Brian Cashman and the New York Yankees have been dead silent at the Winter Meetings in Dallas, Texas but Cashman has said that they have remained active looking for a possible deal. Cashman has said that he will not be stupid or make a move just for the sake of making moves, which makes sense because the Yankees have very promising prospects they do not wish to trade.
Lets look at six ideas to improve their roster this offseason.
Yankees Get: Ervin Santana
Angels Get: Phil Hughes, Austin Romine and Slade Heathcott
The Los Angeles Angels are reportedly shopping Ervin Santana because of their interest in ex-Rangers' ace C.J. Wilson.
Santana is a 28-year-old righty who threw a no-hitter, but allowed one run, on July 27, 2011 to go along with a 3.38 ERA and 178 strikeouts in 228.2 innings pitched.
Santana just started to be shopped, and even now he will not be traded until the Angels sign C.J. Wilson, and no big name starting pitcher has been traded yet this offseason so a the market has not been set and a price will be hard to pin down just yet.
If the Angels sign Wilson and Santana becomes available expect the Yankees to be interested but I doubt they will be willing to trade their top prospects like Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances and Mason Williams.
Yankees Get: Kyle Drabek
Blue Jays Get: A.J. Burnett, $10 million and Adam Warren
78.2 IP, 4-5, 6.06 ERA, 1.81 WHIP, 51 K, 55 BB
The Yankees need pitching and it would be nice for them to add another young high-potential arm to their trio of Ivan Nova, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances.
Drabek is a 23-year-old righty who was drafted 18th overall by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2006 MLB Draft and was ranked as the 29th-best prospect in all of baseball in 2010. Drabek was the key piece that was sent from Philadelphia to Toronto in the Roy Halladay trade, and while he has shown promise he has major control issues.
One of the most speculated reasons for why Drabek struggled in Triple-A (7.44 ERA) compared to Double-A (2.94 ERA) was because the Blue Jays took his second-best pitch away, his cutter. If Drabek can work with Mariano Rivera for one season and he reintroduces a better cutter Drabek could be a steal because the Yankees would be buying low after his disappointing stint in the majors.
The Yankees are reportedly shopping A.J. Burnett and are willing to eat about eight million dollars of his contract but that will not be enough, they will have to add in another two million dollars. A.J. Burnett was successful in Toronto from 2006 to 2008 so they Blue Jays may want to add him to their rotation for the right price.
Yankees Get: Gio Gonzalez
Athletics Get: Brett Gardner, Dellin Betances, Eduardo Nunez and Clint Robinson
Royals Get: David Phelps, Michael Taylor and Austin Romine
202.0 IP, 16-12, 3.12 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 197 K, 91 BB
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 (200.2 IP, 3.23 ERA) and that he has pitched in the AL and he will be expensive.
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 6.17 ERA vs. Boston, 8.18 ERA vs. NYY and a 4.22 ERA vs. Texas.
If the Yankees do not want to give up three of their top prospects for Gonzalez they will need to get a third team involved. Clint Robinson is a great first base prospect but with Eric Hosmer at first base and Billy Butler at DH Robinson does not fit anywhere so he could be traded for fairly cheap.
Yankees Get: Brad Peacock
Nationals Get: Brett Gardner and David Phelps
12.0 IP, 2-0, 0.75 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 4 K, 6 BB
The Washington Nationals are looking for a young center fielder and if B.J. Upton gets too expensive they will call the Yankees again but this time they will be more desperate and be willing to give up a little more.
Righty Brad Peacock had a strong season in the minors by going 10-2 with a 2.01 ERA in Double-A and 5-1 with a 3.19 ERA in Triple-A to go along with a 3.77 K/BB. Peacock has serious potential and if the Nationals are willing to trade him for an elite defensive center fielder in Brett Gardner they Yankees should pull the trigger.
This trade will only happen if the Yankees sign...
Contract: 5-year $60 Million
.333/.424/.667, 1.091 OPS, 33 HR, 99 RBI
With Brett Gardner out the door, somebody would have to step in an play left field for the Yankees. That person is Cuban-defector Yoenis Cespedes, who will be declared a free agent by MLB after the GM meetings in Dallas.
The New York Yankees are considered to be among the front-runners for Yoenis Cespedes, along with the Detroit Tigers, Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals. The Marlins have already signed Heath Bell, Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes and are reportedly still interested in C.J. Wilson, but not Prince Fielder. If the Marlins sign C.J. Wilson you can cross them off the list of front-runners.
Cespedes may not have Gardner's speed or defensive skills but he does have great speed and plus defense to go along with a great power and contact bat.
If Cashman wants Cespedes, it will cost the Yankees $50-60 million over five years but with his five-tool talent, it would be worth it.
Posting Fee: $50 Million
Contract: 5-year $70 Million
232.0 IP, 18-6, 1.44 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 276 K, 35 BB
Yu Darvish is a 25-year-old Japanese pitching phenom. Most people try to compare Darvish to other Japanese pitchers, such as Daisuke Matsuzaka and Kei Igawa, but these comparisons are just not fair because he is a better and more complete pitcher than both of them.
Average of last five seasons in Japan:
Darvish: 205 IP, 17-5, 1.71 ERA, 219 Ks
Matsuzaka: 163 IP, 13-7, 2.62 ERA, 169 Ks
Igawa: 200 IP, 15-9, 3.13 ERA, 190 Ks
Darvish pitched the most innings, had the best record, by far the best ERA and the most strikeouts even though he was the youngest of the three. Darvish also has at least seven pitches (four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, slurve, changeup, curveball, splitter and cutter) and tops out on the radar gun at an incredible 100 miles per hour.
Yu Darvish's posting fee would not count against the luxury tax so he will be cheaper than his price tag appears.
The Japanese baseball may be smaller, which allows for higher velocity, but it also has less prominent seams, which creates less movement on off-speed pitches.
The mound in the majors is also harder and a different height than in Japan. The switch to the majors may be a difficult one, but I think Darvish has a chance to become the first very successful Japanese pitcher in the majors.