Put 'em in Pinstripes: Players the New York Yankees Should Trade for in 2011
Sitting at 27-21 through the first two months of the season may sound satisfying to some teams, but it definitely does not for the New York Yankees.
Yes, they are atop of baseball's best division, but it is evident the Bombers would have an extremely tough time competing for a title with their current roster.
Because of a relatively stagnant offseason—by New York's standards at least—Brian Cashman and the rest of the Yankee brass will have some intriguing decisions to make before this year's trade deadline.
Here are a few question marks for the current roster, followed by a list of guys the Yanks should look into as the season progresses.
Question Marks: Nick Swisher
Sorry, Yankee fans. I know you all love Nick Swisher, but he's just not cutting it.
After two seasons of at least 29 homers and 82 RBIs, the fan favorite has certainly dropped off. Swisher is hitting at a microscopic .204 average with two home runs and 19 RBI.
More concerning perhaps is his failure to hit in big spots. Swisher is batting .171 with runners in scoring position and just .048 with two outs and runners in scoring position.
Question Marks: Bullpen
I bet Cashman is laughing on the inside now....
No thanks to the Steinbrenners, the Yankees are now hauling around a fat $35-million contract for a setup man who may not return this season. Ouch.
It didn't look too bright before Rafael Soriano's injury either, as he posted an alarming 5.40 ERA and 1.73 WHIP.
In addition to the Soriano injury, the Yanks also suffered a hit in their bullpen with the newly signed lefty Pedro Feliciano. The MLB leader in appearances the last three seasons complained of shoulder pain during spring workouts and has been shelved since. The lefty hopes to return sometime in July.
Question Marks: Bartolo Colon
It's been a great year thus far for the big righty Bartolo Colon. Although his numbers aren't exactly sparkling, there's no doubt Colon has gone above the call of duty this season for the Yanks. It seems the team always has a chance to win when Colon takes the mound.
However, how long will he keep this up?
We don't know.
That's exactly why Bartolo Colon is a concern.
Will the former Cy Young winner continue his steady success or will he run out of gas?
Question Marks: Back of the Rotation
The back-end of New York's rotation was cloudy to start the season and still remains that way.
After being spurned by free agent Cliff Lee and the Andy Pettitte's retirement, the Yankees were forced to sign a handful of veteran starters. The list included Colon, Freddy Garcia, Kevin Millwood (who has since opted out of his deal) and Mark Prior.
Unfortunately however, the Yanks still have some work to do with the questionable rotation.
After coming off an impressive 18-win season, Phil Hughes has completely bombed thus far. In his three starts this year, the righty posted a sky-high 13.94 ERA, 2.23 WHIP and measly three strikeouts. His velocity dropped off and just simply can't produce. Hughes is currently on the DL with a "dead arm," and his availability for the remainder of the year is still in question.
Another young pitcher who is riding the rollercoaster is Ivan Nova.
With him, it's difficult to determine what you'll get. You may see a decent outing of 6.2 innings and two or three runs, or you'll see a shaky one with five innings and four-plus runs.
His 4.29 ERA is not assuring for Girardi and crew.
Question Marks: Jorge Posada
The "Posaga" continues...
The aging catcher-turned designated hitter just isn't producing this year. Posada is hitting a disappointing .183 and already has 33 strikeouts in just 39 games.
It is extremely sad to see a Yankee great drop off at the end of his career, but it had to happen sometime.
If Posada can't hit, can the team justify keeping him on the roster?
The List: SP Francisco Liriano
2011: 3-5, 5.73 ERA, 1.46 WHIP
There's going to be a fire sale in Minnesota, and starter Francisco Liriano will be one of the first to go.
Liriano, who once drew numerous comparisons to former teammate Johan Santana, has been mediocre to say the least. After his dominant 2006 season, where he went 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA, Liriano has certainly struggled. Since his breakout year, the lefty has gone 28-32 and has failed to post an ERA under 3.60.
Francisco is still a work in progress, though, and shows tremendous promise. Just ask the White Sox, who he no-hit on May 3rd.
The Yanks could use a lefty in a rotation that has four right-handed pitchers.
The List: SP Mark Buehrle
2011: 4-3, 3.92 ERA, 1.35 WHIP
Here's another lefty who could help the Bombers down the stretch. Mark Buehrle, currently in his 12th MLB season, has been around the block a couple times. There's no doubt he could provide the experience and know-how the team will need in October.
Great stat: Buehrle has never failed to win at least 10 games each season he has started at least 30 games.
Can you imagine how many more wins he could chalk up with some good ol' Bronx run support?
The List: SP John Danks
2011: 0-7, 4.34 ERA, 1.45 WHIP
He's not the sexiest pick, but John Danks is someone Cashman has been looking at for some time.
Danks is struggling right now with a curious 0-7 record and an ERA north of 4.00 after three very solid seasons in Chicago's rotation.
With the White Sox on a downward slope, some of their players could suddenly become available.
The List: SP Derek Lowe
2011: 3-4, 3.53 ERA, 1.24 WHIP
He's a veteran pitcher who knows how to win games.
This 6'6" righty could prove for useful for the Yanks and could come at a not-so-high price after his drag racing shenanigans.
Again, he would be another pitcher who knows how to win.
The List: SP Chris Carpenter
2011: 1-4, 4.88 ERA, 1.48 WHIP
Sure, Chris Carpenter is looking awfully shaky thus far—but why shouldn't the Yankees take a shot at him?
Although he may come at a premium price, the 36 year-old still has something left. In his past eight seasons, the former NL Cy Young winner is 86-37 and has never pitched over a 3.46 ERA with at least 28 starts.
The List: SP Brett Myers
2011: 1-4, 5.00 ERA, 1.54 WHIP
Brett Myers isn't at the top of everyone's list, but he can get the job done. Although unpredictable at times, Myers is extremely flexible because he can pitch both in the rotation or out of the bullpen if needed.
Houston is just another lowly team that will be a big seller at the deadline.
Another interesting option out of the Lone Star State could be ace Wandy Rodriguez.
The List: RP Joe Nathan
2011: 7.63 ERA, 1.70 WHIP
It's been a strange two years for the once-dominant closer. First, he missed the entire 2010 season due to injury. He came back and lost his job to Matt Capps. Really, Matt Capps?
There's no question Joe Nathan doesn't seem to be the same after his Tommy John surgery, but I refuse to give up on the guy. Besides Mariano Rivera, Nathan was the league's most consistent closer.
With Minnesota on their way to an imminent fire sale, Nathan will be dangled in front of teams looking to bolster their bullpens.
The List: RF/3B Michael Cuddyer
2011: .267 AVG, 5 HR, 11 RBI
An alternative option to Swisher, Michael Cuddyer is undoubtedly one of the most underrated players in all of baseball. He can play the corners in both the infield and outfield and can provide a decent bat to the mix.
Cuddyer could start in right and fill in for A-Rod every 10 or so games at third. Bringing in Cuddyer could be beneficial to Girardi in many ways.
The List: RF Carlos Beltran
2011: .279 AVG, 8 HR, 25 RBI
There's been a bunch of buzz around the Queens' outfielder moving to the Bronx—and why not?
It seems like a great fit.
Beltran is a switch hitter, still has a productive bat and can still play right field at a consistent level. Just think of Swisher, but Beltran is actually better in every aspect of the game.
The List: RF Ichiro Suzuki
2011: .281 AVG, 0 HR, 17 RBI
OK, stick with me here. I know it's highly unlikely the M's trade away the iconic Ichiro, but why should they keep him?
He's 37 and there's no way he'll be around for the Mariners' resurgence of the Mariners—if and when it ever happens.
Why not trade him to the Yanks and get some promising prospects in return?
They have to build for the future to keep this team in Seattle and away from any speculation of a move. Unfortunately, keeping an old Ichiro won't help turn around a reeling franchise.
Ichiro would be a great fit in the Bronx.
This could be a typical Yankee trade that would completely shake up the entire landscape of the cutthroat AL East. Suzuki could replace Swisher in right and kick the up-and-down Derek Jeter out of the leadoff spot. Just imagine their lineup with Ichiro in it:
1. Ichiro RF
2. Granderson CF
3. Teixeira 1B
4. Rodriguez 3B
5. Cano 2B
6. Martin C
7. Jeter SS
8. Posada DH
9. Gardner LF