There is a saying that you can never have enough pitching. The New York Yankees have four solid starters, but the fifth spot in their rotation will be up for grabs this spring. Regardless of who wins that spot, the Yankees could look to improve their rotation in the middle of the year as the trade deadline approaches.
This winter a number of teams were chasing after Jair Jurrjens according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The Yankees were one of the teams that the Atlanta Braves talked to this winter according to John Harper of the Daily News, and while it was never officially said, Jurrjens name likely came up.
New York could re-engage the Braves in talks as the season goes on. Jurrjens would be a great fit for the Yankees and he would give them a very intimidating playoff rotation.
If the Braves were to deal Jurrjens to the Yankees, then they likely already have a player in mind that they would want back. Jim Bowden of ESPN has noted that the Braves have already begun to target Nick Swisher since he will become a member of the 2013 free-agent class.
Trading for Swisher would allow the Braves to try to work out an extension with him before he hits the open market. It seems as if Swisher will be one of the Braves' top targets this winter so a move like this would certainly make sense for them.
In Jurrjens, the Yankees would get a pitcher that they can control for the next two years, before he hits the free agent market in 2014. Jurrjens is just 26 years old, and he would slot into the Yankees' rotation very nicely over the next few years.
There has been some talk that the Tampa Bay Rays have one of the best rotations in baseball, but if the Yankees added Jurrjens then they would have a rotation that could certainly be compared to the Rays'.
Acquiring Jurrjens would certainly boost the Yankees' playoff chances for both this season and the following year. When healthy, Jurrjens has been one of the better pitchers in baseball.
A deal like this would create a bit of a problem for the Yankees though. They would need to find someone to replace Swisher in right field. Raul Ibanez and Andrew Jones are already on the Yankees' roster, but their defensive skills have greatly diminished over the years.
The Yankees do not have many potential replacements for Swisher in their minor league system that will be ready this year, but if a player like Zoilo Almonte can prove that he can hit at Double-A and Triple-A this year than the Yankees could be willing to make the move.
Any deal like this would likely come down to how badly the Yankees want starting pitching at the trade deadline. Jurrjens would be an outstanding fit with the Yankees, but they may not be willing to part with Swisher to get him.