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Yankees Trade Deadline Rumors
7 years ago  ::  Jul 21, 2015 - 11:31AM #1
Posts: 66,015

It's that time of year again  with the July 31st trade deadline coming up. The Yankees have a couple needs they may or may not address. Any Yankee rumors thru the trading periord I'll post in this thread and as always welcome all comments from posters who don't live in their parents basement.

There's always a lot of names thrown around this time of year. Some are nothing that could ever happen, others could be of some interest. I'll post all the articles I can find. 

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
7 years ago  ::  Jul 21, 2015 - 11:37AM #2
Posts: 66,015

Cashman: “I’m approaching (the trade deadline) in a practical manner”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jul 20, 2015 

Brian CashmanMy first question when Brian Cashman’s name popped up on my cell phone:

“Are you in full tell-everyone-the-same-thing mode?”

“Yep,” Cashman said.

If you follow the Yankees beat writers on Twitter or go to multiple sources for your daily Yankees news, then you’ve seen off days like this plenty of times in the past. One guy tweets a quote from Cashman, then a nearly identical quote appears on a blog, some variation pops up in another tweet, then in a newspaper story, then another blog post. It’s pretty inevitable on a beat with so many writers, and a general manager who’s naturally going to give only so much information.

The theme of today seems to be some variation of this comment:

“I like our team,” Cashman said. “So I’m approaching (the trade deadline) in a practical manner. I’ve said it would be more likely to predict that we’d do nothing than do something significant.”

Cashman acknowledges there are ways to upgrade the Yankees’ roster in the short term — and he’s not at all ruling out at least a marginal upgrade here and there — but if a big splash is going to require losing one of the key pieces of the Yankees’ future, Cashman’s not interested (or so he says).

The Yankees’ farm system is having a nice year, key pieces are nearly ready to help at the big league level, and Cashman doesn’t think his team is in such dire need that he has to sacrifice the future in order to make a run in the present.

“I know a lot of people scream for an alternative a lot of times,” Cashman said. “But give me a legitimate alternative you do want or could get your hands on.”

I mentioned a few specific names, but unsurprisingly, Cashman wouldn’t talk specifics on the record. What he did say is that there aren’t many bats available, and while there does seem to be quite a bit of high-end pitching, there’s also enough demand that acquiring a big-name starter will likely require losing at least one of the team’s top prospects. Cashman doesn’t want to do that.

“That may very well take us out on some of the high-end stuff,” he said.

Second base improvement? Additional offense?

“Bats are a premium in this game right now, and there are not a lot of bats available right now,” Cashman said. “What’s available in the sandbox out there, it’s currently not very deep.”

Rotation upgrades? Additional pitching depth?

“We don’t have guys currently saying, take me out of my rotation spot,” Cashman said, noting he could still put Adam Warren back in the rotation if someone gets hurt. “We still have good starting pitching. … I’ve got two guys blowing gas in Triple-A in Mitchell and Severio, so we’re deep, knock on wood.”

Deep enough to make a legitimate playoff run? We’ll see. It seems Cashman would rather bank on what he currently has than give up what’s on the way.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
7 years ago  ::  Jul 21, 2015 - 11:38AM #3
Posts: 66,015

AL East Deadline Notes: Jays, Sox, Yankees, Rays

Blue Jays fans are watching the coming trade deadline with as much anticipation as any group of supporters, as GM Alex Anthopoulos has spoken quite a bit about the club’s intention to look hard at making impactful additions. As Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca writes, it’s worth considering the club’s summer trade history both to gain some insight into how the organization operates and to better appreciate the reasonable expectations. Toronto faces a “tricky time,” says Davidi, who provides a lengthy overview of past deals. Likewise, Tim Britton of the Providence Journal breaks down the recent deadline work of Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, who faces tough questions as his club has stumbled coming out of the All-Star break.

Here’s more from the AL East:

  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman indicated that he does not expect to strike a major deal this summer, as Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports“I would predict it more likely not doing anything than doing something significant,” Cashman said. “We’re making our phone calls, talking to all clubs involved. We’ve practically analyzed everything.” In addition to citing his belief in the club’s current options, Cashman said that the “the acquisition costs might be prohibitive or that unicorn might not exist.”

  • Going into further detail, Cashman indicated that the Yankees are unlikely to go get a big-time arm to add to their staff, as Feinsand further reports“Are there available starters that are better? Yes, but the acquisitions cost are certain players that I have no intention of moving at this stage,” Cashman said. “I would say the smarter play would be to hold off on shooting any of those particular bullets.”

  • Neither do the Yankees seem likely to be aggressive in attempting to upgrade at second base. Cashman said that the infield market was particularly thin, noting that it was hard even to identify available options that could theoretically provide better production than incumbent Stephen Drew. Cashman also addressed the decision to send down young second baseman Rob Refsnyder, saying he preferred that approach to designating another player for assignment. “I can get Refsnyder back,” he said. “As we approach the trade deadline, I think it’s better to have all assets in play to give us as much flexibility as we can have.”

  • Rays owner Stuart Sternberg indicated that his club will also likely rely primarily on internal options rather than making a deadline splash, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports“People say, ‘Buyer? Seller?’ It will be no different than we’ve done in years past,” said Sternberg. “I think we’re in almost precisely the same spot we’ve been in every year since ’08. Which is, we’re close, we feel we have a really good team. We’d like to see our team on the field all at once. And we’ll try to be opportunistic.”Though the team has obviously scuffled of late, and will be prepared to sell if it falls too far back, the Tampa Bay owner said he hopes to remain in contention and believes the current roster is good enough — especially with players returning from injury — to stay in the mix.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
7 years ago  ::  Jul 21, 2015 - 11:39AM #4
Posts: 66,015

Heyman: Yankees looking to add righty bat, righty reliever before trade deadline

Baker. (Presswire)
Baker. (Presswire)

According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees are looking to add both a right-handed bat and a right-handed reliever before next Friday’s trade deadline. I assume that is in addition to the club’s continued search for pitching. We heard the Yankees were looking for righty relief weeks ago, but that was before they moved Adam Warren back to the bullpen.

The Yankees are hitting .241/.322/.408 (102 wRC+) against lefties this season, seventh best among the 30 clubs, but the bottom of the lineup is very lefty heavy thanks not only to Didi Gregorius and Stephen Drew, but also Chase Headley‘s platoon split. He’s a switch-hitter, yeah, but he’s been way better against righties (99 wRC+) than lefties (68 wRC+) this year. Carlos Beltran has had his problems with lefties this year as well (91 wRC+).

We’ve seen the Yankees get shut down by a lefty reliever for a few innings on more than one occasion this year, so the interest in adding a righty bat makes sense. Ideally, it would be a righty (or even a switch-hitter) who can play both corner infield spots as well as the corner outfield spots, so he could platoon with Headley and replace Garrett Jones on the roster. Problem is, who is that player? That’s a pretty specific profile.

The only names that jumped to mind are Martin Prado, Jeff Baker, and Mike Olt. Prado is kinda expensive and he would presumably take over as the regular second baseman if re-acquired, not serve as a part-timer. Baker has historically mashed lefties (career 126 wRC+) but hasn’t done it this year (99 wRC+). Olt has only played a handful of games this season due to a wrist injury and owns a career 71 wRC+ against southpaws. I’m not sure he’s the answer either.

The Yankees aren’t desperate for a right-handed bat, but it would be a nice addition to round out the roster. Maybe the answer is in the minor leagues somewhere, a Quad-A player along the lines of Chris Colabello, who could sit in the minors in August, then come up when rosters expand in September. (Ryan Roberts maybe? He’s in Triple-A with the A’s.) That would give the Yankees the extra righty bat and allow them to keep Jones.

- See more at: riveraveblues.com/2015/07/heyman-yankees...

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
7 years ago  ::  Jul 21, 2015 - 11:41AM #5
Posts: 66,015

Yankees potential trade target: Padres' pitchers

The Padres are looking to unload the mega contracts attached to James Shields and Craig Kimbrel. Should the Yankees be interested? 

The trade deadline is less than two weeks away, and things have been quiet around the league. Despite being in first place in the division, the Yankeeshave room to improve in just about every area, from the rotation to the lineup. Some teams might be looking for a deal that would include the Yankees' top prospects, but it sounds like the Padres are more interested in dumping their big contracts onto any team that is willing. If that's the case, should the Yankees consider trading for James Shields or Craig Kimbrel?

After acquiring Shields and Kimbrel, it looked like the Padres would be in a much better place this season, but they have struggled so far. They recently changed managers, and now they're nine games out of first place in their division and looking to lighten their payroll moving forward. According to Buster Olney, the Yankees have let the league know that they are willing to take on money, and they may be one of the few teams interested in doing so. If the Yankees took on most of what's left on Shields' or Kimbrel's contracts, then they might be able to make a trade that doesn't involve giving up one of the top prospects, like Aaron Judge or Luis Severino.

Arguably, the Yankees' biggest weakness is their rotation.  The potential problem with trading for a starter is that the rotation is already jam-packed, and the Yankees seem hesitant to move anyone to the bullpen. The weakest link has been former ace CC Sabathia. He had his best outing of the year yesterday against the Mariners, but he still has a 5.25 ERA and 4.32 FIP on the season. Shields is known for being a workhorse like Sabathia, but it might be best to avoid his contract, especially considering the fact that he's currently 33-years-old and he's owed $21 million for each of the next three seasons, and has a 2019 team option worth $16 million. He can opt out after the 2016 season, but it's hard to imagine him finding a better contract anywhere else. So far this season, Shields has pitched 121 and one-third innings and has a 3.92 ERA, 4.20 FIP, 10.13 K/9, 3.25 BB/9, 1.48 HR/9 and 1.32 WHIP. While his strikeout numbers are way up from his career average (7.81 K/9), he's also walking more batters and giving up more home runs than normal. Shield's home run to fly ball ratio is up to a whopping 18.3% (and equal amount at home and on the road), and Petco Park isn't even that hitter-friendly. The Padres may be able to find a taker for Shields, but it wouldn't be the best idea for the Yankees.

The more interesting idea would be to trade for Craig Kimbrel. Aside from Shields, Kimbrel has one of the biggest contracts on the team, earning $11 million in 2016, $13 million in 2017, and has a 2018 team option worth $13 million. This season he has 25 saves (in 26 chances), along with 13.25 K/9, 3.57 BB/9, 0.76 HR/9 and a 3.06 ERA and 2.41 FIP. The Yankees' bullpen has been excellent, and there isn't any real need for Kimbrel, but a bullpen of Andrew MillerDellin Betances and Kimbrel would easily be the best in the league. The only real issue would be determining who would be the closer if the team did acquire Kimbrel, since Miller has been fantastic in the role this season. It would make more sense for the Yankees to focus on an area of need, like the rotation or adding a bat to the lineup, but it couldn't hurt for the Yankees to see what kind of deal the Padres would want.

Should the Yankees trade for Shields or Kimbrel?

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
7 years ago  ::  Jul 21, 2015 - 11:43AM #6
Posts: 66,015

Trade Market For Second Basemen

With less than two weeks until the trade deadline, a number of clubs find themselves in need of infield help. The Yankees, Royals and Angels, in particular, stand out as first-place clubs that have gotten little production out of the second base position. Though the Cubs and Nationals don’t presently appear to have a spot open, either club could shift other assets around and move its incumbent second baseman to another spot in order to improve its overall lineup production. Here’s a look around the league at some players that could at least theoretically make sense as trade options…

2015 Starters

Ben Zobrist (A’s), Brandon Phillips (Reds), DJ LeMahieu (Rockies), Chris Owings (D-Backs), Jedd Gyorko (Padres), Chase Utley (Phillies), Omar Infante (Royals)

  • Zobrist is the most interesting name on the second base trade market and has been for quite some time, though reports out of Oakland have consistently indicated a reluctance to sell. Zobrist is a free agent at year’s end, however, and his versatile nature (he can play virtually any position) and solid bat make him a very appealing trade chip for the A’s. Because he can play anywhere, one could reasonably present a case to be made for 20 teams to show interest in Zobrist, who will be one of the only credible infield bats on this year’s trade market.

  • A number of road blocks stand in the way of trading Phillips. First and foremost, the veteran and longtime Red has 10-and-5 rights, meaning he’d have to personally approve any trade to another club. Secondly, he’s still owed about $5.5MM in 2015 and $32.5MM through the 2017 season. The trouble with that, of course, is that Phillips is no longer the offensive threat he once was. While the 34-year-old still is considered a plus defender at second, he’s batted just .271/.311/.370 since Opening Day 2014 despite playing his home games in one of the better hitting environments in Major League Baseball. (His OPS+ of 89 this season matches his 2014 output exactly.) Expensive, aging assets with declining skills at the plate are tough sells on the trade market.

  • There’s been nothing to this point that would indicate that LeMahieu is available, but the 27-year-old’s value isn’t likely to get much higher than it presently is. LeMahieu is not yet arbitration eligible but will be this winter. He’s a premium defender in the midst of a career year at the plate. While many teams won’t be sold on his offense — and rightfully so; his home OPS is 216 points higher than his road mark — there’s probably enough bat and certainly enough speed/defense here for the last place Rockies to receive a solid offer or two.

  • The Diamondbacks’ middle infielders have drawn consistent interest, and Owings could be viewed by some as a long-term piece at shortstop or at second base. He’s not hitting in 2015 (.231/.261./.328), but he was a Rookie of the Year candidate prior to getting hurt in 2014 and is controllable through 2019.

  • Gyorko’s stock peaked at the end of the 2013 season, resulting in a five-year, $35MM extension. It’s been all downhill from there, as Gyorko has followed up a 23-homer, .249/.301/.444 rookie season with a .214/.283/.334 triple slash in 171 games. He was signed by San Diego’s former front office, so it’s possible that the new regime isn’t as fond of him as former GM Josh Byrnes and Co. (Byrnes is now with the Dodgers.) Gyorko’s still just 26 and is not far removed from ranking as one of the game’s top prospects, so perhaps a team with a need at second can dream on Gyorko a bit and buy low on the change-of-scenery candidate. Getting out of Petco Park would certainly help any hitter.

  • Utley, like Phillips, has 10-and-5 rights that allow him to veto a trade to any club. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has already stated that he doesn’t think Utley is his team’s best second baseman (though Amaro walked those comments back somewhat), so perhaps that potentially abrasive statement will make Utley more amenable to a trade. Of course, a team would still have to express interest in Utley, which may not be likely. He’s slashing .179/.257/.275 and earning $15MM in 2015.

  • The Royals shopped Infante for much of the offseason and would undoubtedly like to escape from the remaining $3.44MM on Infante’s 2015 salary — to say nothing of the $17.75MM he’s owed in 2016-17. It’s tough to envision a taker, given Infante’s .232/.245/.303 batting line, though. I would think he could be moved in a swap of bad contracts or that a rebuilding club could take on what’s left of his deal in order to entice Kansas City to part with more talent in a trade.

Current Backups/Utility Options

Alex Guerrero (Dodgers), Brad Miller (Mariners), Grant Green (Angels), Derek Dietrich(Marlins), Aaron Hill (D-Backs), Cliff Pennington (D-Backs), Stephen Drew (Yankees),Emilio Bonifacio (White Sox), Gordon Beckham (White Sox), Brock Holt (Red Sox), Eric Sogard (A’s), Yangervis Solarte (Padres), Dan Uggla (Nationals), Adam Rosales(Rangers), Ryan Goins (Blue Jays), Eduardo Escobar (Twins), Eduardo Nunez (Twins),Ryan Raburn (Indians), Pete Kozma (Cardinals)

  • Guerrero may be the most interesting name here. He’s come up in trade rumors on numerous occasions and shown excellent power in a pitcher-friendly environment. However, he also gains the right to become a free agent at season’s end if he’s traded at any point throughout his deal.

  • Miller is young and has the upside remaining to profile as a starter for interested teams (though possibly at shortstop and not second base). He’d probably be difficult for the Mariners to move, but they have Robinson Cano at second base and other internal shortstop options such as Chris Taylor and the currently injured Ketel Marte.

  • Green and Dietrich have been looked at as potential starters in the past and have been productive Triple-A bats with limited success in the Majors. Neither exactly fits the mold of top prospect, but a team looking for controllable infield depth could inquire on either. Dietrich is hitting well for the Marlins this season, but he grades out poorly from a defensive standpoint at both second base and his current position, third base. He’s already 26, and if the Marlins hang onto Martin Prado, he’d be left without a starting spot for 2016.

  • There’s been nothing to suggest that Holt is available in trades, but from a purely speculative standpoint, his versatility would make him appealing to other clubs if the 42-49 Red Sox are open to dealing from their big league roster.

  • Hill falls into the “overpriced veteran” territory, as does Drew (to a lesser extent). The rest of the list consists of utility types (Solarte, Bonifacio, Pennington) and/or defensive specialists (Goins, Kozma).

Currently in the Minors

Javier Baez (Cubs), Arismendy Alcantara (Cubs), Nick Franklin (Rays), Jose Pirela(Yankees), Erisbel Arruebarrena (Dodgers)

I kept the list of players at the minor league level to those that have experience in the Majors already, as listing every productive minor league second baseman that could be dealt opens an extremely wide range of speculation — even for the purposes of a post like this. Baez’s name is the most highly regarded in this bunch. His power and bat speed are well known, but so, too, is his proclivity for strikeouts. He’d still probably have to be a return for a pretty notable piece in order to be traded. Alcantara and Franklin have both been viewed as potential starters in the past, while Pirela’s probably more of a utility option. Arruebarrena is an expensive defensive specialist that has seemingly fallen out of favor with his organization.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
7 years ago  ::  Jul 21, 2015 - 11:45AM #7
Posts: 66,015

Sorting through Yankees’ wants and needs heading into the deadline

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jul 20, 2015 

Brian Cashman

Today is the Yankees’ final off day before the trade deadline. July 31 is roughly a week and a half away, and general manager Brian Cashman made it pretty clear on Sunday that he’s at least considering the possibility of making a move. That’s why, Cashman said, Rob Refsnyder was optioned to Triple-A rather than a veteran infielder being released.

“I just want to keep all options at my disposal through the deadline,” Cashman told Jack Curry.

Does that means the Yankees are going to make a move? Of course not. It doesn’t mean they’re going to acquire a second baseman, doesn’t mean they’re going to eventually trade Refsnyder, and doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a trade in the works. It only means what we should have always suspected: that the Yankees are considering the possibilities.

The Yankees are in the mix and certainly a team that should be a buyer and not a seller, but is there an obvious move to make? I’m not sure there is.

CC Sabathia still has a 5.25 ERA, but Sunday’s start was one of his best of the year, and his last start before the break wasn’t bad either. Does that make any difference as the Yankees approach the break? Do two solid starts from Sabathia make the Yankees any less likely to trade for at least a little rotation depth, if not a front-line starter? The Yankees’ rotation is an odd one. It clearly could be upgraded, but so far it’s healthy and potentially good enough to make a run. In any given series, they could have two of the best starters in baseball, but they could also face real depth issues if a couple of injury concerns present themselves. There’s quite a bit of starting pitching out there. How much should the Yankees give up to acquire some of it?

Depth issues: With Chase Whitley on the disabled list, and both Adam Warren and Chris Capuano converted to the bullpen — unable to immediately step back into a 100-pitch rotation role — rotation depth has to be a significant concern for the Yankees. Perhaps that’s why the team just sent Bryan Mitchell back to Triple-A to be stretched out. If the Yankees were to acquire a depth starter, what would they do with him for the time being? Should they be looking high-end impact starter or nothing at this point?

Contract issues: The Yankees’ entire rotation is under team control beyond this season. The more pressing long-term concerns are basically the same as the short-term concerns, all about health and durability and not so much availability. If the Yankees were to make a big move for a starter — an impact guy like Johnny Cueto or Scott Kazmir — would they include a guy like Nathan Eovaldi in such a deal? Would that be short-sighted or opportunistic?

Performance issues: As long as Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda are healthy, the Yankees have two high-end rotation arms (but each one faces some health and consistency issues). Eovaldi actually has a 3.79 ERA if you ignore that Miami atrocity, Ivan Nova’s been solid and occasionally very good since coming off the disabled list, and then there’s Sabathia who doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anyway. Putting a third big name alongside Tanaka and Pineda could make the Yankees no-doubt division favorites. Is that worth giving Severino, Judge, Bird or Refsnyder?

Athletics Yankees BaseballBULLPEN
Not so long ago, the Yankees had real bullpen issues with Andrew Miller on the disabled list and Adam Warren still in the bullpen. At this point, though, the Yankees’ bullpen looks pretty strong and pretty deep. Justin Wilson has emerged as a third go-to arm who helps build the bridge to Dellin Betances and Miller. They also have Warren and Chasen Shreve available for basically any situation, Chris Capuano is the token long man, and there’s still that revolving door of young relievers (right now it’s Branden Pinder). There is one spot that’s fairly wide open, but does the bullpen actually need any help right now?

Depth issues: As we’ve seen over and over this season, the Yankees have no shortage of bullpen options on the Triple-A roster. Pinder, Bryan Mitchell and Nick Rumbelow have each pitched pretty well in limited opportunities, and there are plenty of other names in the mix (Danny Burawa, Diego Moreno, Jose Ramirez and Chris Martin are still on the 40-man roster). Problem is, none of those young guys has really solidified himself in the big leagues, and we don’t have to look back very far to remember when the bullpen seemed thin rather than deep.

Contract issues: Just like the rotation, all of the key bullpen pieces are under team control beyond this season. Unlike the rotation, the only one making significant money is Miller. If the Yankees rotation is full in the short-term and going forward — with Luis Severino on the rise — would it be worth selling high on a guy like Warren or Shreve, each of whom is having a real breakout season and could be useful in acquiring a short-term upgrade.

Performance issues: As long as these guys stay healthy, the Yankees have few complaints about their bullpen performance. Their bigger concern might be first-half workload and second-half need. The Yankees have the fourth-most bullpen innings in the American League, and that heavy lifting might not end if the rotation is going to continue having problems working beyond the sixth inning. For that reason, would the Yankees consider a huge bullpen splash, trying to use an overwhelming bullpen to make up for an uncertain rotation?

Matt Joyce, Stephen DrewINFIELD
I’ll include catcher with the infielders, mostly because there’s not much to talk about at the catcher position anyway. The Yankees are clearly set with their starting catcher and their home run hitting first baseman. They also seem committed to and encouraged by Didi Gregorius at shortstop. They haven’t gotten much production out of third base, but they’re tied to Chase Headley long term. The biggest question in the infield, of course, is at second base. For now, the Yankees still like the idea of Stephen Drew’s occasional power, but could they be convinced otherwise?

Depth issues: One reason Rob Refsnyder is in Triple-A right now is that the Yankees didn’t want to lose their limited depth at shortstop. Cutting either Drew or Brendan Ryan would have left the Yankees one injury away from having either Gregorio Petit or Cole Figueroa being the No. 2 shortstop. That said, if second base is the infield position causing the most concern, it’s also the position with the most depth because of Refsnyder and Jose Pirela. If the Yankees want to dig into their infield depth, Refsnyder’s a good option.

Contract issues: Headley is not having a great year at the plate or in the field, but he was signed to a long-term contract this offseason, so he’s not going anywhere. Gregorius has also gotten better as the year’s continued. One contract issue to consider is the long-term deal with Brian McCann, with John Ryan Murphy still having several years of team control. That could make Gary Sanchez a strong trade chip going forward. His path to New York is not nearly as clear as it is Refsnyder, Aaron Judge or Greg Bird.

Performance issues: I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Drew has not hit for a very good average. He does have a good .782 OPS since June 1, but that production has been sporadic, generated mostly from the handful of games in which he’s homered (including three multi-homer games). The Yankees have committed to him — once again — for the time being, but if they want to upgrade, are they better off trading for a guy like Ben Zobrist (who provides depth almost anywhere) or by bringing Refsnyder back to the big leagues?

Carlos BeltranOUTFIELD
I’m still stunned by the number of emails, tweets and comments I read calling for the Yankees to release Carlos Beltran. I get that his overall numbers don’t look great, and I understand that his defense leaves a lot to be desired, but he’s hit .301/.351/.494 since May 1, and yesterday was a good example of his offensive value outweighing his defensive problems. Beyond right field, the Yankees clearly have no complaints in left field or center.

Depth issues: The Yankees had to test their outfield depth quite a bit earlier this season when Jacoby Ellsbury was injured, and it seemed they had some readily available talent, but both Slade Heathcott and Mason Williams have landed on the disabled list, and Ramon Flores has kind of oddly drifted away without getting many chances beyond that first week or so in the big leagues. The platoon of Chris Young and Garrett Jones has been basically the fourth outfielder most of the year.

Contract issues: Beltran is under contract through next season, which means it’s easy to imagine a role opening fairly soon for Judge (assuming Judge does what he’s expected to do in Triple-A. The Yankees are also committed to a big investment into Ellsbury, and they have Gardner signed to what seems to be a very favorable long-term extension. Gardner would be awfully valuable as a trade chip. Would the Yankees consider moving him to make a huge splash?

Performance issues: Ellsbury has gotten on base, Gardner is an All-Star and Beltran’s bat has come back to life after that brutal month of April. Should Beltran be a DH? Probably, but that’s not going to happen, so he’s in right field and the Yankees don’t really have an opportunity to significantly upgrade their outfield production. Young has even played his role to perfection, though the Yankees could adjust the Jones roster spot if they found a better fit that might actually play with some regularity.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
7 years ago  ::  Jul 21, 2015 - 11:46AM #8
Posts: 66,015

Yankees potential trade target: Ben Zobrist

Going into the All-Star break, it's incredibly difficult to come up with a player that the Yankees both need and will actually have the room for. Now that Rob Refsnyder is in the Bronx, Jacoby Ellsbury and Andrew Miller are off the disabled list, and CC Sabathia is staying in the rotation, there's no easy way to see the team adding any significant contributors. However, when someone like Ben Zobrist is available, you have to take a shot on him because the roster can then easily form around his versatility.

Zobrist can play every position on the baseball diamond other than catcher, so you can use him as your backup infielder in order to give the starters a rest. As a switch-hitter, you can have him hit lefties at shortstop to give Didi Gregorius a day off and hit righties in right field in place of Chris Young. Sure, Carlos Beltran will eventually return, but Zobrist's versatility will make him an asset somewhere else on the field. Maybe they end up needing to platoon him with Refsnyder, but who knows. There might not be a wide open hole in the roster, but he could be useful enough to strengthen it.

After a poor beginning to the season where Zobrist hit .240/.304/.400 over the month of April, he went on the disabled list with a knee injury and missed most of May. Since returning, the 34-year-old has hit a much more respectable .262/.356/.436 and is an above-average hitter against both lefties and righties. Drew, on the other hand, has hit only .188/.262/.427 in the time since Zobrist has returned to the majors. Bringing in Zobrist would mean the end of Stephen Drew's time on the Yankees. He's already been riding the bench behind Refsnyder, so as long as Chris Young and Garrett Jones remain in New York, Drew will be the one who is displaced by a Zobrist acquisition.

The Yankees would have to take on a bit more salary from the Athletics, as Zobrist will be owed the pro-rated portion of $7.5 million, while Drew will only cost $5 million. He would also require a hefty prospect package to get Billy Beane to deal one of his prized trade pieces to the Yankees, but in the end it might be worth it. Zobrist could represent the perfect piece that the Yankees can slip into their lineup without someone needing to get seriously hurt or traded first. You might say they will be paying too much for an incremental upgrade, but that upgrade, no matter how small it might end up being, could mean the difference between a playoff berth and a trip home.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
7 years ago  ::  Jul 21, 2015 - 11:47AM #9
Posts: 66,015

Yankees potential trade target: Daniel Murphy

The Mets' 2014 All-Star second baseman is approaching free agency, so could the Yankees pursue a trade with their crosstown rivals?

The second base position has essentially been a wasteland for the Yankees since Robinson Cano's departure following the 2013 campaign. Brian Roberts was a nightmare to watch last season until he was designated for assignment at the end of July, and though younger, Stephen Drew has somehow been even worse for just about a calendar year. The Yankees seem hesitant to turn the position over to 24-year-oldRob Refsnyder, so it's hardly a surprise to see them checking out the trade market at second once again. It seems like most writers have discussed Ben Zobrist and Brandon Phillips, but perhaps the answer has been in front of the Yankees this whole time, just across town: Daniel Murphy.

A 13th round draft pick in 2006 out of Jacksonville University, Murphy defied expectations by quickly rising to the majors and becoming a pretty darn good bat in theMets' lineup almost immediately. During his seven-year career in Queens, Murphy has hit .288/.332/.417 with 207 doubles, 53 homers, and a 107 wRC+. It took him a little while to find a defensive home, but after playing mostly left field and first base during his first three seasons, he settled into the second base job in 2012 and hasn't looked back. Like Refsnyder though, he's endured a number of questions about his ability to play the position, with the best compliment appearing to be that he was "not awful" last year--a clearly ebullient review, to say the least.

In that aforementioned 2014 season though, Murphy hit an impressive .294/.342/.413 with 31 extra base hits and a 114 OPS+ in the first half, subsequently earning him honors as the Mets' lone All-Star Game representative in Minnesota. Although his production tailed off a little bit in the second half, it was still a roughly league average performance, and there were some whispers that Murphy would be traded in the off-season with free agency beckoning at the end of 2015. However, GM Sandy Alderson decided to hang on to Murphy, and the results have not exactly been remarkable.

Murphy struggled with hamstring tightness during spring training that might have later affected his early season performance, which was quite sluggish. Then, he landed on the 15-day DL at the beginning of June with a strained left quad that caused him to miss the rest of the month, and he's split time between second and third to accommodate Wilmer Flores. Overall, the 2015 numbers have actually been steady--he's batting .268/.325/.389 with 16 doubles and five homers in 69 games, good for a 96 wRC+ that really isn't terribly far off from his career norms. He has overcame a miserable .198/.258/.346 April that was fueled by a .189 BABIP to hit a much more typical .298/.352/.409 since then. That kind of production would be useful in any lineup. Hell, his awful April was roughly equivalent to Drew's entire season. Plus, he's tidy too!

It's kind of surprising that there haven't been more articles written about how Murphy could help the Yankees' lineup. He is a line drive hitter with a nice lefty swing that probably could drive a few more homers out of Yankee Stadium than Citi Field, and he fills a position of need.

The Yankees and Mets do not often partake in trades with each other, but this is an instance where the two teams could match up. Although the Mets are in contention at just three games back of the Nationals, they have strong enough pitching that they could still potentially contend without Murphy if Alderson felt that he was receiving an acceptable return. Even if the Yankees decide they don't want to start him at second, he has still proved himself to be a useful utility player who can take the field in a number of different positions. Since Murphy is not going to cost one of the Yankees' top prospects, Brian Cashman should at least be engaged in some discussions with Alderson about Murphy. I don't expect any kind of trade like this to happen, but the possibility should certainly be explored.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
7 years ago  ::  Jul 21, 2015 - 11:49AM #10
Posts: 66,015

Potential 2015 Yankees trade deadline targets: Starting Pitchers

Who could the Bombers possibly look at to boost the rotation?

07/15/2015 11:34 AM ET

By Lou DiPietro

Johnny Cueto will be a hot name in trade talks, but don't sleep on Reds teammate Mike Leake.(AP)

The All-Star Break is upon us, and you know what that means: the trade deadline is just a few weeks away. The Yankees enter the break with a 48-40 record, good for first place in the American League East by a 3.5-game margin over the Tampa Bay Rays, and surely, general manager Brian Cashman will be looking to add onto that if he can find the right fit at the right price for the stretch run.

Any trades the Yankees make don't have to be blockbusters to be important - look at, say, Jerry Hairston Jr. in 2009 - but given the Yankees' first half, there seem to be three spots most likely to be looked at for some potential additions by July 31, and we'll continue our annual mid-season trade speculation with a look at some mid-level starting pitchers who should be on the block.

Starting pitching is always at a premium in Major League Baseball, and while the Yankees seem to have a solid starting five plus decent depth right now, their 2014 season proved you can never have enough.

Heading into July 31, it's certain that Cole Hamels is going to continue to be a hot rumor for everyone, Reds ace Johnny Cueto will be right behind, and the Nationals could look to trade one or both of Doug Fister or Jordan Zimmermann to fill other needs.

All four of those would cost significant prices (and the latter three are, in theory, rentals, as they're all free agents this winter), but if Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda remain healthy, the Yankees may be more in the market for a middle-to-back end option to support CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, and Nathan Eovaldi.

Thus, we've included five guys below - three real possibilities and two intriguing wild cards - who could fit in well as Yankees down the stretch if the team is looking for a boost.

Latos and teammate Dan Haren are both set to be free agents this winter, and with the Marlins having Henderson Alvarez ready to rehab and Jarred Cosart in the minors, the fourth-place (and fading) Fish should make one or both available over the next few weeks.

For the Yankees, Latos is the more likely option, and while he's struggling a bit this season - 3-6 with a 4.90 ERA in 14 starts through the break - his career ERA of 3.45 (and 3.31 ERA in three years in a hitters' park in Cincinnati) could prove this year as an aberration on a bad team. He's also durable, having made 30 or more starts and pitched at least 184 2/3 innings every year from 2010-13 (and 102 1/3 in 16 starts last year, a pace for about 205), so he should have plenty left in the tank after throwing just 75 1/3 in the first half.

Cueto is the hot Reds name, but Leake could very well be on the block as well if the Reds decide to stick with their current ace Cueto for the longer term.

Leake is unique in that he never played an inning in the minors, jumping straight to MLB in 2010 after being the No. 8 overall pick the previous summer. He is 6-5 with a 4.08 ERA in 18 starts this year and 59-47 with a 3.94 ERA in 165 total outings with the Reds, and at just 27, any audition could lead to a long-term deal somewhere.

He has pitched 114 2/3 innings already, but considering he threw 214 1/3 last year, another 15 starts even at seven innings per won't put him too far past his career high.

Yes, Happ was sent to the minor leagues by the Mariners last week - allowing them to bring up Jesus Montero, of all players - but that looked to be a procedural move, as Happ wasn't set to start again for at least 10 days.

To start, Happ has one valuable trait suited for Yankee Stadium, being that he throws with his left arm, and he knows the AL East thanks to two-and-a-half seasons in Toronto. On top of that, he's 4-5 with a 4.14 ERA in 17 starts this year, has thrown just 92 innings - meaning, with his pace, he won't surpass his career-high of 166 by too much - and has nine quality starts in those 17 outings this year. He's also owed only about $2 million the rest of the way, marking him as some inexpensive left-handed insurance.

And we finish with two Phillies other than Hamels, the two we'll call wild cards because they may actually have more value towards the waiver trade deadline of August 31.

Harang fits into that category because he is currently on the disabled list with plantar fasciitis, a malady he tried to pitch through into July and may be in part responsible for a season that has him 4-11 with a 4.08 ERA in 106 innings over 17 starts.

Therein, perhaps, lies the value, though; Harang averages more than six innings per start, and while he was 0-8 with a 6.94 ERA in his last eight starts, he was 4-3 with a 2.28 ERA in his first nine - so the foot issues may have bloated that later stat line a bit.

Billingsley, meanwhile, started 2015 on the DL recovering from late-2014 surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon, and he's just six starts into his comeback trail.

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
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