Trades the Yankees Should Already Be Thinking About
The New York Yankees went all in this past offseason, bringing in a slew of free agents including Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Masahiro Tanaka. They ended up spending over $500 million.
The goal of all that? To win the franchise's 28th World Series Championship.
Well, those additions, and others, have already paid huge dividends so far this season, but this roster has holes that could keep the Yankees from reaching that final goal. A lack of depth and injuries have hurt this team and will likely continue to do so.
With that in mind, general manager Brian Cashman might want to start testing the waters and see who is on the block. Here are a few names he might want to look at.
All stats were obtained via Baseball-Reference.com.
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Didi Gregorius SS
At just 24 years old, Gregorius is a young, slick-fielding shortstop who is considered major league ready. Had it not been for Chris Owings, the Arizona Diamondbacks' other highly-touted prospect of the same position, Gregorius would in all likelihood be starting in the big leagues already.
Currently playing for the D'backs Triple-A affiliate Reno, Gregorius is batting .277 with three homers and 15 RBI's in 110 at-bats. In 103 games at the major league level last year, he hit seven homers and knocked in 28 runs while batting .252. He played solid defense as well, committing only 13 errors.
Gregorius would give the Yankees much needed depth in the infield. Second baseman Brian Roberts has been struggling at the plate this year and may be better suited as a role player coming off the bench at this point in his career. Gregorius could take over for him and then move back to short when Derek Jeter retires at the end of the season. At such a young age, he still has plenty of room to grow.
According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, Arizona GM Kevin Towers has made it clear since spring training that he is looking for a catcher who is major league ready.
"Our biggest needs in our system are catching," Towers said. "If it's the right, top-notch catching prospect. Someone we could have right behind Miggy (Miguel Montero)."
If there is one thing the Yankees have, it's an abundance of catchers. It would take more from the Yankees to complete a deal for Gregorius, but John Ryan Murphy or Austin Romine could be a potential match for Arizona.
Jason Hammel RHP
In what has been a typical Chicago Cubs season so far, Hammel has been a pleasant surprise in the rotation. In six starts he is 4-1 and boasting a 2.43 ERA. Not bad for a guy the Cubs took a one-year flier on.
Of course, there is a reason Hammel got only a one-year deal from Chicago. In his nine years in the bigs Hammel has been pedestrian at best, putting up a career record of 53-60 with a 4.71 ERA.
However, with his expiring contract and superb stats thus far this season, Hammel is definitely worth taking the chance on.
The Yankees took a major hit when Ivan Nova went down, requiring Tommy John surgery. Additionally, Michael Pineda will be out for 3-4 weeks with a Grade 1 strain to the teres muscle. A guy like Hammel would provide a lot more stability than either Vidal Nuno or David Phelps, the current fill-ins for Nova and Pineda.
Tyler Clippard RP
A ninth round pick out of the the 2003 amateur draft by the Yankees, Clippard has gone on to establish himself as a dominant reliever for the Washington Nationals, sporting a 2.98 ERA over his eight-year career.
In 13.2 innings he has a 2.63 ERA in 2014.
Despite his dominance, Clippard is expendable considering the Nats' bullpen depth. Closer Rafael Soriano is accompanied by Drew Storen, a man who owns a 40+ save season of his own. At 29 years old, Clippard will be a free agent after next year and could garner a nice return in a trade.
For the Yankees, Clippard would provide their bullpen with something it is missing—a veteran presence. Clippard is accustomed to the set up role. At the same time, should David Robertson struggle, Clippard has had success in the closer's role and could step in. In 2012, Clippard recorded 32 saves.
Asdrubal Cabrera SS
Cabrera could be another possible answer to the Yankees infield problems.
Once destined to be a rising star for the Cleveland Indians, Cabrera has gone into a bit of a nosedive since hitting 25 homers and 92 RBI's in 2011. In the three seasons since (including 2014), he has hit 31 homers and driven in a total of 139 runners while batting .253. This year has not been kind to him so far, as he is batting a measly .218 in 31 games.
Still, for the right price, Cabrera could be worth the risk for New York. The team still needs help in the infield and even if Cabrera does not find his old self at the plate, he can still flash the leather. Back in 2011, he would have made a decent successor for Jeter. Now, the Yankees could trade for him with that in mind. If things don't work out, the Yankees can let him walk after the season when his contract is up.
With minor league shortstop Francisco Lindor ready to take over in Cleveland, it is very likely that Cabrera gets moved at the deadline. Whether it will be to the Bronx or elsewhere is the question.
Jeff Samardzija RHP
Another one of the few bright spots the Cubs have to offer is Jeff Samardzija. A deal for the right-hander could put the Yankees over the top.
He may not have a win yet this season, but don't let his record fool you. In 41 innings he has an ERA of 1.98. The lack of wins comes from a lack of support from his team.
As mentioned earlier, the Yankees are hurting after injuries to Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda. Samardzija, a former wide receiver at Notre Dame, would be a tremendous fix, not just this season, but in the long term as well. He is under team control until after the 2015 season and has shown the makings a solid No. 2 pitcher, possibly an ace, on a contending team.
Naturally, the price for a pitcher like Samardzija will be steep. The Yankees may need some help from a third team in getting the deal done. Back in April Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi reported that the Cubs asked for highly-regarded Blue Jays pitching prospects Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez in exchange for Samardzija, a deal that Toronto declined.
According to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, Samardzija rejected a five-year extension from the Cubs this past year. It is widely believed that if he is not traded, Samardzija will walk in free agency.