'Hart of the Order'
By Sean Hartnett
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The Oakland A's are everything the New York Yankees aren't. Exciting, athletic, able to come together in late game situations.
All season long, the Yankees have been accused of being overly-reliant upon the longball. That belief is no longer a theory. The firm evidence was there for everyone to see this weekend in Oakland.
Not only did the A's complete a four-game sweep over the Yankees, they won all four games by one-run margins.
The Yankees aren't built to manufacture runs. They sit back and wait for a big inning that blows the game open. When matched-up against a strong pitching team like the A's, offensive explosions rarely happen.
This weekend was a painful reminder of last October's ALDS defeat to the Detroit Tigers. The Yankees were eliminated because they could not manufacture runs in late innings against the Tigers. All three of their postseason losses en route to elimination were one-run games.
So really... has anything changed in 2012?
If anything, the 2012 Yankees are a weaker team without Brett Gardner, who is likely to miss the remainder of the year once he undergoes elbow surgery.
Gardner was one of the few Yankee batters who actually showed-up last October. Outside of the retired Jorge Posada, Gardner was the a Yankees' leading postseason hitter. Gardner batted .412 during the 2011 ALDS.
When their power bats dry up, the Yankees need to have a 'Plan B' in place to win games, especially when the postseason comes around. They need someone who can provide a spark on the base paths.
With the trade deadline little more than a week away, Brian Cashman must add a spark plug and address the Yankees' lack of outfield depth.
Gardner is out of the picture and Nick Swisher is expected to be out until Friday. Should Swisher's hip injury worsen, the Yankees have Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones in reserve -- but neither can play the outfield everyday. Dewayne Wise has never been a full-time outfielder.
Someone who can fill the Yankees' void on the basepaths and in the field is Shane Victorino of the Philadelphia Phillies. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports believes the Yankees are looking at Victorino.
It is unclear whether the Phillies are looking to deal Victorino. They could keep him through the 2012 season, make a qualifying offer and try to pry a draft pick from a team looking to land Victorino in free agency.
Cashman and the Yankees must pay the Phillies' asking price, because Victorino is exactly the kind of player who can remedy their issues.
He's a proven stole base threat, as he's stolen 21 bases in 94 games and is a two-time Gold Glove winning outfielder.
Victorino has the postseason pedigree the Yankees require. He was an important member of the Phillies' 2008 championship roster and batted .316 in the 2011 NLDS.
Whether or not it will happen, depends on how the market plays out. Denard Span of the Minnesota Twins is also on Cashman's radar.
Would Victorino be an ideal fit for the Yankees? Share your thoughts below and send your tweets to @HartnettWFAN.
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