Monday, July 1, 2013

What Trade Bait Do The Yankees Have?

For the record, I'm not giving up on the Yankees this season. Although it's been really hard to watch this team, I still watch hoping somebody will come up with the big hit. But the fact is they have the worst run differential in the AL East (5th worst in the entire AL), have lost their last 5 games, fallen into 4th place in the division, and there's little reason to believe things will change.

"Yeah, I don't think this team can get it done."

Curtis Granderson should be back around the All Star break, and I do feel that he can provide some power out of the outfield. But after that none of the returning players, that are currently on the DL, make me feel much better about the rest of the season. Derek Jeter should be better than Jayson Nix, but we have to remember that Jete is 39 and is coming off of a major injury (broken ankle in 2012 ALCS) and a slightly less major one (small crack found in ankle in April). Francisco Cervelli was hitting lights out earlier this season before breaking a bone in his hand, but it would be Lindsay Lohan-insane to think he'll continue that 141 wRC+. You can't count on Kevin Youkilis' return, as the guy has already missed nearly half the games due to his busted back. And Mark Teixeira is now lost of the season, as he's going to need wrist surgery to repair his torn tendon sheath.

So the Yankees need to do a hell of a lot more than just add a middle reliever or bench bat like in previous seasons. At the minimum, the team needs to find a corner infielder. Somebody that could replace David Adams at 3B regularly, and handle 1B when the team faces a lefty starter (Overbay stinks vs. LHP). It would be great if the team were able to pull off multiple trades to fill those holes, which includes a better hitting catcher, or one big one with the Phillies (a trade for Michael Young and Carlos Ruiz would be awesome), but I don't have a good feeling about such a thing happening. Not that it can't happen, but I'm not extremely positive about it. The reason for that is I'm not sure the Yankees have the players to pull off that type of deal.

It kills me that people keep on talking about trading Phil Hughes and/or Joba Chamberlain. The only teams that might be interested in either player are those that are in the hunt for the postseason, because after the season those two are free agents. But seeing how they have pitched, I can't imagine a contending team would even want them. Never mind the cost to get them in the first place. 

"Sorry, buddy. We're likely stuck with Hughes and Chamberlain."

Sure, Joba and/or Phil could be signed to an extension by the team that trades for them, but we're talking about guys with a combined 153 ERA+. In the last 2+ years Phil's ERA+ is 88, so it's not like his poor 2013 is that surprising. Joba had a great 2011 season, but last year his WHIP was a very high 1.548, so an extension for him would be a questionable move at best.

Let me ask you this... At this moment, would you want the Yankees to sign Phil or Joba to an extension? If you answered "yes", then you're either drunk, a liar, or you hate the Yankees. So why would any other team want to sign either of them to an extension? Because believe it or not, they aren't all run by morons.

So at this point the team may as well hold onto Hughes, possibly move him to the bullpen, and see if they can get some value out of the guy. The same for Chamberlain, following a move to something just above mop-up duty. Because the possibility of them being of any value to the Yankees from here on out is probably better than what the team could get in return in a trade.

So what else do the Yankees have of value, either to a contender or to somebody looking to rebuild for the future? 

The idea of trading away Robinson Cano has been brought up quite a bit, but seeing as how he'd cost around $7 million by the trade deadline, the only teams that would want to deal for him would be contenders. And do we want to give another contender an elite player like Cano? To put it another way, would you want to face Cano in the playoffs? My answer to those questions would be a resounding "NO". And like I wrote about a couple of days ago, I want the team to re-sign Robbie and build a team around him.

I don't see the Yankees being willing to move a good MLB regular, such as Brett Gardner, because they don't have anybody they can depend on to step in. Even if you think Zoilo Almonte can continue to tear things up, and therefore Granderson could come back to CF while Zoilo plays regularly in LF, trading Gardner would mean Ichiro and/or Vernon Wells would get regular playing time. That's not a good thing (no, I don't believe Ichiro will continue to hit like he has lately). If the team had young players ready to step in for Gardner or possibly Cano, then that would totally change my thoughts. But that's not the case, so the Yankees need to hold onto those valuable pieces if they want to contend.

Speaking of Zoilo, the team may want to strike while the iron is hot. He may turn out to be a fine MLB regular, but I don't believe his value will ever be much higher than it is now. And face it, he's not going to keep hitting with an OPS+ of 127. So I'd definitely consider dealing him should his name be brought up.

"I'll make you pay for doubting me."

As for other young hitters with MLB experience, we have David Adams, Eduardo Nunez, Austin Romine,  Thomas Neal, Corban Joseph, and Zoilo Almonte. Almonte is the only one that has stood out at all, but his batting line of .269/.333/.432 in the minors could give some teams pause in trading much for him. I could see a team being interested in Adams, as the guy did hit really well in the minors (.296/.380/.450), but would they give up much in exchange? 

Moving on to "big" prospects, the only one that is doing well is Gary Sanchez. But seeing as how he's in A-ball, I can't see him fetching a ton. I don't mean that he has little to no value, but he doesn't seem to be a guy that could be the centerpiece in a trade package. Rafael DePaula isn't as highly touted as Sanchez, but he's having a great season. But like Gary, Rafael is too young to be a big piece in a trade. One player that wasn't very highly touted before the season, but who's having a good year, is JR Murphy. Seeing as how Murphy is further along than DePaula or Sanchez, he could be a nice piece in a trade package.

Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams, and Tyler Austin looked like an awesome trio of outfield prospects coming into this season. But while Slade and Mason have stunk it up this season, Austin's 111 wRC+ isn't as good as it should be. So they've lost a bit of their luster. Not that I'd "give" any of those three outfielders away, I'm just saying their value right now is at a low point.

The Yankees do have some depth when it comes to pitching, whether that be starters or relievers. David Phelps and Vidal Nuno are not only young, but they have had some success in the Majors, which would make them nice "gets" for a team. Ivan Nova had a really rough time early this season, but he's been pretty good in his last couple of starts, so a team might welcome him aboard. And although Adam Warren has only had one start in MLB, which was last season, all he did was start in the minors.  So he could would be a nice addition to a rebuilding team too. 

"You know you want me."

On the bullpen side, the Yankees have a really good young reliever in David Robertson. But I can't see the team willing to weaken what has been one of the few bright spots on the team. Especially since the loss of Robertson could leave them with a huge hole at closer beginning next year. But somebody like 25 year-old Preston Claiborne could be of interest, as he's been really impressive this season (1.46 ERA and 0.932 WHIP). Then, in AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, we have guys like Sam Demel, who currently has an ERA of 1.41, and batting average against of .185. Mark Montgomery was thought by many as a possible set-up man next year, and even though he's not having his best year, his name could turn some heads. And Dellin Betances has done a fine job out of the bullpen as well.

Even though I don't see the team making a huge splash, I think something interesting could happen. I'll wrap this up with my list of trade bait. Now, I'm sure there are some guys that I haven't included that could have value to another team, but the I believe the guys listed would be more attractive on the trading block.

note: players with an asterisk are currently in the minors or have no MLB experience

RP Preston Claiborne
RP Dellin Betances*
RP Mark Montgomery*
RP Sam Demel*
SP Vidal Nuno
SP Adam Warren
SP David Phelps
SP Ivan Nova
OF Zoilo Almonte
OF Mason Williams*
OF Slade Heathcott*
OF Tyler Austin*
C Gary Sanchez*
C JR Murphy*

No comments:

Post a Comment

Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)