It's no mystery Father Time is nipping at the heels of the Yankees and all indications is next season's team will just look every bit of a team in the twilight of their prime. With the Derek Jeter soap opera sure to end with him re-signing and Cliff Lee likely to end up in pinstripes, veteran talent will continue to hold down a lion's share of the 25-man roster.
What about getting creative and getting young?
Sure these moves surely reside outside the Tampa and Bronx brain-trusts’ agenda, but lets think outside the box?
Trade for Justin Upton. This is the hot name on the trade market and any deal will require overpaying by whomever finally acquires the talented 23-year-old. Upton would certainly call for a package that could include a few prospects from the Austin Romine, Manny Banuelos, Ivan Nova, Andrew Brackman, Dellin Betances, Slate Heathcott and Gary Sanchez pool.
The Yankees could offer up an enticing package sure to present equal value and net them a young building block with proven experience. The Juan Miranda deal has shown the Diamondbacks and Yankees are willing trade partners.
Let's see them make a deal that could help shape both franchises for the long-term.
Trade for Colby Rasmus. It's known that Tony LaRussa and Rasmus have been on the outs and last season featured a few benchings of the 24-year-old centerfielder. The Yankees have a couple pieces that could entice the Cardinals into making this happen: Joba Chamberlain and Curtis Granderson.
Chamberlain could become their next closer or Dave Duncan could commit to helping Joba flourish as a starter. Chamberlain’s mangled handling has killed his value and potential as the heir apparent to Mariano Rivera, but a move to St. Louis could revitalize this once electric talent and help improve the Cardinals pitching staff.
In Granderson they'd get a dependable third bat in the lineup and a Rasmus replacement. He also could provide the Cardinals with above average centerfield play and ease the loss of the talented Rasmus.
The benefit for the Yankees is obvious and it could be a great addition to an Upton acquisition by giving the Yankees a more youthful starting lineup. Rasmus would also be under the Yankees control for the next four seasons and help contribute to the Yankees financial flexibilities.
Rasmus would come in much like Granderson with a flawed swing against left-handed pitching, but as long as Kevin Long is the hitting coach expect the issue to get worked out. Rasmus's swing is also tailor-made for the short right field porch and he projects to be a 2 or 5 hitter who is likely to churn out .300/30/90/15/.390 seasons during his prime. A prime that is a couple years away from kicking in and a future as the centerfielder could only bolster the aging and uncertain Yankees outfield.
Trade for Zach Greinke. While Greinke has established himself as a top 20 pitcher, he still has huge issues that could affect him in the mega-market of New York. Is his psyche too frail to handle the scrutiny he’ll face when he loses consecutive starts? What if he struggles against the Red Sox? These are the inherent risks, but his talent in undeniable.
Greinke would transform the rotation and allow the Yankees to bump AJ Burnett down to a fifth starter and if they also got Lee it would form the best rotation this game has ever seen. It would allow the Yankees to move Burnett, while eating a considerable chunk of his bloated salary, but it would be beneficial to send him off to a place like Washington where he could experience a revival. In return the Yankees could pick someone like a John Lannan who would be a great Darren Oliver-esque long reliever instead of a middling starter.
Trade Jorge Posada – It’s not an easy proposition since he has a huge contract and the emotional connection will make it tough to send him away. But he know clogs up the DH position that should be left open to give half days off to veterans like Jeter, Rodriguez, Teixeira, Swisher and Cano. With Montero ready to step in and Cervelli in place as a backup, Posada doesn’t have mentors mindset and clearly looks to pass off blame whenever he makes mistakes. It’s time to move on and he’ll overstay his welcome. It’s time to move on.
Not all of these deals will happen. In fact none of them are likely to happen, but it’s time to get creative and retool positions that will lead to the next core of players leading the Yankees to their next run of championships.
One thing is strikingly apparent. The Yankees are old and they can either tear it down in the future or augment it now. These are a few ideas on how to move this process along. Why wait to overpay when you could move some prospects unlikely to ever don the pinstripes. I say go big now and make a seismic splash soon and force other teams to sop up the aging stars and their exorbitant salaries.