Is it time for Joba to try someplace else?
The New York Yankees' patchwork roster has somehow managed to stay at, or near, the top of the AL East despite continued injury setbacks.
Now, as some of the bigger name stars get close to their returns to the Bronx, it is time for the team to use its newfound abundance of talent as leverage in deals in an attempt to get younger and lower its payroll.
Here's a look at a few possible trades the Bombers could make that would offer win-win results.
All stats via mlb.com.
Could the Yankees land Daniel Murphy and let Cano fly?
The New York Mets rank 28th in ERA out of the bullpen in MLB. The Yankees relief corps ranks fourth in the AL in ERA, and with Joba Chamberlain coming off the DL, they seem to have an embarrassment of riches in the 'pen.
Despite being crosstown rivals, it would only make sense that the two teams explore ways to help each other out.
While the Yankees continue to work on negotiations with star second baseman Robinson Cano (who becomes a free agent at the end of the season), they could relieve that pressure by swinging some deals now rather than facing a very real possibility of having to replace him next offseason.
The first step would be to secure a solid major league second baseman. It would have to be someone able to handle the media scrutiny that surely would follow in New York City.
Look no further than New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy.
The 28-year-old has a .293 career batting average and is solid in the field (he has a .990 fielding percentage this season).
With the emergence of relievers Preston Claiborne (0.69 ERA and 0.69 WHIP in nine appearances) and Shawn Kelley (33 strikeouts in a little over 19 innings pitched), Chamberlain is more than expendable.
At 27 years old, and blessed with a mid-to-high 90s fastball and knee-buckling curveball, Joba certainly would be a welcome addition to the Mets beleaguered bullpen. He would have a better shot at becoming a closer with the Mets than he would with the Yankees.
If the Mets are willing to deal with some of the off-field baggage that Chamberlain brings with him (that's never stopped them before), he could offer them valuable late-inning relief (prior to his injury, he had not given up a run or walked a batter in his last six appearances).
Corban Joseph is a 24-year-old second baseman currently at Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre in the Yankees' system. Like Murphy, Joseph bats left-handed and has shown that he is almost ready for the major league club.
This deal provides the Mets with a decent (and still young) arm in the bullpen, as well as a young, competent second baseman.
For the Yankees it would mean a large drop in salary, as Murphy currently makes $2.95 million per season, while Cano will be seeking an exorbitant deal.
The question in all of this is whether the Mets would be willing to take on the sometimes volatile Chamberlain and the media circus that would follow. If so, the deal could benefit both organizations.
Will Cano be a Yankee in 2014?
Robinson Cano is the heart of the New York Yankees order and their one true superstar. He is also a free agent at the end of the season, and despite ongoing negotiations has not yet re-signed with the Bombers.
Because the 30-year-old Cano is at the peak of his career, and there is a distinct possibility he may not be wearing pinstripes next season, he is the one player the Yankees can get the most for in a trade of any kind.
The New York Yankees outfield is aging (Brett Gardner is the only starter under the age of 30), and their top prospects are still a few years away from being productive major league ball players.
With those things in mind, now may be the time for the team to go after one of the top young outfielders in the game—Giancarlo Stanton.
At 23 years old, Stanton has already flashed superstar talent while mired on poor Miami Marlins teams.
Over the previous two seasons, Stanton has hit 71 HR while batting .276. He has a .974 fielding percentage and 26 outfield assists since 2011.
Ichiro Suzuki will be 40 next year, and it is expected that the Yankees will let Curtis Granderson become a free agent after the season.
The bottom line is that the team could use Stanton right away.
In Miami, Cano would be the primary draw over the remainder of the season for a team that is rebuilding. Whether the Marlins would be willing to negotiate a contract to keep him with the team is debatable. They showed this past winter that they were moving towards building from within the organization.
It's more than likely the Yankees would have to part with a minor league player or two in order for this deal to happen, but given Stanton's youth and incredible ceiling it would be worth the sacrifice.
Trumbo would provide the flexibility in the field that the Yankees cherish
As already mentioned, the New York Yankees outfield is aging and in need of help.
Given that Ivan Nova has already returned to the big league club, veteran Andy Pettitte is soon to return and the highly-anticipated debut of Michael Pineda in the Bronx may only be a little more than a month away, the Yankees rotation will soon be crowded.
Phil Hughes is coming off a 16-win season, and, excluding two back-to-back horrible performances on the mound a couple of weeks ago, he has been one of the Yankees' best starters (holding a 1.98 ERA and 0.95 WHIP since April 18th). Unfortunately, Hughes is a free agent at the end of the season.
Even though it may seem like he has been with the Yankees for a long time, Hughes is still only 27 years old. This would make him an enticing piece in a deal with a team looking for starting pitching.
Mark Trumbo is also 27 years old and a decent outfielder with good power (61 HR in the previous two seasons). With the Angels he has been a fourth outfielder and backup first baseman, and as such he is second on the team in RBI (34) and leads it in HR (11) in 2013.
The fact that he has such a high standing on a team with the likes of Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols and Mike Trout speaks volumes for his talent.
By working this deal out, both the Yankees and Angels would be addressing immediate needs. Even though each would lose a significant talent, it would be at a position for which each team already has someone to step into the vacated role.