Mussina loses three in a row? Or Farnsworth returns to being Farnsworth? Or when Ponson is no longer getting ten runs per game of support? Put it this way: Losing a couple of games to Boston this weekend would bring them back down to earth, and that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. —Joe DeLessio