New York Yankees: Trade Targets for the 2011 Offseason

Phillip BrownSenior Analyst IINovember 11, 2011

New York Yankees: Trade Targets for the 2011 Offseason

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    So far the Yankees extended CC Sabathia but they still have major holes in their rotation.

    Ivan Nova is a rookie, Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon are aging, AJ Burnett and Phil Hughes are inconsistent and Banuelos and Betances and not ready for the majors. In order to help fill out their roster the Yankees will have to make a trade because of how thin the pitching class is this year.

    Lets see what pitchers the Yankees could trade for this winter.

Clayton Kershaw

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    2011 Stats:

    233.1IP, 21-5, 2.28ERA, 0.98WHIP, 248K, 54BB

    What Would It Take?

    The sun, the moon, the stars and a first born son. This trade would make the Yankees empty out their farm system. Jesus Montero, Dellin Betances, Phil Hughes, Eduardo Nunez and Austin Romine/Slade Heathcott would get the Dodgers to listen very carefully.

    This would be the mother of all trades but I think it'd be worth it because 23-year old pitchers who just won the Triple Crown and are under team control until 2015 don't hit the trade market very often. If Kershaw does hit the market expect the Yankees to be first in line for the bidding.

    Chance of Coming to New York: One Percent

Felix Hernandez

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    2011 Stats:

    233.2IP, 14-14, 3.47ERA, 1.22WHIP, 222K, 67BB

    What Would It Take?

    Felix Hernandez would not cost as much as Kershaw but he will still take the King's Ransom. Jesus Montero, Dellin Betances, Phil Hughes and Brett Gardner would probably get it done.

    This is a tough one because while Hernandez would be very expensive he is also only 25-years-old and before last year posted two-straight seasons of a sub-2.50ERA. Hernandez has also pitched six-straight 200 inning seasons, owns a Cy Young Award and is under team control until after the 2014 season.

    Some people question his mental aptitude but personally I don't think there is anything wrong with him, I would take this trade.

    Chance of Coming to New York: Five Percent

Tim Lincecum

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    2011 Stats:

    217.0IP, 13-14, 2.74ERA, 1.21WHIP, 220K, 86BB

    What Would it Take?

    Tim Lincecum would take a similar deal as Felix Hernandez; somewhere along the lines of Jesus Montero, Dellin Betances, Phil Hughes and Eduardo Nunez. Lincecum will be very expensive due to his two Cy Young Awards, age (27-years-old), 2.98 career ERA and his 2.43ERA in 37 innings of postseason work.

    Most people would wonder why the Giants would trade a pitcher like this and the answer is to free up money to sign a big time free agent and because Lincecum has refused to sign an extension to stay in San Francisco.

    Lincecum is a great pitcher, but some people question his long-term arm health because it could be jeopardized by his unorthodox delivery. I am not one of those people and I would make the trade stated above for Lincecum.

    With a very strong rotation and a weak offense, Giants GM Brian Sabean would be wise to at least listen to the Yankees regarding his ace.

    Chance of Coming to New York: Eight Percent

Matt Cain

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    2011 Stats:

    221.2IP, 12-11, 2.88ERA, 1.08WHIP, 179K, 63BB

    What Would It Take?

    Due to Matt Cain having less name recognition, less Cy Young's and a shorter contract Cain will be much less expensive than Kershaw (assuming he wins the Cy Young), Hernandez and Lincecum. A package of Jesus Montero, Phil Hughes and Eduardo Nunez should the deal done.

    I would do this trade but only on one condition. Matt Cain must sign a contract extension with the Yankees in order to make this trade.

    Many people question why the Yankees should give up this much to get a pitcher that will be on the open market next year. First and foremost it will guarantee that Cain will be a Yankee and they will get an extra year out of him but there are some other reasons.

    Matt Cain will never be called a power pitcher but his 179Ks in 2011 are very impressive. He will also only be 27-years-old this winter. Cain has pitched at least 190 innings in the last six seasons so we know he is a workhorse, but his most impressive stat is also the most important. His 0.00ERA in 21.1 innings pitched in the playoffs.

    The only goal for the Yankees is winning the World Series and bringing in a pitcher with a 0.00ERA and a ring will help their rotation immensely.

    Chances of Coming to New York: 10 Percent

James Shields

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    2011 Stats:

    249.1IP, 16-12, 2.82ERA, 1.04WHIP, 225K, 65BB

    What Would it Take?

    James Shields may have pitched 200 innings in five-straight seasons but his 3.96 career ERA will bring down the price. I would expect Jesus Montero and David Phelps would get a deal done if the Rays were okay with dealing Shields within the division.

    I would not do this trade. Yes, Shields is a workhorse, had a great 2011 season and has pitched in the AL East but I cannot look past his pedestrian career numbers. Anyway I doubt the Yankees will have a trade like this on the table because the Rays will not trade Shields to any team in the AL East.

    Chance of Coming to New York: Zero Percent

Jair Jurrjens

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    2011 Stats:

    152.0IP, 13-6, 2.96ERA, 1.22WHIP, 90K, 44BB

    This possible trade just popped up a few days ago when Mark Bowman from MLB.com reported that the Braves are shopping Jurrjens and that the Royals are the frontrunner. If the Yankees are interested, and because of their need for pitching they can steal Jurrjens for a fairly cheap package for his age and skill set.

    What Would it Take?

    The Braves' biggest needs are a pwer-hitting outfielder and at shortstop, so a package will start with Nick Swisher and Eduardo Nunez. Then in order to replace Jurrjens, at least until the Braves' big pitching prospects show up, the Yankees would send over Phil Hughes.

    Jurrjens will be expensive because the 25-year-old righty looked like a Cy Young candidate at the All-Star break, before a knee injury shortened his season. Plus 2011 was not Jurrjens' breakout season; in 2009 he pitched 215 innings and posted a 2.60ERA.

    I would take the trade above in a heartbeat, especially if the Yankees land the Cuban outfielder Yoennis Cespedes. I am not a big believer in the whole "Braves pitchers always fail in New York" idea. Yes, a few Braves pitchers did come to New York and flopped but I believe it is a coincidence.

    Chance of Coming to NY: 20 Percent

Josh Johnson

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    2010 Stats (injured in 2011):

    183.2IP, 11-6, 2.30ERA, 1.11WHIP, 186K, 48BB

    What Would It Take?

    The oft-injured, but very talented, 27-year-old Josh Johnson has only pitched 150 innings three times in his career. But when he does pitch he is dominant. In those three seasons, he had a 2.80 ERA and has a career ERA of 2.98. Due to this Josh Johnson will be expensive: Dellin Betances, Eduardo Nunez and Slade Heathcott would be a fair offer.

    I doubt the Marlins will trade their ace because according to reports they will be very active in free agency. MLB.com has reported that the Marlins met with Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle. The Marlins will also send scouts to the Dominican Republic to watch Yoennis Cespedes.

    The Marlins are probably the front-runners for Jose Reyes and they have the money to sign two big time free agents. The Marlins are no longer in re-building mode and trading their ace would only set them back.

    I would do the above trade but as I said the Marlins will not trade Josh Johnson for anything more than a King's Ransom.

    Chance of Coming to New York: One Percent

Gio Gonzalez

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    2011 Stats:

    202.0IP, 16-12, 3.12ERA, 1.32WHIP, 197K, 91BB

    What Would it Take?

    Gio Gonzalez is a very good 26-year old lefty so he will already cost a lot. Throw in the fact that he is under team control until 2016, had a good 2010 season (200.2IP, 3.23ERA) and that he has pitched in the AL and he will be very expensive. Any trade for Gonzalez will start with Jesus Montero and be rounded out with either Dellin Betances or Phil Hughes.

    I would do the above trade if, and only if, Phil Hughes was included instead of Dellin Betances and trades for Kershaw, Hernandez, Lincecum, Cain, Jurrjens and Johnson already fell through. Gonzalez is a very good pitcher but is an unknown and had a tough time pitching against the best teams in the AL in 2011. Gonzalez posted a 6.17ERA vs Boston, 8.18ERA vs NYY and a 4.22ERA vs Texas.

    Chances of Coming to New York: Seven Percent

Trevor Cahill

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    2011 Stats:

    207.2IP, 12-14, 4.16ERA, 1.43WHIP, 147K, 82BB

    What Would it Take?

    If you just looked at his 2011 stats then you would think that Trevor Cahill would cost a second-tier prospect at most but Cahill is only 23-years-old and won 18 games while posting a 2.97ERA just last year. Trevor Cahill will be the cheapest pitcher on this list but he will still cost a pretty penny. I expect that Dellin Betances, Eduardo Nunez and Slade Heathcott would get the deal done.

    My thoughts on Cahill are very confused. If he reverts to his 2010 form he would be a steal but if he wore out his arm or batters figured him out then he would not be worth much. Cahill is owned $28.7 million over the next four seasons with two more options (worth $13 million and $13.5 million) after that. That means if he does revert to his 2010 form he would be under team control for six years for a very cheap price.

    If the Yankees can convince the Athletics to take Phil Hughes and David Phelps instead of Dellin Betances then I would do this trade in a heartbeat but with Dellin Betances in there I am very hesitant.

    Chance of Coming to New York: 12 Percent

Dan Haren

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    2011 Stats:

    238.1IP, 16-10, 3.17ERA, 1.02WHIP, 192K, 33BB

    What Would it Take?

    At 31-years-old Dan Haren is by far the oldest pitcher on this list. Haren is also only under team control for two more years at a total of $28.25 million. That is very cheap for a pitcher who has pitched in the AL, can give you over 200 innings and has a sub-3.20ERA.

    Due to his age and short contract, he would demand a smaller return than most pitchers on this list. I think Dellin Betances/Phil Hughes, David Phelps and Eduardo Nunez would get the deal done and for that price the Yankees would be interested.

    Similarly to Cahill if Betances was in this trade I would be very hesitant but if Phil Hughes was in the trade I would pull the trigger.

    Chance of Coming to New York: 10 Percent