Though neither general manager Brian Cashman nor manager Joe Girardi were willing to discuss the particulars of the unofficially completed deal, the players were thrilled with reports that Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte are headed for pinstripes.
The Yankees parted with four Minor Leaguers in Friday's deal with the Pirates, two of whom had appeared in Major League games -- right-handers Jeff Karstens and Ross Ohlendorf. With New York rapidly re-entering the American League East race, the Bombers lauded the move as necessary and uplifting.
"It's a great move," Alex Rodriguez said. "There's so many unexpected things that happen this time of year. I don't think anybody can expect to get two quality players like that in the middle of their primes to help our team."
Nady, 29, is expected to help balance the heart of the lineup and assume some of the load in the outfield, as Johnny Damon is hurrying back to re-enter the left field mix after injuring his left shoulder earlier in the month. Melky Cabrera and Bobby Abreu could also be spelled by Nady.
"It's huge," Jason Giambi said. "[Nady is] a great right-handed bat that takes good at-bats and plays good defense. He's a solid guy that when you play against him, he's a tough out. With this team being so left-handed-dominant as far as hitters, it's definitely going to pick us up."
"I think it helps out the team not only now, but also in the long run," Damon said. "He's one of the most underrated players around, and I think he's one of the best outfielders in the game. The at-bats he puts together, he just knows how to play."
Marte, 33, was among the most coveted arms on the market leading up to the July 31 Trade Deadline. He will give the Yankees a trusted left-hander out of the bullpen, a role that New York has not had much success with in recent years, trying such options as Mike Myers, Ron Villone and Billy Traber with limited results.
"Lefty [vs.] lefty, he's as tough as anybody in the league, to be honest with you," Giambi said. "He's got that good hard fastball that runs in, and a big slider. He's as good as anybody in this game, from what I've seen of him and when we faced him recently."
"He's high energy, he's throwing legs and arms and everything at you," Damon said. "He's not a comfortable at-bat at all. With the fact that we don't have a lefty in the bullpen, this guy could be one of the better ones in the league."
Shortstop Derek Jeter said that if both players approximate what they've been doing in the National League, it would be welcome. Nady was batting a team-leading .330 with 13 home runs and 57 RBIs in 90 games, and Marte was 4-0 with a 3.47 ERA in 47 appearances.
"You don't want them to come in here and expect them to do anything more than they've been doing," Jeter said. "You just expect them to do the things that they've done in the past. We always make additions here that we think can help, and hopefully, those guys can help."
Both players recently saw the Yankees over the course of three games in Pittsburgh, though it was actually a little bit more, since one of the games was rained out and the Yankees had to return to the Steel City on an off-day to complete Interleague Play.
That gave the Yankees ample opportunity to realize what Nady and Marte could mean in their own uniforms.
"What they've done is try to add some guys that can help us continue what we've been doing as of late," Jeter said. "That's always the mind-set. If those two in particular play for us the way they've played against us, they're only going to help."
The acquisitions of Nady and Marte are especially helpful considering that the Yankees could be without the services of Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada for the rest of the season. Giambi said that prospect was probably on Cashman's mind when he moved toward agreeing to the deal.
"I think Cash is doing a great job hedging our bets and getting these guys to figure that if [Matsui and Posada] don't come back, we're not going to be short," Giambi said. "He's making some great moves."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less