5 Potential Deals Brian Cashman Should Propose at the Deadline
A talented New York Yankees roster has been decimated by injuries early in 2014, and if general manager Brian Cashman is still committed to competing this year he'll have to propose some deadline deals.
There are holes everywhere on this roster—mostly due to injuries. The Yankees could use some help in the middle of the infield, while insurance at the hot corner and maybe even in the outfield would be nice too.
The real issue is the pitching staff. The starting rotation has fallen apart after appearing to be an apparent strength in spring training, while the bullpen has shown that life after Mariano Rivera is scary. This team needs upgrades in both the rotation and the bullpen if it wants to compete in the tough American League East.
Luckily, there are several players who should be available come the trade deadline. Here are the players Cashman should have his eye on.
1. John Ryan Murphy for Didi Gregorius
Arizona Diamondbacks get: John Ryan Murphy, C
New York Yankees get: Didi Gregorius, SS/2B
Didi Gregorius can solve both the immediate issues in the middle of the infield as well as those of the future. While not a superstar at either position, he would prove to be a capable replacement for Derek Jeter once he officially rides off into the sunset.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweeted back in March that the Yanks could show interest in Gregorius, and Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reported that same month of Arizona's willingness to trade Gregorius and not Chris Owings.
Rubin's report states that Arizona sought a starting pitcher, but seeing as the Yankees don't exactly have a wealth of pitching to offer, acquiring a catcher like John Ryan Murphy should suffice. The 23-year-old is currently hitting .407/.409/.556 as the Yanks' reserve catcher, so it's clear that he can handle MLB pitching (both at the plate and behind the dish).
After Miguel Montero, the Diamondbacks' catching situation is iffy. Murphy would be a capable reserve and spot starter should Montero get hurt.
The Yankees can afford to lose Murphy since Gary Sanchez is waiting in the wings. The team also has Austin Romine and Peter O'Brien down in the minors.
2. Prospects for Jeff Samardzija
Chicago Cubs get: Mason Williams, CF, Jose Ramirez, RHP
New York Yankees get: Jeff Samardzija, RHP
Jeff Samardzija appears destined to move at the deadline. As a team not in a position to compete, the Chicago Cubs could easily find suitors for their best trade chip. At that point, it's a matter of picking the best package.
The Yankees' package sounds like a lot but really isn't. Mason Williams has been disappointing in each of the last two seasons and has quickly lost the "top prospect" title he used to own. In fact, he's sliding pretty quickly down the top 10 prospects, in my opinion.
His power hasn't developed, and neither has his eye at the plate. That said, he's a plus-defender with wheels. I'd say he currently profiles as a marginal No. 4 outfielder.
The other player, Jose Ramirez, was given a shot at the big league bullpen in spring training before an injury set him back. He's got a good arm, but control has been an issue in the past. That said, potential is there for big things. He could be a factor in either the bullpen or rotation.
In Samardzija, the Yankees get a player they can likely lock up to a multiyear extension. He's also a workhorse and pretty-hard thrower with little to no injury history. That's the key here.
3. Cash and a Prospect for Jason Hammel
Chicago Cubs get: Remainder of Jason Hammel's salary, Phil Wetherell, RHP
New York Yankees get: Jason Hammel, RHP
There probably won't be a more attractive option at the trade deadline. Jason Hammel is currently 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 47.2 innings for the Cubbies, but the most attractive aspect of the veteran is that he's only on a one-year, $6 million deal. Talk about affordable.
The Yankees could easily take that salary on. In the end, they'll offer to pay the remainder of Hammel's salary while also throwing in reliever Phil Wetherell. Wetherell has a 0.63 ERA in 12 games for the Tampa Yankees, so he's an attractive bullpen arm who could be groomed into a big league contributor in a few years time.
The best thing about Hammel is that he is a competitor who loves proving doubters wrong, as Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago pointed out:
Hammel helped the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays in their worst-to-first run to the World Series. He notched 10 victories and made 30 starts for the 2009 Colorado Rockies team that won 92 games and a National League wild card. He went 8-6 with a 3.43 ERA for the 2012 Orioles team that came together to win 93 games and an American League wild card.
On the Yankees, he'll be able to answer all the doubters who say the team is too old and injured to compete.
4. Prospects for Cliff Lee
Philadelphia Phillies get: Salary relief, Austin Romine, C, Luis Severino, RHP, Rafael De Paula, RHP, Tyler Wade, SS
New York Yankees get: Cliff Lee, LHP
It's going to take a whole lot to bring in Cliff Lee. In terms of prospects, it will take the quartet mentioned above. In terms of dollars, it will take a lot of money. Lee is currently in the middle of a five-year, $120 million extension he signed prior to the 2011 season.
Luis Severino and Rafael De Paula have the most potential of the above prospects. Both have shown trouble with command, but their upsides are also pretty high. With good stuff and improved control, they could become middle-of-the-rotation guys.
Romine has shown inconsistencies at the plate but could very well develop into a late bloomer. Carlos Ruiz was somewhat of a late bloomer himself, so the Phillies aren't unfamiliar with that type of situation.
This deal is probably the most unrealistic given all the requirements that must be met—the Phillies need to be out of the race by July, for one—but it's something that will be rumored.
5. Prospects for Aaron Crow
Kansas City Royals get: Miguel Andujar, 3B, Nik Turley, LHP
New York Yankees get: Aaron Crow, RHP
Many bullpen arms are disposable in today's game, but not Aaron Crow's. Crow has been the picture of consistency since his rookie year in 2011. In 18 appearances this season, Crow has yet to allow an earned run. The kid knows how to pitch.
Back in November, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reported that the Kansas City Royals could be tempted to trade Crow because of his upcoming arbitration case. As they're not in line to make a ton of money, the Royals are trying to keep their payroll at a manageable figure.
Seeing as he's controllable for the next three seasons, the Yankees would need to give up a little more to get him. It's not often that you see two top-20 prospects get shipped off for a reliever who isn't a closer, but that's what will have to happen here.
The bullpen has been in shambles all season. Dellin Betances, the lone bright spot, wasn't even supposed to be counted on. Guys like Adam Warren and Shawn Kelley have been passable, and David Robertson is still overcoming some adjustments as the full-time closer. An upgrade should be in the works at the deadline.