6 second-half questions for Yankees

.500 Yankees exit the All-Star break hoping to claw back into contention
07/17/2014 2:27 PM ET
By staff

What will the Yankees do at the Trade Deadline?

The Yankees exit the All-Star break stuck at .500 and facing numerous injuries to the starting rotation. General manager Brian Cashman has already moved to add starting pitching, making trades to acquire right-hander Brandon McCarthy to go with left-hander Jeff Francis. Some rotation help remains available, such as a potential reunion with Chien-Ming Wang or a long-sought after acquisition of Cliff Lee.

Unfortunately, the rotation isn't the team's only pressing issue, which could force Cashman to seek help for the lineup, as well.'s Lou DiPietro suggested a number of names New York could target, with San Diego's Chase Headley or Texas' Alex Rios among the big names that may be available for the right pieces.

Can Brandon McCarthy help stabilize the rotation?

The Yankees are currently down 4/5 of their Opening Day starting rotation, with Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova all on the disabled list. When New York shipped Vidal Nuno to the Diamondbacks for Brandon McCarthy, they were not only trading for the game's best Twitter account, but for a strong right-hander who was once a borderline ace with the Oakland A's. You can test your knowledge of McCarthy's career with our Triple Play Trivia.

Will Beltran and McCann rebound in the second half?

The Yankees added veterans Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann to beef up the middle of their lineup. After a hot start, injuries have slowed down Beltran, while McCann has struggled to get going for most of the season. Beltran's latest setback was of the "You can't make this stuff up" variety, as a batting practice ball bounced off the cage and struck the outfielder in the face. New York expects Beltran to be ready soon after the break, and the Yankees need the bats of both these veterans to heat up if they are to get back into the AL East chase. McCann spoke about his own struggles as the team approached the break.

Could a call-up help the team in 2014?

Second baseman Rob Refsnyder has skyrocketed up the Yankees' farm system with his impressive season in 2014. Refsnyder has hit .333 with 12 home runs between Trenton and Scranton Wilkes/Barre this season, and his ability to play the outfield could make him an even more useful piece. In addition to Refsnyder, Lou DiPietro offered some other possible minor leaguers whose promotions could ignite the Bombers.

Will Masahiro Tanaka be back in 2014?

The Yankees received devastating news when an MRI revealed that Masahiro Tanaka had a partial tear of the UCL ligament in his right elbow. The current plan calls for Tanaka to rehab the injury for six weeks, as he and the team hope to avoid surgery. But the right-hander will be re-evaluated at that time to determine if he can begin working toward a return, or opt for season-ending Tommy John surgery. The Yankees skipper spoke about the ace's injury on the latest episode of The Joe Girardi Show. New York can ill afford to lose Tanaka for the season, as the Japanese hurler has anchored their rotation, going 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA in 18 starts.

Can the Yankees make the postseason in Derek Jeter's final season?

The game of baseball came together over the All-Star break to pay tribute to the great career of the Yankees Captain Derek Jeter. Jeter delivered with another monster performance in the Midsummer Classic, something he's made a habit over his career. But the great shortstop isn't just interested in celebrating past accomplishments, not when there is still half a season to play. No one has mustered the will to win more than Jeter during his career, so can he help lead another second-half push in the Bronx?

The Yankees' second-half quest begins Friday night against the Reds, coverage begins on YES at 6 p.m.

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