New York Yankees: 5 Players They Should Be Targeting for Trade Deadline

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst IApril 17, 2012

New York Yankees: 5 Players They Should Be Targeting for Trade Deadline

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    It's never too early to start thinking ahead to the MLB trade deadline and the New York Yankees are no strangers to making moves to bolster their roster halfway through the season.

    Starting pitching has already presented a problem and instead of needing to fill one spot with Andy Pettitte, both Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia's struggles might make it necessary to go out and find another starter.

    Here are some players the Yanks might target at the trade deadline.

Matt Garza

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    So far, so good for Matt Garza who, by all accounts, is pitching as well as any pitcher in Major League Baseball through two starts into the 2012 season.

    Garza is 1-0 with a 1.23 ERA for the Chicago Cubs.

    Garza would not only give the Yanks a proven arm in their rotation and add enormous depth, but he gives New York a pitcher with some postseason experience and that is always important in the Bronx.

    The Yanks might find Garza's 3.48 ERA career in the postseason pretty handy if the back-end of their rotation doesn't pan out they way they'd hope.

    This one would be tough to pull off considering the Cubs are a rebuilding team looking for young talent. The Yanks would have to give up at least two top-tier prospects and that might make it tough for GM Brian Cashman to pull the trigger.

Cole Hamels

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    Unlike Garza, Cole Hamels has put up the numbers of a front-end starter as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.

    Hamels went 14-9 with a 2.79 ERA in 2011 and the Bombers could certainly use that type of consistency out of their starting pitching.

    The Phillies will almost certainly not bring Hamels back in 2012 because of the No. 1-starter money he will command. Don't forget, Philly has a ton of money wrapped up in Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.

    If the injuries to Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are prolonged, Philly might either find itself out of contention by the deadline or at the very least, buyers for offense which is something New York has plenty of.

    The Yanks might be able to entice the Phillies with a package around Nick Swisher who will be a free agent after this season. Re-signing Swish would be more financially sound since the spending is on offense, something Philly needs, and not more pitching.

    New York has more than enough offense to cover Swish's production and Hamels' presence in this starting rotation would be invaluable for the rest of the 2012 season and for the long term as the team's No. 2 starter.

    Throw in a mid-level starter, say Phil Hughes, for example, and a top-tier prospect or two. The Yanks could afford to give up the Killer B's if they bring in a pitcher like Hamels.

    Although waiting for Hamels to hit free agency would be more diligent in the Yanks' case, this is still the Bombers and winning now trumps everything else, even logic.

John Lannan

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    Getting to the more reality-based portion of our little program here, John Lannan is more the type of starter who could be had for a cheaper price than the two arms I just mentioned.

    Lannan is currently residing with the Washington Nationals and isn't even with the major league club.

    The Nationals have incredible depth in their starting five and don't have room for Lannan. With the NL East wide open in 2012, the Nationals' pitching success could make Lannan expendable if offense should become a need at the trade deadline.

    You could be looking at another deal for Swisher and/or a mid- to top-tier prospect, but since Lannan is only making $5 million and is a free agent in 2014, he fits perfectly into the Yanks' plans for cutting payroll by that year.

    Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has listed several teams who've already shown interest and the Bombers are not one of them. However, normally that's a good thing when it comes to the Yanks' GM making a deal.

Justin Morneau

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    Justin Morneau's name has been thrown around at this early point in the season, but I couldn't possibly see a deal for him.

    The Yanks are looking for more certainties than anything else and Morneau doesn't fit that profile. He's had several injury problems, namely concussions, which are always a dangerous injury to any pro athlete's career.

    Morneau's numbers have declined and the Yanks are already set at first base with Mark Teixeira. Not to mention, they don't need anymore offense.

Adam Jones

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    If the Baltimore Orioles find themselves predictably out of the race by the trade deadline, they could consider a trade for 26-year-old center fielder, Adam Jones.

    Jones and the O's had contract talks over the winter but ultimately didn't get anything done. With one more year of arbitration and free agency after 2013, the Yanks could take a $6.15 million shot on him this season if they have to give up Swisher.

    Jones is off to a hot start in 2012 with three home runs and four RBI for Baltimore. He's hitting cleanup for Buck Showalter's club.

    It would cost the Bombers a great deal of their farm system, but if Swisher goes, it'll be because the Yanks shored up their rotation, possibly for the long term.

    This move would give New York the best outfield in the MLB for years to come. Besides, tell me a more dangerous, deeper lineup than that in baseball.