MLB Trade Rumors: Updating 11 Possible NY Yankees Targets for the Deadline

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistJuly 19, 2011

MLB Trade Rumors: Updating 11 Possible NY Yankees Targets for the Deadline

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    Here we sit, just under two weeks away from the trade deadline and the biggest name to move so far has been...Francisco Rodriguez.

    Sure, K-Rod was offered to the Yankees for virtually the same package that the Brewers got him for, but Brian Cashman was wise for declining.

    The Yankees were very uneasy having both K-Rod and Soriano in the same clubhouse, fearing that their personalities would clash leading to tempers flaring and drama in a clubhouse that has already been strained earlier this season with the Jorge Posada incident.

    Besides, John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman have enough trouble keeping track of the players on the team now.

    Can you imagine how confused they would be if there was another guy with the "dash-Rod" nickname?

    It would be a total disaster.

    But you didn't come here to read about K-Rod, Sterling or Suzyn.

    You're here because you want to know what the latest is on the Yankees and their pursuit of more relief help...or another starting pitcher...or a competent replacement for A-Rod while he is out with his knee surgery.

    So, without further adieu, updates on a handful of players whom the Yankees have been rumored to be interested in acquiring.

Ubaldo Jimenez

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    Ubaldo Jimenez, the 27-year-old righty from the Colorado Rockies has been the hottest name who "could" be available over the past two weeks.

    Under team control through the 2014 season at very reasonable numbers, Jimenez is not going to come cheaply.

    Last week, 17 teams had scouts watching him in action.

    That's more then half the teams in Major League Baseball.

    The Rockies don't plan to be sellers, but if a team is willing to meet what will undoubtedly be an incredibly high price to acquire Jimenez, the Rockies could pull the trigger.

    Colorado recently scouted Jesus Montero and have interest, though they view him as a 1B.

    Manuel Banuelos and Dellin Betances are also on Colorado's radar, as is Ivan Nova, and some "experts" have mused that all four would have to be included to land the Rockies ace.

    When asked what it would take to land Jimenez, Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd said on Sunday: "It would take a Herschel Walker-type deal." *

    Does anyone actually expect Brian Cashman to pay such a ransom?


    Between the real lack of a need for Colorado to move him coupled with Cashman's reluctance to gut the farm system, this is a deal that may never get past the rumor stage.

    *For anyone who is unfamiliar with the Herschel Walker trade O'Dowd is referencing, Walker was a star RB for the Dallas Cowboys. In 1989, in the midst of a horrid start to the season, the Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings agreed on the following trade, also known as "The Great Train Robbery" and is undoubtedly how the Cowboys were able to accumulate as much talent as they had in the early-to-mid 90's.

    To the Vikings

    Herschel Walker

    Two 3rd-round picks

    One 5th round pick

    One 10th round pick

    To the Cowboys

    Five players

    Three 1st round picks

    Three 2nd round picks

    One 3rd round pick

    One 6th round pick

Heath Bell

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    With 26 saves, a 2.94 ERA, a history of success as both a setup man and closer and a willingness to serve in either role, San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell is the most sought after relief pitcher on the market.

    His contract expires at the end of the season, and while under normal circumstances "rental players" do not bring back a large return, acquiring Bell will certainly be a costly proposition.

    The Padres do not need to trade Bell, as he certainly has not stated any desire to leave San Diego, nor is this a case of them needing to unload a burdensome, long-term contract.

    ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted on Sunday: "Unless the Padres get what they consider to be equal value to a little more than two draft picks, they may well hang onto Heath Bell."

    Two draft picks is the compensation the Padres would receive if the Type-A Free Agent signed with another team in the offseason.

    With the St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies known to be hot on Bell's trail, the cost may rise well above what Brian Cashman is willing to spend.

Mike Adams

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    Soon-to-be-33-year-old righty Mike Adams from the San Diego Padres joins his teammate Heath Bell at the top of desirable relievers who are available before the trade deadline.

    Under team control through the end of next season, the Philadelphia Phillies supposedly covet Adams more then Heath Bell, especially as they are realistic about potentially losing Ryan Madson via free agency this coming offseason.

    Adams is in the midst of his best season to date with a 1.26 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, 9 BB and 42 K over 43 innings, while only allowing 23 hits.

    He is well aware that he could be on his way out of San Diego and has applied for a passport just in case he ends up in the AL and has games in Toronto.

    Like Bell, the competition for Adams will be fierce.

Carlos Beltran

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    Back at the end of June, Carlos Beltran told Mike Puma of the NY Post that he would waive his no-trade clause "under the right circumstances," which was later clarified as meaning to a contender.

    Immediately, people connected the dots from Flushing to the Bronx.

    It made perfect sense—the Mets are financially strapped while the Yankees print money.

    It has been rumored that the Mets are asking for a top-level prospect in return for the 34-year-old switch hitter, and their reasoning was made clear Monday, as Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Mets are willing to pick up the almost $6M that Beltran is owed for the rest of the season.

    Also on Monday, ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted that the Yankees had no interest in trading for Beltran.

Ty Wigginton

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    Saturday afternoon, Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman tweeted that the Yankees and Colorado Rockies had discussed super-utility player Ty Wigginton.

    The 33-year-old right-handed hitter is signed through the end of next season with a $4M team option for 2013.

    His numbers will not blow your mind: .256 BA, .317 OBP, .417 SLG, 13 HR and 38 RBI, but Wiggy's ability to play multiple positions well—3B, 1B, 2B and the OF—make him exactly the type of player the Yankees need to acquire.

    Without question he would be the replacement for Alex Rodriguez as he recovers from his knee surgery, and chances are he would see quite a bit of time at 3B after A-Rod returns, as Joe Girardi and the Yankees try to protect A-Rod from aggravating what will certainly be a knee that is less than 100 percent for the remainder of the season.

    What is unknown, of course, is what it would cost to land Wigginton, who like Ubaldo Jimenez, is not a player the Rockies need to trade.

    We can assume that none of the Yankees top prospects would be required to acquire the 2010 All-Star, making Wigginton a viable acquisition for Brian Cashman.

Hiroki Kuroda

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    Last Friday, Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated tweeted that the Yankees, Red Sox, and Tigers all had interest in 36-year-old Los Angeles Dodgers righty starter Hiroki Kuroda.

    Monday, Peter Gammons reports that the Yankees spoke with Steve Hilliard, Kuroda's agent, and that Hilliard told the Yankees that the pitcher does not want to leave Los Angeles and will not waive his no-trade clause and accept a trade to the East Coast.

Aramis Ramirez

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    Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago is reporting that the Yankees have had at least one scout at every Chicago Cubs game since the Fourth of July against the Washington Nationals.

    Levine notes that contrary to popular opinion, Ramirez' $16M mutual option for 2012 does not automatically exercise in the event he is traded; instead, Ramirez receives a $1M "relocation bonus" on top of the $2M buyout the team would have to exercise.

    Ramirez wants to hit the open market after this season, considering he is on pace for his best numbers since 2008. Currently, the 33-year-old 3B is hitting .300 with 16 HR and 56 RBI. If he were to be traded, he would certainly need a guarantee from his new team that they will not exercise the option.

    GM Jim Hendry said at the end of June that there would be no fire sale, but since the Yankee scouts have been in attendance, the Cubs have gone 3-8, fallen 13 games behind the first place Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central and 18.5 games behind the leader for the Wild Card, the Atlanta Braves.

    Ramirez has steadfastly refused to waive his no-trade clause, yet his name consistently comes up in rumors involving pretty much every contender.

    Levine says that "there are rumblings that he may change his mind and accept a deal to a Midwest or East Coast team around the time his family returns to the Dominican Republic on Aug. 10."

    If Ramirez is set on not waiving his no-trade clause until after the non-waiver trade deadline, the chances of the Yankees acquiring him lessen significantly.

    If he is still set on not waiving his no-trade clause under any circumstances, then, to quote the immortal Lieutenant Frank Drebin of Police Squad: "Please disperse, nothing to see here. Please disperse!"

John Grabow

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    While Ryan Dempster and Sean Marshall would certainly pique the Yankees interest were either to become available, neither is expected to be on the market.

    John Grabow, the 33-year-old lefty reliever who has battled injury the past two seasons, is in the midst of a terrible year: 5.40 ERA. 1.63 WHIP, more hits than innings pitched and nearly as many walks as strikeouts.

    That being said, he is holding left-handed batters to a .213 BA and .284 OBP—both significantly better numbers than the Yankees current left-handed specialist Boone Logan, whose lefties have a .259 BA and .338 OBP against this year.

    Owed about $2M until the end of the season when his contract expires, Grabow could be an inexpensive, effective addition to the mix in the bullpen if only used against left-handed batters.

Erik Bedard

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    Jonah Keri of Fangraphs suggests that the Yankees and Seattle Mariners would make excellent trade partners, with the Mariners sending oft-injured starter Erik Bedard to the Yankees for stone-hands defender Eduardo Nunez or Brandon Laird.

    When healthy, the 32-year-old lefty has been excellent, including this season: 4-6, 3.00 ERA, 90 IP, 74 H, 34 BB, 90 K, 1.11 WHIP.

    Bedard has had success in the AL East previously, spending the first five years of his career with the Baltimore Orioles.

    Nunez, while productive with the bat, has been nothing but a liability for the Yankees in the field. That being said, the Mariners have had interest in Nunez dating back to last year in the failed talks to send Cliff Lee to the Yankees.

    Currently on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left knee, Bedard is expected back in time for his next start against the Red Sox in this weekend's series.

    If Bedard shows that his knee is relatively stable in his two expected starts prior to the July 31 deadline and the Yankees are able to acquire a more reliable backup infielder—even with Ramiro Pena now out for the next four-to-six-weeks—Brian Cashman could look to make such a move.

Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen

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    The Washington Nationals are willing to move any of their relievers, including Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard, but want a CF in return.

    The Yankees would not deal away Brett Gardner for a relief pitcher (who knows if he would be enough to land one of the two) and no CF in the minors is close enough to making an impact in the big leagues to interest Washington.

Joakim Soria

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    In what may be the worst kept secret in baseball, the Yankees have the hots for former Kansas City Royals closer Joakim Soria.

    Rumors go back to last year around this time, when Brian Cashman offered to include Jesus Montero as part of a trade for the then 26-year-old righty.

    The Royals said no.

    Even if they had said yes to the Yankees offer, there is the little problem known as Soria's limited no-trade clause, of which the Yankees are one team he can block a trade to.

    Soria recently changed some of the teams on his list, but the Yankees still remain.

    Simply put, Soria will not be appearing at Yankee Stadium with the interlocking NY on his hat—ever.

Closing Thoughts

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    Brian Cashman says that he and the Yankees won't do anything stupid. He believes the Yankees can make the playoffs as presently constituted, and he has "no inclination" to move Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Jesus Montero or Austin Romine.

    Jon Heyman of SI reaffirmed those thoughts this afternoon.

    In his second start since coming back from the disabled list, Phil Hughes showed some of the talent that made him an All-Star in 2010, and if he can continue to build upon that encouraging performance, Joe Girardi would have two starters that he would be able to count on down the stretch, the other being C.C Sabathia.

    While the Yankees can continue to believe that getting Rafael Soriano back is just like making a trade, the fact remains that nobody knows which Soriano the Yankees are getting—the one who was dominating for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2010, or the one who was so underwhelming for the Yankees earlier this season?

    I do not expect Brian Cashman to move any of his top prospects—rather, I believe players like Ty Wigginton and Erik Bedard—those who could be acquired "on the cheap" compared to some of the sexier names out there, will be the reinforcements that the Yankees bring in by July 31st.

    Those expecting the team to make huge moves at the deadline are going to wind up disappointed.

    But, this is the Yankees we're talking about—anything is possible.