BALTIMORE - Brandon McCarthy is a free agent after the season, so first things first.
Yes, the righthander said, he absolutely would be interested in talking to the Yankees then about a contract that would keep him in pinstripes.
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"This is a place, it would be hard to turn down,'' McCarthy said. "There's nothing that doesn't line up with my way of approaching the game. There's nobody here that makes me think this is something I have to get away from.''
Of course, the Yankees, their three-game losing streak aside, are still in the playoff chase and a ways away from constructing their 2015 roster. That will stem from offseason organizational meetings in which every prospective free agent is dissected, trade possibilities are discussed and, most significant, managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner gives general manager Brian Cashman a budget.
Regardless, whenever next year becomes the priority, starting pitching will be a major theme, because the Yankees will be in dire need of it.
CC Sabathia's right knee is a huge question mark. Ivan Nova isn't due back from Tommy John surgery until the end of next April at the earliest. Michael Pineda's injury history means he's no shoo-in for the rotation, and many in the organization expect Hiroki Kuroda to retire or return to his native Japan.
"It's a place that wants to continually try and win and do everything it can to win,'' McCarthy said. "I haven't yet found a downside. I try and look at things rationally and logically and pick things apart and find good and bad. When you're not able to find a negative so far in a month, it's a good sign, I think.''
It has been pretty much all good for McCarthy since he arrived in a trade from Arizona in early July. He hadn't lost as a Yankee before allowing two runs in 61/3 innings Saturday in a 3-0 loss to the Indians. Since changing leagues, he's 4-1 with a 2.21 ERA in six starts.
He said he was "a little worried at first'' because he had switched teams before but never in-season.
"It's a great group of guys, it's a coaching staff that's approachable,'' he said. "The organization has made that transition pretty smooth.''
McCarthy, 31, was having a horrible season with the Diamondbacks at the time of the deal -- 3-10 with a 5.01 ERA -- but he nonetheless wanted to see how he might handle the pressure that is part of playing in New York.
"I feel like I was getting to the point where I kind of wanted that, which sounds weird in the midst of a career-worst season,'' McCarthy said. "Maybe I needed that. You get up to the cliff's edge and see if you get better or get worse. So I think I've responded to that well and it's focused me even more.''
As has being inserted into a playoff race.
"It's just a little adrenaline shot,'' McCarthy said of a mid-season switch from a doormat to a contender. "There's a natural ebb and flow to a season. And when you start to hit the middle portion of the season and you realize 'we're too far out of this to come back,' it becomes this slow fate toward the end, which isn't fun.''
McCarthy has played a big role in his short time with the Yankees. He's helped keep them within shouting distance of the playoffs, although he said he's been only a complementary part.
"It's just trying to fit in and be an important piece,'' he said. "You're not going to single-handedly prop the team into the playoffs. The bullpen's been fantastic, everybody's done their part. So it feels good to know that you've been a part of that at least.''