With the trade deadline looming and a lot of silly rumors floating around, I have a few things to say:
1) The Yankees don't need a relief pitcher, left-handed or otherwise. Brian Bruney should return from his rehab assignment soon to force LaTroy Hawkins off the roster, and if he's not as good as he was in April, there's more in triple-A where he came from. The Yankees trading for a relief pitcher would be like heating a house in the desert, a total waste of resources.
2) Getting Jarod Washburn in a salary dump would be a coup. Washburn has a 2.65 ERA in his last eight starts and has strong career numbers at Yankee Stadium (2.82 ERA), Fenway Park (3.60 ERA), and the Trop (1.89 ERA, which is impressive no matter how bad the Rays have been during his career). More recent versions of this rumor have the Yankees forcing Kei Igawa on the Mariners and the M's countering with Jose Vidro. A great as it would be to be rid of Igawa, Vidro's not worth it. His hitting rates this season are nearly an exact match for Jose Molina's, except Vidro has had a hundred more at-bats. He's as done as a player can be.
3) The Yankees biggest need is another bat. They're a pitching-rich organization, and Cellophane Rasner and Groundhog Ponson can hold their own as fourth and fifth starters until the reinforcements are ready (which could include a healthy Chien-Ming Wang and Phil Hughes). Next year's rotation will be filled by Wang, Chamberlain, the free-agent market (possibly including one-year deals for Mussina and/or Pettitte), and emergent prospects (Hughes, Kennedy, McCutchen, Aceves). Rather, the Yankees' big holes this offseason will be right field and at first base, only one of which is likely to be filled by free agency. More urgently, even with Abreu and Giambi still in place, the bottom of the order is Betemit/Sexson, Cabrera, Molina, which just won't do. The price on Matt Holliday, who nearly won the NL MVP award last year, is likely too high, but Jason Bay, who had an off-year in 2007 due to knee problems and didn't even make the All-Star team this year (though he should have) could be more reasonably priced and could even be the better player (Bay is Holliday's second most similar player on Baseball-Reference, followed by Hideki Matsui who also makes Bay's list, and is easily the better hitter on the road). Buying high on Xavier Nady, however, seems like a bad move. Nady is 29 and a career .281/.336/.455 hitter in the National League. That's not nothing, but it's not much more than league-average, and his career line in inter-league play is .224/.290/.388. Stay away.
4) Jorge Posada should get over himself and have his surgery now. Yes, the Yankees' biggest need is a bat, even if it's one that can only DH, but it seems doubtful that Posada will be able to hit for power without the surgery. Even more than that, the Yankees need Posada to be healthy, productive, and behind the plate five days a week starting on Opening Day 2009, so that they don't find themselves in this position again next year. Any further delay on Jorge's part is robbing Peter to pay Paul, and Peter's gonna be pissed when he finds out about it. Let Hideki Matsui be the guy playing Hamlet over his MRIs and get Posada under the knife pronto.