As the trade deadline approaches, the New York Yankees need to make a deal if they want to remain atop the AL East.
However, they should be more worried about the other teams in the division, as Boston and Tampa Bay are finally getting back some of their playmakers from injuries.
With Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury returning for Boston, they are getting a jolt to the top of the order and an influx of speed.
As for the Rays, the return of Evan Longoria could spell problems for AL East opposition.
The Yankees need to make a move to bolster their lineup and make sure they finish the season on top of the vaunted division.
With outfielder Brett Gardner on the shelf for the foreseeable future, New York should look to acquire an outfielder at this year’s deadline.
Gardner may be out for the remainder of the season, as he had multiple elbow injuries, many of which have been setbacks from the original injury.
Without Gardner, the Yanks have replaced him with 40-year-old Raul Ibanez, who is batting only .241 this season.
It would be in the Yankees’ best interest to replace Gardner with someone who can make an impact for New York.
Denard Span, Minnesota Twins
The Yankees have reportedly inquired about the availability of Span, but have yet to make a move.
The Twins are reportedly asking for quite the return for Span, who is currently batting .275 for the lowly Twins.
Span could definitely improve the bottom of the order for the Yanks and give them more speed and flexibility in the outfield.
With both him and Curtis Granderson in the outfield, it would be rare for a fly ball to drop without one of the speedy outfielders getting to it.
Nonetheless, Span is not a player that is worth top prospects. If the price is right, Span is a nice addition.
If the Twins are transfixed on a package that would include top prospects in return for Span, New York should look elsewhere.
He could certainly help the Yankees moving forward, but putting the club’s future at risk to acquire him simply would not be worth it.
Shane Victorino, Philadelphia Phillies
With the Phillies currently at the bottom of the NL East, they may be sellers during the deadline.
The Yankees have a void in the outfield, and with Shane Victorino likely entering free agency after the season, the Phillies could send him packing.
New York is currently in the mix for the Flyin’ Hawaiin and would be wise to step up their pursuit.
Victorino is not only speedy, but is also a deceptively good hitter, especially against left-handed pitching.
This season, he boasts a .315 average against lefties, and has hit five home runs.
His batting approach would give the Yankees flexibility in the order and his defense could give Curtis Granderson a rest from playing center every day.
With Philadelphia more focused on re-signing Cole Hamels, the Yanks should make a move to acquire Victorino.
He would fill in nicely to either the top or bottom of the order and, with his 21 stolen bases already this season, could help the Yankees on the base paths.
At this point, it is not known what New York would need to give up to make a deal happen, but Victorino is worth a high asking price.
Regardless, the Yankees need more versatility and speed in the outfield, and Victorino adds both of those dimensions.
With Upton’s numbers down after a monster 2011 campaign, the Diamondbacks may be looking to move the slugger.
The Yankees are reportedly interested and with good reason.
The 24-year-old Upton is fresh off a 31 home run season, where he also swiped 21 bases and batted .289.
However, it has been a different feel this season for the Diamondbacks’ star, who has faced animosity from Arizona’s front office.
Regardless, Upton has all the physical tools to be a superstar for years to come, and someone who could certainly do damage in the Yankees’ order.
Teaming Upton with Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira could spell big things for the Yankees as they close the season.
Upton has a no-trade clause that reportedly features the Yankees, but general manager Brian Cashman needs to find a way to get this deal done.
With Upton, the Yankees immediately become younger and more balanced, as he is a five-tool player with power to both sides of the field.
Putting him in the outfield alongside Curtis Granderson and with Nick Swisher likely entering free agency this offseason, Upton could step into his rightful place in right field.
Nonetheless, the biggest obstacle is the asking price and what the Yankees would have to give up in order to receive Upton.
According to Joel Sherman, the package would be similar to the deal that brought Granderson to the Bronx. Arizona would most likely receive one of the Yankee’s top prospects, an MLB-ready pitcher and an infielder in return for Upton.
The asking price makes sense, as the Yankees would be receiving a player with limitless potential.
New York needs to get a deal done to maintain their stranglehold on the AL East.