The New York Yankees don't have many trade assets this winter, but there are a few players whom general manager Brian Cashman could dangle in potential trades.
Cashman will more than likely spend most of his time gauging the free-agent market, but if the right package comes around, he might be willing to deal some major league-ready players.
Unfortunately for Cashman, his roster isn't exactly chock-full of trade assets. His major league team is old and has little value to other teams, and recent history would suggest that he isn't willing to deal the top talent that is stored in the minors.
There are plenty of teams that would be interested in the minor league prospects, but don't expect Cashman to part with them for just anybody. It'll take some big-time players in return even to consider moving the future of the organization.
With this being the case, look for borderline major leaguers and players who haven't progressed recently to be dangled. If Cashman finds something he likes, then expect him to waste no time in pulling the trigger. After a pretty disappointing 2013, he should be looking for anything to make his roster stronger.
Eduardo Nunez has had an up-and-down career with the Yankees. After four seasons of relatively mediocre offense and exceptionally poor defense, though, it might finally be time for Cashman to part ways with him.
I've always said that Nunez has fallen victim to a lack of opportunity. Throughout his career, the Yankees have moved him all around the infield (and even the outfield) in an effort to get him playing time. Then, Joe Girardi decided it was best for him to only play shortstop so he could further develop his defense there.
Long story short, he's still yet to improve enough to have a guaranteed roster spot in 2014.
Nunez isn't worth a whole lot in terms of trade value, but Cashman could probably pick up a decent prospect or middle reliever for the young shortstop.
He does have 48 steals in 59 career attempts, and that's something that is at least useful to other teams. There's also still the potential that an increased role will settle him down and make him a more productive player.
I wouldn't be surprised if somebody wanted to take a chance on the affordable young shortstop.
J.R. Murphy and Austin Romine are both expendable catchers. Gary Sanchez is the future of the organization behind the dish, and multiple reports suggest that the Yankees may go hard after Brian McCann in free agency.
With this being the case, look for the Yankees to keep one of Romine and Murphy on the major league club to back up McCann. Cashman could then look to deal the other one or simply store him in the minors, but it might be best to trade one away.
Murphy likely has the most value at this point given Romine's poor showing in 2013. Romine hit just .207/.255/.296 in 135 at-bats, and those numbers simply won't cut it. It doesn't even matter how good his defense behind the dish is.
Murphy offers much more upside and can fetch a larger return. The Yankees could potentially package him with another player on this list for a back-end starter or strong bullpen arm.
It's a risk trading talented young backstops, but the Yankees appear to have a plan at the position moving forward.
Calling Vernon Wells an "asset" seems ridiculous at this point, but there might be a team or two willing to take him on for cheap. If a scenario like that arises, then Cashman would be simply foolish to pass it up.
The Yankees have a logjam of sorts in the outfield next year. After Alfonso Soriano and Brett Gardner, Wells, Ichiro Suzuki and Zoilo Almonte are seemingly vying for the final two spots. That could all change, of course, if the Yankees bring in another outfielder in free agency.
Both Wells and Ichiro are under contract for 2014, but I like Ichiro as a superutility outfielder. He can play anywhere, provide above-average defense and offers much more potential at the plate than Wells.
After an unbelievable start to 2013, Wells was basically nonexistent for the Yankees in the second half (and even well before that). Trusting him to hit anything more than .220 with five or six home runs next season isn't a smart thing to do.
Honestly, the best thing to do would be to dump him for minor league depth and call it a day. He's not necessarily an asset, but he's a candidate to be traded at some point this winter or during spring training.
Brett Marshall made just three appearances out of the bullpen for the Yankees in 2013, pitching to a 4.50 ERA and striking out seven in 12.0 innings pitched.
He's one of the team's better pitching prospects, though, and it doesn't appear as if he'll have a spot in the starting rotation next season. There are others in the minors ahead of him in the major league pecking order—Michael Pineda, Vidal Nuno and others—so it would take a bevy of injuries for him to make the club as a starter next year.
The bullpen is always an option, but he's a starting pitcher. Teams that see him in that role could look to include him in a deal.
Even average pitching prospects are valuable in trades, and the Yankees could package Marshall with a few others prospects (or players on this list) to acquire a third baseman for 2014.
Alex Rodriguez's situation is still up in the air, and Mark Reynolds is a free agent. Reynolds and fellow free agent Jhonny Peralta could be options at the hot corner, but Marshall could be used in a trade for an even better third baseman.
Chase Headley, perhaps?
Adam Warren is in the same boat as Brett Marshall. He's somewhat buried on the depth chart and may not have a place in the rotation after spring training.
That being said, Warren does have more experience in the bigs than Marshall. He was effective out of the bullpen last year, pitching to a 3.39 ERA in 77.0 innings (34 appearances). He even finished a surprising 17 games.
Even though he still has the potential to be a starter, his effectiveness as a middle reliever makes him attractive to clubs looking to pick up another arm cheaply. Warren wouldn't require that much to pry away from the Yankees, though Cashman has every right to hold out for the right deal.
He doesn't have to trade Warren (or any of these players, for that matter), so putting out some feelers and accepting the best option would obviously be best.
There's also a chance that Warren simply breaks camp with the big league club as a member of the bullpen. Warren is a player whom Cashman has a ton of options with, and expect him to explore all of them in the coming months.