New York Yankees: Lance Berkman, Austin Kearns, Next Move
The Yankees had a busy day Friday, acquiring Lance Berkman from the Astros and Austin Kearns from the Indians, and it looks like they could make some more moves today as the 4:00 PM Trade Deadline approaches.
The big splash for the Yankees so far has been the trade for Lance Berkman . The details and trade won't be official until this afternoon, due to Berkman spending his entire career in Houston, making him a 10-5 player (10-5 means that the player been in the league at least 10 years and has spent at least five of those years with one team), which gives him a 24 hour waiting period to change his mind if he so chooses.
It appears that the Yankees will send RP Mark Melancon and IF Jimmy Paredes to Houston in turn for Berkman and cash to pay part of his remaining salary this year.
Berkman , commonly referred to as the Big Puma, will primarily serve as the DH for the Yanks, while occasionally filling in at first base and the corner outfield spots.
He is hitting .245 with 13 home runs and 49 RBI in 85 games this season, and while those numbers might not sound great, they are better than nothing, which is exactly what former everyday DH Nick Johnson has given the Yanks since his wrist injury in May.
The Big Puma is also a switch hitter, joining Mark Teixeira , Jorge Posada , and Nick Swisher in the regular lineup, which makes it even harder for other teams to align their pitchers according to who is batting for the Yanks.
He has struggled against left handed pitching this year, but when he bats left handed against righties , he has an OPS of .874 with 12 home runs and 45 RBI, clearly a man who can take advantage of the short porch at Yankee Stadium.
I feel that this was a good trade, especially for how cheaply the Yanks got Berkman for in terms of prospects, and it should bring consistency to the DH spot, which has been a revolving door since May.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman wasn't done after getting Berkman . He went out and improved the bench and outfield depth by trading for veteran outfielder Austin Kearns from the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named later, or cash.
Kearns is having a solid season, hitting .268 with eight home runs and 42 RBI in 83 games for the Indians this year.
I think Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman wanted a player who knows how to man the outfield and can still provide production off the bench, which is exactly what they got in Kearns .
His arrival could spell the end to Colin Curtis' or Marcus Thames' times as New York Yankees this year. Preferably, I would want to keep Curtis, but Thames is the veteran and would cost the Yankees money if he was the one to go.
Even after these two trades, it appears that the Yankees are not finished dealing yet.
Many consider them in on Chad Qualls , a trade that I strongly disagree with, considering his horrific numbers in Arizona this year.
But as Buster Olney of ESPN, points out in his tweet, the Yankees are probably looking to add a player who can man the hot corner or a middle infielder.
Two players that I like and fit that description are Kelly Johnson of Arizona and Kevin Kouzmanoff of Oakland.
Kelly Johnson, who is the starting second baseman for the D-Backs, would look pretty nice on the Yankees bench, hitting .279 with 16 home runs and 49 RBI.
And Kevin Kouzmanoff has hit .272 with nine home runs and 50 RBI out in Oakland would serve as an excellent back up to A-Rod at third base.
Both of these players are under 30 years old and would be salary dumps for both teams, with Kouzmanoff making $3.1 million and Johnson making $2.3 million.
However, both are signed through next year and Oakland and Arizona might not want to part ways with them quite yet, so it could take a couple prospects to pry them away.
I'm sure that there are lots of moves yet to be made, and we will all know who is where by this afternoon.
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