Will Yankees' Brian Cashman Make Big Trade Splash to Save Season from Injuries?
Tuesday was not a very good day for the New York Yankees, and for general manager Brian Cashman.
First, they learned that first baseman Mark Teixeira—who missed the first two months of the season with a partially torn tendon sheath in his right wrist—would need another DL stint for ongoing wrist concerns.
Teixeira was hitting only .151 in 15 games, and Yankees coach Kevin Long said over the weekend that Teixeira's swing hasn't been right since he was activated from the DL.
Fortunately for the Yankees, an MRI revealed some inflammation in the wrist, but no new tearing in the tendon sheath itself. Teixeira was given a cortisone shot and won't be swinging a bat for several days.
It should be noted that Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista suffered a similar injury last year that required season-ending surgery. For Teixeira, that option certainly hasn't been ruled out at this point.
For third baseman Kevin Youkilis, the situation is a bit more serious. Youkilis returned from the disabled list on May 31 after missing a month with back problems. He too was placed back on the DL and will undergo surgery on Thursday to repair a herniated disk.
Youkilis will be sidelined for a minimum of 10-12 weeks, meaning it would be late August/early September before he's ready to return. That's a best-case scenario at this point.
The issues now facing the Yankees are obvious—Alex Rodriguez is already on the DL and is out indefinitely while he recovers from hip surgery. Eduardo Nunez (strained oblique) was recently moved to the 60-day DL and isn't expected back until at least the All-Star break.
Oh yeah, and shortstop Derek Jeter likely won't be back until after the All-Star break as well.
All of the injuries have forced manager Joe Girardi to field a lineup that at times looked more like a Triple-A team.
And yet amazingly, the Yankees find themselves just four games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East. But with the recent news, that may not last long.
Is it now time for Cashman to start considering a major splash on the trade market?
With the trade deadline just six weeks away, trades are already on the minds of general managers across MLB. But for Cashman, the need is more for now, and not for the final two months of the season.
Here are a few options that Cashman can consider in order to make up for the rash of serious injuries.
Headley has gotten off to a slow start after missing the first few weeks of the season with a broken thumb. He's currently hitting just .224 with six home runs, 22 RBI and a .684 OPS. Headley broke through last season with 31 home runs and a league-leading 115 RBI.
He went on record in early May in saying that he would not negotiate a long-term extension with the Padres during the season. That position could well have hurt him in the Padres' efforts to keep him in San Diego.
However, in light of the Padres' recent run of great play that has them just two games out of the lead in a tight NL West race, moving Headley before the trade deadline is much less likely.
Still, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman will be considering long-term solutions now that Kevin Youkilis is out for what looks like most of the regular season and Alex Rodriguez's return still up in the air.
With no quick fixes in the minor leagues, Cashman can't just look for short-term options.
The Milwaukee Brewers are 13 games under .500 with a starting rotation that has vastly underperformed all season.
They certainly appear at this point to be sellers at this point. One of the pieces they could dangle to help rebuild would be third baseman Aramis Ramirez.
Ramirez is earning $10 million this season and is owed $20 million for next season, which includes a $4 million buyout of his 2015 option. He's hitting .278 thus far with three homers and 18 RBI. He has pretty solid numbers after missing a month with a knee injury.
The catch for Ramirez is the amount of money still owed to him. For the New York Yankees, that would be a concern, considering that at 34 years of age, he wouldn't be considered a long-term solution.
But if the Yankees are looking solely for a short-term answer and getting a reliable and productive bat, Ramirez certainly can't be ruled out.
In the event that the Philadelphia Phillies aren't in a position to contend after the All-Star break, they could very well be in a selling mood.
If that's the case, third baseman Michael Young would likely be a name under consideration for the Yankees.
The Texas Rangers are paying $10 million of Young's $16 million salary, with the Phillies picking up the rest. Money obviously wouldn't be a stumbling block for the New York Yankees—Young will be a free agent at season's end.
Again, it doesn't represent a long-term solution for general manager Brian Cashman. But he could opt to make fixes for the short term and work on a long-range plan during the offseason, in which case Young could be worth going after.
In addition, Young's flexibility in the infield would be a plus, especially if Alex Rodriguez is somehow able to play third base following his rehab from hip surgery.
The Seattle Mariners are currently eight games below .500, and their efforts to bring in more offense this past offseason have not led to the type of results they were looking for.
After finishing last in the American League in runs scored for four consecutive seasons, the Mariners are in second-to-last this season, just six runs ahead of the last-place Chicago White Sox.
If in a selling mood before the trade deadline, general manager Jack Zduriencik has pieces to move. One of them would be designated hitter/first baseman Kendrys Morales.
Morales is under contract only for this season, and is currently hitting .277 with eight home runs and 37 RBI. He's offered consistent offense for the Mariners all season and could give the New York Yankees a right-handed option to complement Travis Hafner at designated hitter.
He could also work at first base if Mark Teixeira's wrist requires season-ending surgery.
In addition to Kendrys Morales, outfielder/first baseman Michael Morse could be made available by the Seattle Mariners as well.
Morse has been hobbled in recent weeks in dealing with a nagging quad injury suffered in late May. He's still managed to club 11 home runs with 23 RBI in 54 games thus far.
With a $6.75 million salary, Morse certainly wouldn't be a financial burden for the New York Yankees. He would give manager Joe Girardi options as well with his ability to play first base and the corner outfield spots. Morse is also a solid DH option.
Justin Morneau's time with the Minnesota Twins could be coming to an end.
Morneau's entire career has been spent in Minnesota, but with his contract expiring at the end of the season, the Twins will in all likelihood be moving in another direction.
Morneau is hitting .287 with 38 RBI, but with just two home runs and a sub-.400 slugging percentage—not optimal for a prototypical first baseman.
Morneau has remained healthy all season and fields his position well, so he could be a viable option, albeit for short-term purposes.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.
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