The Yankees sit 2½ games behind the Red Sox in the AL East and half a game out of the last wild card spot. Considering their injuries, it's a miracle they're still in contention. They're either going to need to get healthy fast or make some moves if they want to get to the postseason.
Needs (likelihood to deal for position in italics)
Starting pitching-Low: The staff as a whole has been solid, but they could use a replacement for fifth starter Phil Hughes. Michael Pineda comes off of the disabled list soon and I'd expect him to replace Hughes immediately. If Pineda can stay healthy, I think it's unlikely they make a move here.
Right Field-Low: The Yankees are paying Ichiro $6.5 million to post an OPS of .650. He still plays great defense in right field, but at what point is great defense not enough? My guess is it hasn't reached that point yet for the Yankees and they don't do anything here.
First Base, Shortstop, Left Field and Third Base-Low: Lyle Overbay, Jayson Nix, Vernon Wells and David Adams have been filling in (and mostly poorly) at these positions while Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Kevin Youkilis and Alex Rodriguez recover. If any of those five have setbacks in their rehabs, the Yankees are going to have to look to upgrade. If Rodriguez gets suspended, they'll have to figure out if they're OK with Youkilis at third.
Catcher-High: The Yankees have been playing Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli here and while Cervelli has been good when healthy (he's on the disabled list right now), it seems doubtful he'll maintain his current level of play.
Fits on the Cub Roster
This is a team where Alfonso Soriano makes a lot of sense. The Yankees have all lefties in the outfield and at designated hitter. Soriano could play full-time in the outfield or he could serve as a right-handed bat. David DeJesus and Nate Schierholtz could also be options if the Yankees want an offensive upgrade at a corner outfield spot. If third base injuries/suspensions linger for the Yankees, Cody Ransom and Luis Valbuena could enter the picture. Dioner Navarro is a guy that should interest the Yankees as well.
What's in it for the Cubs?
Ranked the 14th- and 11th-best organization for talent by Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America, respectively, this is a farm system heavy on outfield talent that has seen most of its top prospects struggle this year. Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott and Tyler Austin are a trio of highly thought of outfield prospects that have more or less struggled at their levels so far this year. They're also probably completely out of play considering the parts on the Cubs that would interest the Yankees. The same goes for catching prospect Gary Sanchez, who is having a solid year at high-A.
While the Yankees don't have any pitching studs, they do have a few pitching prospects in their second tier of prospects. Jose Campos came over in the Pineda/Jesus Montero trade and after getting hurt last year, he's struggled a bit this year. He's striking guys out and limiting his walks, but he's given up a lot of hits (which may mean he's been unlucky). Brett Marshall is a right handed starter who has struggled so far in Triple-A this year. Ty Hensley, the Yankees' first round pick last year out of high school, has been solid in a very small sample early this year.
The guy that's made the biggest jump in the Yankees' farm system this year is Rafael De Paula. De Paula is a flame thrower whose story resembles that of Cubs' prospect Juan Carlos Paniagua (identity problems, visa issues). At 22 in Low-A this year, he struck out a whopping 13.4 batters/nine innings before he was promoted to High-A. A pen arm that could interest the Cubs is Mark Montgomery, although he's struggled a little bit lately with his command.
Overall Fit- Low
Could be a landing spot for the Cubs' corner outfielders and they do have some intriguing arms. That said, if the Yankees get healthy, they may not decide to make many moves. Alfonso Soriano and Dioner Navarro seem like the only two guys that are good fits regardless of the Yankees' injury problems.
Next Up: Toronto Blue Jays