5 Trades the Yankees Could Make That Will Solidify Them as No. 1 Contenders

Brian Buckley@brianbuck13Contributor IIJuly 16, 2012

5 Trades the Yankees Could Make That Will Solidify Them as No. 1 Contenders

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    There are some things that just go together so well like peanut butter and jelly and Mike and the Mad Dog.  So, with the trade deadline approaching, no one should be surprised that the New York Yankees are being mentioned with rumors of player swapping.

    This year, the team doesn’t appear to be in any dire need for any certain part.  They own the best record in baseball with many of their big names on the disabled list.  Life is good, right?

    But, let’s not forget these are the Yankees.  Whether they are in first place or struggling, the powers that be are always looking to improve their product if the opportunity were to present itself.

Zack Greinke

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    Small market teams know the deal.  Whether a team is winning or not, it knows that when its star will demand a pay increase at the end of his contract, he has to be shown the door.

    Is it fair?  Probably not.  Is it the truth? Absolutely. 

    So with Brewers pitcher Zack Greinke once again putting up great numbers, it's safe to say he'll want a little more jingle in his pocket on his next contract.  The Brewers probably can’t meet his needs, so he is being shopped around the league.  What’s more the Brewers don’t want to be jilted at the altar with nothing to show for it when Greinke goes elsewhere.

    Any team would enjoy the services of a stud like Greinke, however his health hazards are always revolving around the 28-year-old.  While it's commendable he is able to deal with social anxiety disorder, the fact he lives with it makes it a constant issue that will always be linked with the dominant righty.

    We all know the media and fans in New York amplify the pressure to intergalactic heights.  The combination of Bronx cheers and a clinical social condition don’t seem to bode well together. 

    Who knows what could happen, but it's doubtful the Yankees want an Ed Whitson redux.

Matt Garza

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    Surprise! The Chicago Cubs aren’t good! 

    Actually, they are so bad that they once again have taken their annual spot as one of the worst teams in baseball.  But new GM Theo Epstein doesn’t appear to be taking the futility with acceptance. 

    Determined to get rid of bloated contracts and to rebuild a subpar minor league system, many rumors have stated pitcher Matt Garza could be one the soon to be departed. 

    In terms of the Yankees' interest, Garza has plenty to offer to the Bronx.

    The 28-year-old righty is in the last year of his current contract and is eager to pitch in a meaningful game.  With his three years in Tampa, the Yankees are well aware he is battle tested in the AL East.  Facing and holding your own in the best division in baseball is an attribute that simply can’t be taught.

Cole Hamels

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    With Philadelphia’s woes morphing into an official “lost season," the rumors of a fire sale have surfaced.  One of the crown jewels of that baseball tag sale revolves around Phillies lefty Cole Hamels. 

    In all honesty, the 28-year-old lefty would fit in perfect for the Bombers.  Possessing a career era of 3.38 and the proven track of record in pitching in worthwhile games, Hamels has the potential to ease into a rotation that might need a shot in the arm.

    However, the downside to the trade is the asking price from the Phils.  Sources have said that the team would be asking in the ballpark of four to five prospects, some being of the “A plus” variety.

    As much as Hamels could help this team, if Philadelphia doesn’t back off their original asking price, the Yankees have to accept the truth and fold their cards.

    Even that’s too rich for their blood.

Justin Upton

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    With the nearly season-long absence of Brett Gardner, the Yankees have had to use Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez more than they possibly could have imagined.  There’s no doubt the results have been a pleasant surprise.  But, how many times can the club go to the well with these aging stars?

    At first glance, the mere notion that the Diamondbacks would want part ways with outfielder Justin Upton is mind-boggling.  With an attractive contract (six years, $50 million ending in 2015) and buckets of production, the most pressing question would be “Why?”

    Well, it appears Arizona is entertaining offers because of a bum shoulder that could prove to be a problem down the road.  That’s not to say they are willing to throw him away like yesterday’s trash. 

    It’s likely the D-backs will probably ask the Yankees for the farm, literally, to relinquish Upton. In the long run the likelihood of him coming to New York is a pipedream.  But, what a dream it is.

Ryan Dempster

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    We already discussed this, but it can be rehashed again.  The Cubs are bad.  Really bad.  Being 14 games out of first place in mid-July is just one example of how the only reason to go to Wrigley Field is for the cheap Olde Style.

    However, one of the lone bright spots on this club is the great season pitcher Ryan Dempster is experiencing.  In 14 starts, he owns a 5-3 record with an extraordinarily low ERA of 1.86.

    Of course, the Yankees aren’t the only team aware of the stellar season the righty is having.  According to some sources, as many as 10 teams are seriously interested in obtaining Dempster’s services.  With that being said, the Cubs appear to be looking for top-flight pitching prospects in return.

    While his numbers are hard to ignore, his age (35) could eventually push many teams including the Yankees, away from the bargaining table.