Once upon a time, Nick Swisher was an underrated acquisition by the Yankees
This trade deadline, everyone is going to be paying attention to the big names, the game-changers that will be on the move. Guys like Zack Greinke, Cole Hamels, Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster, guys that can single-handedly determine the outcome of not only a division race, but a postseason series.
But sometimes, it's the moves we don't pay attention to that really make the difference. For example, in 2010 the Giants picked up Cody Ross, who then led them to the 2010 World Series title and earned the series MVP award. Not Tim Lincecum, not Matt Cain, not Brian Wilson, but the underrated Cody Ross.
So, which underrated players could the 2012 Yankees pick up to help them in their quest for ring No. 28? This is a good team, currently the best in baseball, but every team has its weakness, and these four players would each play an important role in New York if Brian Cashman can get them there.
A catcher in Minnesota? We're talking about Joe Mauer right? No, we're talking about one of the newest Twins, Ryan Doumit.
Doumit was brought in prior to the 2012 season to ease some of Mauer's workload, one that saw him land on the DL multiple times due to the fatigue caused by being an everyday catcher. It's probably safe to say that Mauer will not be able to remain a catcher throughout his career, but to start to try to save him, the Twins signed themselves a catcher capable of handling Mauer's duties on his DH-days and off-days.
So far, Doumit has impressed, leading the Twins to sign him to a very team-friendly contract extension in June. With this brand-new contract, the Twins might be hesitant to trade Doumit, but looking up from last place in the AL Central, they really aren't in any position to pass up a deal involving ANY prospects.
The Yankees, with Russell Martin's recent prolonged struggles, should look into acquiring a backstop capable of doing more than weakly chopping the ball into the infield, and Doumit would certainly fit the bill.
Same as with Doumit, Jonathan Lucroy is a above-average hitting catcher with the Brewers, one that usually falls into the shadow of players like Ryan Braun and Zack Greinke.
With Milwaukee entering the All-Star break eight games back of the first-place Pirates, they could become sellers at the deadline. If this were to occur, Greinke would definitely be dealt, but so too could a guy like Lucroy.
First, however, Lucroy would need to make a successful return from the DL, but if he can do that, he could bring in a nice return for the Brewers. Before landing on the disabled list, Lucroy was hitting a robust .345 with five homers and 30 RBI in 43 games for Milwaukee this year, excellent numbers for anyone, nevermind a catcher.
Lucroy is no star, but the Brewers might view him as one of the future, so the Yankees might find it difficult to pry him away from them. But if they could acquire him, it would turn their one glaring weakness into a strength.
A few days before the break, the Yankees took one of the steps necessary to begin compensating for the lack of Brett Gardner by claiming former Red Sox outfielder Darnell McDonald.
McDonald, a right-handed hitter, is expected to get playing time in left field against left-handers while Andruw Jones serves as the DH. The Yankees have been forced into a platoon situation in left field and DH, since both left-handers Dewayne Wise and Raul Ibanez struggle heavily against left-handed pitching, while Jones struggles against righties.
However, as much fun as it might be using a former Red Sox hitter against them, my gut tells me McDonald isn't going to cut it for the Yankees. They need someone with a better bat and faster legs, someone like Rajai Davis of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Now with Davis being in the division, it might be a little more difficult to trade for him, but with Toronto sharing the cellar of the AL East with Boston heading into the break, they might be willing to part with the speedy outfielder.
Davis would combine with Wise to essentially replace Gardner's presence in the lineup, adding the speed factor that the Yankees have been lacking.
With Andy Pettitte out until likely September, the Yankees are going to have to figure out a way to fill his spot in the rotation.
With a rotation already consisting of CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova, and Phil Hughes, the fifth spot doesn't need an ace, just someone who could put the club in a position to win every fifth day.
The perfect man for the Yankees? Houston Astros closer, Brett Myers.
Yes, I said closer. You see, with all of the young arms trying to get situated on the Astros—a team not meant to win in 2012—the team decided to delegate Myers to closing duties so that he could serve as a mentor to the younger pitchers while also playing a pivotal role in the bullpen.
Now while this might raise the question of "Can he still start?" or "Will he be able to throw that many pitches again?" the answer is yes.
Myers is a veteran, and still fairly young at 32, so he'll have no problem making the transition. And the best part about Myers is that once Pettitte returns to the rotation, Myers can make the transition back to the bullpen and give the Yankees even more depth for their postseason run.
Acquiring Myers would be a two-for-one deal for the Yankees.