It's unclear as to what role the New York Yankees will play in the July 31 trade deadline, but general manager Brian Cashman will likely be looking to make improvements to a team he hopes can fight for a spot in the playoffs.
Debate his logic if you must, but going younger isn't necessarily the best thing to do when in the thick of a playoff race. For the future, yes, the team needs to get much, much younger. But throwing inexperience into a four- (possibly five-) team race in the American League East is not only ludicrous but also irresponsible.
Several reports have already surfaced regarding the Yankees and trade rumors. Per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the team is apparently "aggressively shopping" Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, while Hughes has already been linked as a potential target for the Colorado Rockies.
While dealing these players may not bring back large returns, there are a few scenarios where Hughes and Chamberlain could fetch some good players for the Yankees.
There are plenty of other deals the Yankees could explore, and the following five are ones that could get the Yankees out of the offensive mediocrity they've lingered in all season long.
Philadelphia Phillies Get: Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Ben Gamel (Outfielder, High-A Tampa)
Yankees Get: Michael Young, Carlos Ruiz
The Philadelphia Phillies have pieces the Yankees could use, and the Yankees have pitching that the Phillies so desperately need. These two teams match up perfectly.
With Alex Rodriguez's status up in the air for the remainder of the season because of the Biogenesis scandal, the Yankees would need Michael Young's help at third base. Given their lack of depth at catcher, Carlos Ruiz would be another great fit.
As all the players involved are free agents at the end of the season, the Yankees may have to offer a prospect to entice Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro. Ben Gamel would be a great piece to offer, as his name often gets lost in the shuffle when talking about top outfield prospects Mason Williams, Tyler Austin and Slade Heathcott. The Yankees likely wouldn't miss Gamel all that much.
Young and Ruiz wouldn't be the best players traded at the deadline, but each would fill holes offensively that have haunted the Yankees all season long. At the very least, they'll be above-average placeholders until next season.
Seattle Mariners Get: Joba Chamberlain, Danny Burawa (Pitcher, Double-A Trenton) and cash considerations
Yankees Get: Kendrys Morales
Don't get me wrong. Lyle Overbay has filled in admirably at first base given the low expectations thrust upon him. He may not have the highest OPS, but Overbay has been more than serviceable this season. That being said, the Yankees need pop in their lineup. Overbay can't give them that.
The Seattle Mariners have a potentially available first baseman who can hit, and the Yankees would do well to pick him up. Kendrys Morales is having a fine first season in Seattle, as his 14 home runs and 54 RBI put him on pace to beat last season's marks of 22 and 73, respectively.
Acquiring Morales shouldn't take all that much, as he too is a free agent come season's end. Joba Chamberlain, Danny Burawa and cash should be just the right amount to pry him away.
Morales would add some thunder to a lineup lacking any at all and would still bat toward the middle of the order even when Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson and (potentially) Alex Rodriguez return.
St. Louis Cardinals Get: Slade Heathcott (Outfielder, Double-A Trenton), Brett Marshall (Pitcher, Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre) and Nik Turley (Pitcher, Double-A Trenton)
Yankees Get: Matt Adams
It may seem like a lot of talent for a guy who's only played in 82 career games, but Matt Adams has serious skills at the plate. In just 133 at-bats this season, he owns a line of .316/.368/.549 with seven home runs and 26 RBI.
He's without a steadfast position in St. Louis, as Allen Craig is one of the better first baseman in the National League. This makes him a candidate to be traded, even if the Cardinals are reluctant to make him one. Because he's under contract until after the 2018 season, the Yankees will have to offer up a pretty penny.
Two minor league pitchers and a quality minor league outfielder should be enough to keep the Cardinals listening, but don't be surprised if such a deal involves multiple other players from both teams.
Adams would solve the Yankees' issue at first base for the remainder of this season, as well as giving them plenty of options moving forward. His obvious ability to DH also makes him an attractive option.
This deal would make the team better but is certainly a long shot to go down. With Mark Teixeira entrenched their for the next few seasons, Adams will be without consistent playing time yet again.
Colorado Rockies Get: Phil Hughes, cash considerations
Yankees Get: Jordan Pacheco
This is essentially the trade that was alluded to in the first slide. The Colorado Rockies are interested in acquiring Phil Hughes as a reliever, and a player who could be sent back to New York is the versatile Jordan Pacheco.
Pacheco, a free agent after the 2017 season, has played catcher, first, second, third and left field in his brief three-year career, though he spent most of last season at the hot corner. This is where the Yankees would likely utilize him.
Pacheco is known for his bat, which is exactly why the Yankees should ask for him in return. He's not having the best of seasons in 2013, but he hit .309/.341/.421 with five home runs and 54 RBI in 475 at-bats in 2012. That's the type of production the Yankees could surely benefit from.
Seeing as Pacheco is locked up for the future and Hughes is a free agent in a few months, the Yankees will have to send a decent amount of cash Colorado's way in an effort to cover most of the remaining dollars on Hughes' deal.
San Diego Padres Get: Phil Hughes and Addison Maruszak (Shortstop, Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre)
Yankees Get: Carlos Quentin
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees are only interested in dealing Hughes to a team willing to offer up a right-handed-hitting corner outfielder with power who is under contract beyond this season.
There's really only one player who comes to mind in that scenario—Carlos Quentin of the San Diego Padres. He's under contract through 2015 and has a mutual option for the 2016 season. The option would be worth $10 million, while the other two years would be worth $9.5 million and $8 million, respectively.
Quentin is having a strong season in San Diego, hitting .275/.366/.496 with 12 home runs, 35 RBI and 17 doubles. It's unclear as to who he would displace in the outfield, though rookie Zoilo Almonte would be the most logical choice. He may be producing, but Curtis Granderson's impending return would have made him the odd man out anyway.
Quentin is still just 30 years old, so he's young enough to be considered a part of the equation for the remaining years on his contract. For so cheap, the Yankees would be foolish not to look into him.