New York Yankees Trade Rumors: Latest Updates, News and Reaction

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2014

New York Yankees Trade Rumors: Latest Updates, News and Reaction

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    Those expecting the New York Yankees to sit back and wait for the nearly $500 million that they spent in free-agent additions over the winter to begin paying off simply haven't been paying attention to how things work in the Bronx.

    When anything less than a World Series victory is considered a failure from season to season, the Bronx Bombers are going to aggressively look to upgrade their roster, as general manager Brian Cashman recently explained to Zach Schonbrun of The New York Times:

    I’m looking to make some additions if I can. I’d like to try to do a few things before those guys (starting pitchers Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia) get back, if possible. But I’ve already been trying. There’s a reason we haven’t done anything; it’s not because of a lack of phone calls. We’ll see.

    Aside from the starting rotation, second base and third base remain areas where the team could look to land upgrades.

    It's going to be a busy month in the Bronx, and staying on top of all the action can be as difficult as navigating your way down the Cross Bronx Expressway in rush hour. That's where Bleacher Report comes in.

    Keep it here for the most up-to-the-minute rumblings about the Yankees, along with analysis and everything else that comes with it. While the post date will always show as July 1, simply click to the next slide to see the latest from the rumor mill as the Yankees look to add reinforcements for the stretch run.

Done Deals

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    July 6: Traded LHP Vidal Nuno to Arizona in exchange for RHP Brandon McCarthy (Analysis)

    July 11: Acquired LHP Jeff Francis and cash considerations from Oakland for a player-to-be-named-later (July 28: Francis has been designated for assignment)

    July 22: Acquired 3B Chase Headley and $1 million from the San Diego Padres in exchange for RHP Rafael De Paula and 3B Yangervis Solarte (Analysis)

    July 24: Acquired LHP Chris Capuano from Colorado for cash considerations

    July 31: Acquired SS Stephen Drew from Boston for IF Kelly Johnson (Analysis)

    July 31: Acquired IF/OF Martin Prado from Arizona for C Peter O'Brien and a player-to-be-named-later (Analysis)

July 31: Acquired IF/OF Martin Prado from Arizona

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    It was only a matter of time before the Yankees dipped into their plethora of minor league catching depth to improve the major league roster and they've done just that, swapping slugging backstop Peter O'Brien for the versatile Martin Prado.

    Prado, 30, is capable of playing either corner outfield position along with second base, shortstop and third base, though the hot corner, second base and left field are his best positions.

    Signed through the 2016 season for roughly $26 million, Prado is hitting .270/.317/.370 with five home runs and 42 RBI, numbers that should improve once he reaches the cozy confines of Yankee Stadium.

July 31: Acquired SS Stephen Drew from Boston

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    After being linked to him for much of the offseason, the Yankees finally got their man in Stephen Drew, sending Kelly Johnson, who had been a disappointment, up to Boston.

    Drew, 31, didn't start playing until midseason after rejecting a qualifying offer from from Boston and has struggled since returning to action, hitting just just .176/.255/.328 with four home runs and 11 RBI in 39 games.

    If his bat wakes up and he shows signs of life, he could be the Yankees' immediate replacement for Derek Jeter in 2015 until the club finds its next shortstop of the future. A free agent at the end of the year, the Yankees cannot make Drew a qualifying offer, which means they wouldn't be able to receive a compensatory draft pick if he signed elsewhere.

Yankees out on Marlon Byrd

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    Update: Thursday, July 31 at 3:38 p.m. ET

    The Yankees are officially out of the running for Byrd, says ESPN's Jayson Stark.

    --End of Update--


    Update: Thursday, July 31 at 1:33 p.m. ET

    Talks between the Yankees and Phillies about Byrd are "at an impasse," according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

    --End of Update--


    Update: Wednesday, July 30 at 10:25 p.m. ET

    The Yankees and Phillies continue to talk about a potential Byrd deal, reports CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, but nothing is close.

    Heyman says that aside from Byrd's vesting option being a concern, the Yankees aren't sure how his personality would fit in with the rest of the clubhouse.

    --End of Update--


    Wednesday, July 30 at 4:34 p.m. ET

    The Yankees have interest in Philadelphia's Marlon Byrd, according to ESPN's Jayson Stark but are concerned about his $8 million vesting option for 2016.

    Hitting .273 with 20 home runs, 70 RBI and a .803 OPS in the first year of a two-year, $16 million deal, Byrd is automatically signed to a third year if he makes 600 plate appearances in 2015 or 1,100 plate appearances combined between 2014-15.

    With 442 plate appearances on the season already, it would appear as if there's a decent chance of him reaching that 1,100 plateau. What kind of production he'll be able to provide in his age-38 season is a reasonable concern to have.

David Price in Pinstripes?

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    Thursday, July 31 at 3:10 p.m. ET

    With less than an hour to go before the deadline hits, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News says that the Yankees could be mounting a late charge to try and snag the southpaw away from Tampa Bay (and anyone else that tries to grab him).

    It would, of course, basically cost the Yankees most of their top prospects to pull off such a feat.

Yankees Not Looking to Make a Big Splash

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    Update: Thursday, July 31 at 2:24 p.m. ET

    Denorfia has been traded to Seattle, per Rosenthal.

    --End of Update--


    Update: Thursday, July 31 at 1:36 p.m. ET

    San Diego's Chris Denorfia could be in play for the Yankees, says Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal. The veteran would certainly be a "smaller deal" than the likes of Marlon Byrd or Josh Willingham, both of whom are still believed to be options (Willingham more than Byrd).

    --End of Update--


    Thursday, July 31 at 11:20 a.m. ET

    The Yankees are focused on smaller deals as the deadline arrives, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports, with a focus being on right field.

    It's no secret that the team would either like to find an upgrade or platoon partner for Ichiro, who they never intended to play as much as he has thus far.

Yankees Interested in Josh Willingham

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    Update: Thursday, July 31 at 1:34 p.m. ET

    The Yankees still have interest in Willingham, per Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, but it's not clear if they are close to a deal with the Twins or still weighing their options.

    --End of Update--


    Update: Wednesday, July 30 at 12:10 p.m. ET

    It appears as if the Yankees' interest in Willingham may have been overstated, based on this report a rival executive gave to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick: "Twins really want to move Willingham, but I don't think they're getting any bites."

    The veteran is hitting only .179 with a .633 OPS and 26 strikeouts in 21 July games, so it's entirely possible that the Yankees, along with other contenders in the market for an outfield bat, no longer view him as an upgrade over what they already have in-house.

    --End of Update--


    Sunday, July 27 at 6:08 p.m. ET

    With Carlos Beltran constantly battling injury and 40-year-old Ichiro Suzuki never intended to play on a daily basis, the Yankees have turned their attention to veteran Minnesota outfielder Josh Willingham, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

    A bit of a defensive liability that has struggled to hit for average throughout his career—including a .217 mark in 2014—Willingham knows how to get on base consistently and provides some power from the right side of the plate.

    He's likely a more attractive target for the Yankees than Marlon Byrd, Matt Kemp and Alex Rios seeing as how he's a free agent after the season, while that other trio all has significant money (especially Kemp) left on their deals. 

Alex Rios on Yankees' Radar

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    Update: Wednesday, July 30 at 6:02 p.m. ET

    Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says that Texas is not close to dealing Rios but the team expects talks to intesify throughout the night and into tomorrow.

    Whether the Yankees, who appear on Rios' partial no-trade clause, are still involved is unknown.

    --End of Update--


    Sunday, July 27 at 6:45 p.m. ET

    The Yankees are one of four teams that has expressed an interest in Texas outfielder Alex Rios, tweets Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, though the veteran outfielder has the Bronx Bombers listed as one of six teams that he can block a trade to.

    The 33-year-old Rios has had a productive season for the Rangers, hitting .299 with a 756 OPS, but his power has all but disappeared, with only four home runs on the season—and only one of those coming after May 14.

    If Rios were willing to waive his no-trade clause to come to the Yankees, he'd likely demand that the club guarantee the $14.5 million team option that sits on his contract for 2015, something that the Yankees may not be willing to do.

Dayan Viciedo on Yankees Radar

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    Wednesday, July 30 at 5:25 p.m. ET

    A below-average defender and strikeout machine, 25-year-old Dayan Viciedo has right-handed power (he hit 25 home runs in 2012, has 12 thus far in 2014) and has popped up on New York's radar, according to ESPN's Jayson Stark.

    Under team control through 2018, Viciedo would certainly inject some youth into a still fairly old Yankees clubhouse, though it's not clear whether talks about the Cuban slugger are tied to the team's pursuit of White Sox southpaw John Danks or not.

Chicago's James Russell a Potential Bullpen Addition?

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    Wednesday, July 30 at 5:20 p.m. ET

    ESPN's Jayson Stark says that we can add Chicago's James Russell to the list of bullpen arms that the Yankees have expressed interest in.

    Russell, 28, has one year of arbitration left and has been solid for the Cubs, posting a 3.51 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 44 relief appearances, walking 16 and striking out 26.

    While he's traditionally been tougher on left-handed bats (.240 BA, .692 OPS) than right-handers (.273 BA, .814 OPS), his splits have been completely opposite in 2014, with southpaws hitting .295, righties only .103.

    He'd have some grooming issues to deal with, however, were he to join the Yankees bullpen.

Yankees Interested in Antonio Bastardo

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    Wednesday, July 30 at 5:15 p.m. ET

    The Yankees are casting a wide net in their search for another reliever and have spoken to Philadelphia about 28-year-old Antonio Bastardo, ESPN's Jayson Stark reports.

    Under team control for one more year, the southpaw has pitched to a 4.17 ERA and 1.24 WHIP over 46 innings, striking out 53 and is tough on batters from both sides of the plate. With Matt Thornton and David Huff not having terrific seasons, Bastardo would give the club another left-handed option late in games.

Joaquin Benoit to Bolster Yankees Bullpen?

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    Wednesday, July 30 at 4:55 p.m. ET

    Apparently not pleased with what it's finding on the market to bolster the starting rotation, the Yankees have turned their attention to bolstering the team's biggest strength—the bullpen—and have their sights set on San Diego's Joaquin Benoit, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

    The 37-year-old has been terrific for the Padres, pitching to a 1.88 ERA and 0.84 ERA over 43 innings of relief, picking up 16 holds (sixth-best in the National League) and converting all three of his save opportunities while posting a 2.7 BB/9 and 10.7 K/9 rate.

    While he signed a two-year, $15.5 million contract (which includes a vesting option for 2016, when he'd be 40) with the Padres during the offseason, his contract is certainly one that the Yankees could easily absorb into their payroll.

Is John Danks Next to Join the Rotation?

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    Update: Wednesday, July 30 at 2:52 p.m. ET

    Talks are ongoing between the White Sox and Yankees about a potential Danks deal, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports, though the two sides are still believed to be unable to agree on the package that the Bronx Bombers would send back to the Windy City.

    While it's speculation on my part, it would make sense that one of the team's young catchers—either Francisco Cervelli or someone from the upper levels of the minor league system—is still likely to be part of any deal.

    --End of Update--


    Update: Monday, July 28 at 5:15 p.m. ET

    Chicago has been scouting the Yankees' minor league catching depth heavily over the past few days, says ESPN's Jayson Stark, which could indicate that things are progressing in a potential deal for Danks.

    Gary Sanchez and Luis Torrens are likely not in play for a deal involving the veteran southpaw, but the Yankees have no shortage of intriguing young catching options that could interest the White Sox, a team that has been looking for its catcher of the present (and future) since parting ways with A.J. Pierzynski.

    -End of Update--


    Tuesday, July 22 at 3:52 p.m. ET

    With CC Sabathia out for the season and Vidal Nuno now calling Arizona home, the Yankees find themselves without a left-handed starter in the rotation.

    So the team has turned its attention to Chicago's John Danks, with talks between the White Sox and Yankees believed to be in the early stages, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

    Danks, 29, has gone 8-6 with a 4.35 ERA and 1.42 WHIP, not far off from his career marks of 4.22 and 1.32, respectively. While adding Danks would help to further bolster the team's injury-ravaged rotation, he has a penchant for surrendering home runs, a trait that certainly doesn't play well at Yankee Stadium.

    The White Sox are looking for young players—especially young pitching—with which to further their rebuilding efforts. It's pure speculation, but someone like catcher John Ryan Murphy could be of interest to the ChiSox, given Tyler Flowers' lack of offensive production.



Yankees Have Inquired About Cole Hamels, Deal Unlikely

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    Wednesday, July 30 at 12:15 p.m. ET

    While it's long been assumed that the Yankees would check in with Philadelphia about Cole Hamels, we've finally gotten confirmation of that from CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

    According to Heyman, the Phillies have asked the Yankees, Dodgers and Red Sox for "packages of multiple top prospects" in exchange for the 30-year-old southpaw, who is due $104 million through the 2019 season.

    The consensus around baseball seems to be that the Phillies would trade Hamels if a team wants to grossly overpay for him, but that really, they have absolutely no intention of dealing their ace.


Francisco Cervelli a Potential Trade Chip?

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    Saturday, July 26 at 8:26 p.m. ET

    A pair of clubs that are looking for their catcher of the present (and future), the Chicago White Sox and Colorado Rockies, are keeping their eyes on Francisco Cervelli, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports.

    Cervelli, 28, has proven that he can hit major league pitching when given the chance to play and is a capable defender and game-caller behind the plate. With John Ryan Murphy waiting in the wings and top prospect Gary Sanchez working his way through the team's farm system, Cervelli could be expendable in the right deal.

Jorge De La Rosa on Yankees Radar?

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    Friday, July 25 at 12:04 p.m. ET

    The Yankees are talking to Colorado about a potential deal involving left-handed starter Jorge De La Rosa, according to ESPN's Jim Bowden.

    After going 16-6 with a 3.49 ERA and 1.38 WHIP for the Rockies in 2013, De La Rosa has stumbled a bit, his ERA up to 4.19 while lowering his WHIP to 1.28, though he's been red-hot in July, going 3-0 with a 1.78 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in four starts.

    A free agent after the season, De La Rosa has struggled with his command, averaging nearly four walks per nine innings of work and has been prone to the home run, though the latter can partly be explained away by calling Coors Field home.

Yankees Hoping for a Reunion with Kennedy?

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    Thursday, July 24 at 3:30 p.m. ET

    The Yankees have scouted former Yankee (and current Padre) Ian Kennedy, according to Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi, who notes that the team is actively seeking a deal for another starting pitcher.

    Kennedy, 29, was shipped out of New York as part of the package that bought Curtis Granderson to the Bronx before the 2010 season.

    The right-hander has thrown the ball well for San Diego this season, going 8-9 with a 3.66 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 9.5 K/9 over 135 innings of work.

    CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported earlier in the day that San Diego wasn't actively looking to move Kennedy and would need to be "overwhelmed" to deal him. It stands to reason that the Yankees might have already broached the idea of a Kennedy deal with San Diego when they traded for Chase Headley, so this latest news may be much ado about nothing.

    Then again, perhaps the parameters of a deal are already in place, but the Yankees wanted to see Kennedy throw again before deciding whether to move forward or not.

    It will be interesting to see how this situation plays out.


July 22: Yankees Acquire 3B Chase Headley from San Diego Padres

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    3B Chase Headley

    Age: 30

    Bats: S

    2014 stats: 77 G, .229/.296/.355, 7 HR, 12 2B, 1 3B, 32 RBI, 22 BB, 73 K

    Contract status: $10.525 million in 2014, free agent after the season


    For the better part of two years, the New York Yankees have been mentioned as possible suitors for San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley whenever his name popped up on the rumor mill. On Tuesday, that chase came to an end as the Yankees finally got their man.

    CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported that the Yankees received Headley along with $1 million from the Padres in exchange for right-handed pitcher Rafael De Paula and third baseman Yangervis Solarte.

    This season, Headley hit .229 with with seven home runs and 12 doubles in 77 games with San Diego. It was just two seasons ago that he hit .286 with 31 home runs and 115 RBI. If he keeps up his current pace, he won't match those numbers with the past two seasons combined.

    The trade may have come at the right time for the Yankees. Headley is hitting .323 with one home run through his first 15 games of July. Now that he is seeing the ball better and moving to a hitter-friendly park, his home run total should benefit.

    Yankees third basemen are hitting .260 with eight home runs this season, so although those numbers are better than what Headley has put up, the team is hoping that a change of scenery will help.

    Currently dealing with a herniated disc in his lower back, the injury-prone Headley would provide the Yankees with an upgrade defensively at the hot corner, though to be fair, both Kelly Johnson and Yangervis Solarte have more than held their own at the position.

    Headley's hitting has been disappointing, but Yankee Stadium's short porch in right field, coupled with the fact that he'd be a role player and not a focal point in a stacked-but-underwhelming Yankees lineup, could help him get his bat working once again.

    Headley was making $10.5 million this season and will be a free agent this winter. 

Brian Cashman Trying to Upgrade the Roster

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    Saturday, July 19 at 1:13 p.m. ET

    With CC Sabathia joining Ivan Nova on the sidelines for the rest of the season and no guarantees that either Michael Pineda or Masahiro Tanaka will be able to return, Brian Cashman has been working to upgrade the team's rotation.

    “Forgetting the trade deadline, trying to acquire starting pitching depth is important, period, whether it’s tomorrow, or by the deadline or even after the deadline,” Cashman told reporters, including Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.

    Make no mistake about it: If there's a deal to be made that could help the Yankees, Cashman is going to at least investigate it.

    “Oh, he’s out there. He’s really trying to make something happen," a rival general manager confirmed to Martino. "I personally don’t think he has the pieces to get a big trade done, but he’s working at it.”

    The problem, of course, is that after Gary Sanchez and the quickly-rising Luis Severino, the Yankees' farm system isn't exactly teeming with high-level talent that other teams can't wait to get their hands on—the kind of talent that it takes to acquire the pieces that the Yankees need.

    Cashman could look to take on veteran pieces that carry burdensome contracts, mitigating the acquisition cost by absorbing the bulk of their remaining salary—someone like Philadelphia's Cliff Lee, for example.

    But whether Hal Steinbrenner would sign off on such a scenario, after agreeing to shell out nearly a half-billion dollars (in current and future salary) over the winter, is far from a sure thing.




July 6: Acquired RHP Brandon McCarthy from Arizona

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    Age: 30

    Throws: Right

    2014 Stats: 18 GS (7 QS), 3-10, 5.01 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 109.2 IP, 131 H, 7.63 K/9

    Contract Status: One year, $10.25 million


    Brandon McCarthy's numbers with Arizona this season are ugly at first glance, but advanced metrics—FIP (3.79) and xFIP (2.89) indicate that he's been far better than his 5.01 ERA would lead you to believe.

    Owner of a career 4.21 ERA and 1.31 WHIP, McCarthy's numbers over parts of seven seasons in the American League (4.02 ERA, 1.28 WHIP) are far better than what he's put up in two years on the senior circuit with Arizona (4.75 ERA, 1.36 WHIP), so there's hope that he can get back on track in the Bronx.

    That McCarthy is one of the best in the game when it comes to inducing ground balls—his 55.3 percent groundball rate is the sixth-highest in baseball this season, according to FanGraphs—should play well at Yankee Stadium.

    Is McCarthy going to effectively replace CC Sabathia or Michael Pineda in the rotation? Probably not. But considering the cost—26-year-old LHP Vidal Nuno, who hasn't impressed anyone with his play this year—and the fact that Arizona is eating some of the money left on McCarthy's deal, as ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted, it's a low-risk, high-reward move by general manager Brian Cashman.