Aside from re-signing a few older pitchers and picking up Kevin Youkilis and Russ Canzler, New York has done very little throughout this offseason. The Bombers have seen key power hitters Russell Martin and Nick Swisher leave, while Alex Rodriguez has yet to have a surgery on his hip.
As the Steinbrenners insist on getting below the luxury tax, many Yankee fans are seeing a grim picture being painted of an old, overpaid team with little young talent.
Whether or not GM Brian Cashman’s hands are tied while trying to sign players, the fact remains that New York is headed for trouble if some things don’t change.
Here is a list of five trades that Cashman must at the very least consider if there is going to be postseason baseball in the Bronx.
Although these five trades must be considered, they may be tough to complete.
Aside from the 2011 season, Curtis Granderson hasn’t exactly been a solid player in New York.
Although Granderson’s power numbers are strong, his average was the lowest of his career this past season.
Much like Granderson, it seems like a change of scenery wouldn’t hurt Phil Hughes. Hughes was an All-Star in 2010, but has struggled with consistency since. That being said, both Granderson and Hughes still have solid value, and would be able to help the Giants.
Bringing over Hunter Pence would allow Brett Gardner to play in center field and let Pence player either corner outfield spots.
Pence’s numbers were down from 2011, but his on-base percentage was still over .300. He also drove in over 100 runs in 2012.
Tim Lincecum is another player who needs a new place to play. After being a dominant starter in San Francisco, Lincecum’s earned run average jumped to over 5.00 this year.
The Yankees need a young pitcher who is proven to strengthen the middle of the rotation, and Lincecum could be that person.
San Francisco was at the bottom of all of baseball with 103 home runs as a team.
Granderson would be able to bring some power to drive in runs and provide solid defense for the Giants, while Hughes would have a chance to turn his career around.
This would be a trade that benefits both teams.
Last year, the Cardinals ranked 17th in Major League Baseball in home runs.
Although St. Louis was still a strong team, it lacked in the power department and that is exactly where Granderson can fit in.
This would be a straight swap of center fielders, putting the contact-hitting Jon Jay in New York and the power-hitting Granderson in St. Louis. Both Granderson and Jay collected over 130 hits last season, but Granderson had 39 more home runs.
Jay would bring a little more speed to New York, with 19 stolen bases in 2012.
Cashman must see how similar the production is in Jay, even with a discrepancy in home runs.
Another big factor is salary.
Granderson made $10 million last season and is in the final year of his contract, and Jay made $504,000 in 2012.
This is enticing to a team so desperate to get themselves under the luxury tax.
The Yankees would be losing valuable power in Granderson, especially without Martin, Swisher or Rodriguez in the lineup.
But this is a risk Cashman needs to take on a younger player.
Heading into last season, the Yankees felt as though they had too much pitching; enough so that they sent A.J. Burnett to Pittsburgh for prospects.
This year, the fact still remains that pitching is in a surplus in New York, with seven starters on the roster (CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova, David Phelps and Michael Pineda).
This means Cashman still has the ability to move some of his starters around and Nova might be one of them.
Over the past two seasons Nova has won 28 games, and he’s still only 25 years old.
Nova showed early that he can pitch in the big leagues, but struggled at the end of last season essentially pitching himself out of the playoff rotation.
Austin Romine is another young player that might be given a shot elsewhere.
Romine hasn’t gotten much of a chance to prove himself on the big stage and last season suffered a back injury.
Although New York doesn’t have a set starter at catcher, Francisco Cervelli is my front-runner. After playing all season last year, Cervelli will get a chance to earn the spot.
This means New York can go out and get a power hitter rather than a catcher.
Billy Butler would be a good fit in New York because he hits for both power and average. Over the past three years in Kansas City, Butler’s average has hovered around .300, and in 2012 he hit 29 home runs.
Butler can also play first base and the corner outfield spots, and brings a right-handed bat to a heavily left-handed hitting team.
The Yankees will need Butler’s talents next year, maybe more so than Nova’s and Romine’s.
As I have said earlier, it’s just about time for Granderson and Hughes to leave New York, and the Yankees should try to get something for them before they become free agents in 2014.
Along with Hughes, Granderson could be a major contributor in a lineup highlighted by Carlos Gonzalez.
For the Yankees, Fowler would be a tremendous pickup.
Fowler brings speed, power and youth to the New York outfield with no starters less than 30 years old.
Fowler finished 2012 with a .389 on-base percentage, which would be key to a Yankee team that averaged a .337 OBP.
This trade would save New York money and give them some youth in the field, while giving Colorado a solid pitcher and power-hitting center fielder.
This would be a major move for New York for not only this year, but years to come as well.
Over the past four years in Cincinnati, Drew Stubbs has been mediocre and has struck out over 160 times in each of the past three years.
But Stubbs is quick, with 30 stolen bases last year and he has a career .312 on-base percentage.
Stubbs may not be a great hitter but if the Yankees are known for anything it’s patience at the plate, and the veteran team may be able to help Stubbs cut down on his high number of strikeouts.
If hitting coach Kevin Long could work Stubbs into getting on the basepaths, he could score a lot of runs for New York.
And there is Francisco Lindor, Cleveland’s prize shortstop prospect.
Lindor was the eighth overall pick in the 2011 amateur draft, and he is a top talent. It will take a lot for the Indians to part was with him, so that is why I have so many players going to Cleveland in this trade.
Romine is a top prospect in New York’s farm system, and Granderson is a powerful hitter.
The only problem here lies in Alex Rodriguez.
For Rodriguez to go anywhere, New York is going to have to eat a lot of the third baseman’s contract.
With a player like Lindor in the mix to possibly be the heir to Derek Jeter’s spot at shortstop, the Yankee front office might bite the bullet.
Getting the speedy Stubbs and Lindor would be helpful in both the short term and long term.