General manager Brian Cashman of the New York Yankees talks...

General manager Brian Cashman of the New York Yankees talks with the media prior to the game against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Earlier in the day, it was announced that Joba Chamberlain had a torn ligament in his right elbow. (June 9, 2011) Credit: Jim McIsaac

One of Brian Cashman's better moments as Yankees general manager occurred on July 31, 2007, when his club -- in dire need of a setup man -- had the chance to acquire Texas' Eric Gagne in return for a package headed by either Melky Cabrera or Ian Kennedy.

"No, thanks," Cashman essentially told his Texas counterpart Jon Daniels. "Trade Gagne to Boston. We're gonna promote one of our minor-leaguers."

And that's how Joba Chamberlain introduced himself to the Bronx.

Now Chamberlain is the man down, having received the stunning diagnosis of a torn medial collateral ligament in his right arm that likely will require Tommy John surgery. And with trade talks generally still in their infancy, the Yankees must take the next seven weeks or so to determine how they'll build the bridge from their starting rotation -- which could wind up needing an upgrade or two, as well -- to Mariano Rivera.

Expect Cashman to follow that '07 model: Explore all options, and strongly consider the internal fixes.

"It's my job to figure that out, make sure that Joe [Girardi] has weapons to match up with late in games," Cashman said in the Yankees' dugout, hours before the team's rain-delayed game against Boston. "Whether that comes from promotions or acquisitions remains to be seen, but it's my responsibility."

When I asked Cashman if a significant trade market had developed yet, he responded, "Not to my knowledge."

This looks like a potentially slow-moving situation, with so many teams still in contention. Nevertheless, you needn't be a brain surgeon to figure out the big names on the aisle: San Diego's Heath Bell, an impending free agent, will generate strong interest, and Minnesota's Matt Capps, struggling in his walk year, could be had for a song.

The most intriguing name might be Kerry Wood. With a salary of just $1.5 million, he's a bargain, and the Cubs will demand prospects in return. However, Wood has a no-trade clause, and that gives the Yankees leverage; as Newsday's Erik Boland reports, Wood really enjoyed his short stay with the Yankees (and specifically Rivera) last year. The righthander could limit his destinations and thereby lower the Yankees' price in talent.

Let's also not forget Francisco Rodriguez, whom the Mets will look to move if they can't stay afloat. However, Rodriguez's velocity has dropped, so there's the question of how effective he would be returning to the AL.

For now, the Yankees will see what they have internally. David Robertson has earned the right to be the eighth-inning guy, and he's modest enough to slide back to the seventh if a veteran comes via trade. After that? Yeesh. You'd need to be quite the optimist to think that Luis Ayala can continue his stellar pitching, and Boone Logan has allowed lefty hitters to produce an .828 OPS. Rafael Soriano? He's scheduled to start throwing next week. Good luck with that. Pedro Feliciano is trying, but he's a long shot to avoid major surgery.

Cashman said you can forget about youngsters Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betances coming up any time soon, and that Phil Hughes will try to return as a starter, not as a reliever.

One name at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to remember: Kevin Whelan, a 27-year-old righty the Yankees acquired from Detroit in the 2006 Gary Sheffield trade. He entered Thursday with 30 strikeouts, six walks and a 1.67 ERA in 27 innings.

The key just might be to remember how volatile relievers can be, as the Red Sox saw in '07 when Gagne flopped. To try very hard not to pay a big price. Because sometimes the guy you know the least can turn out to be the best.