When four of your six starting pitchers have been confined to the disabled list, it means that you’re somewhere past desparate in the search for additional help on the mound. Such is the scenario for the Yankees, who placed rookie sensation Chien-Ming Wang on the disabled list on Thursday, adding him to a corps of injured pitchers that includes Carl Pavano, Jared Wright, and Kevin Brown. And with the trade market so thin, causing teams to up the asking price for Jason Schmidt (who’s also spent some time on the disabled list this season), the Yankees will have to take some chances on other teams’ reclamation projects. That explains why the Yankees, according to the Denver Post, are close to finalizing a trade with the Rockies for Shawn Chacon. According to the rumor mill, the Yankees would send minor league left-hander Sean Henn and righty reliever Scott Proctor to Colorado, though there is a possibility the deal could be expanded to include the recently traded Eric Byrnes. Chacon has been miserable for the Rockies over the past year and a half, but he’s a live-armed right-hander who made the All-Star team only two seasons ago. Plus, he’s only 27, making him only three years older than Henn. If this exchange is indeed on the table for the Yankees, they should hurry up and make it happen before the the trade-minded Rockies decide to make a deal with someone else.
Henn might one day become an effective starter, but he’s clearly not ready to help the 2005 Yankees, who need pitching help now. With three terrible starts to his discredit, the Yankees have no plans to bring Henn back to the major leagues anytime soon, not with the tentative left-hander pitching scared against American League hitters. Proctor would be no great loss either; he throws 95 to 98 miles per hour, but his lack of movement and control remain major stumbling blocks to his success as a late-inning reliever.
As for Chacon, the Yankees can always hope that a departure from Coors Field will help his mindset–and the quality of pitches. And unlike many Rockies hurlers pitching at home, Chacon enjoyed at least some success at Coors, pitching effectively enough during the first half of 2003 to earn a spot on the National League All-Star team. Given the current state of the Yankees’ pitching staff, that’s enough of a resume to merit an immediate spot in the starting rotation.