It is mid-July, the All-Star game is long gone (at least that’s how it feels) and that means it is trade season. The New York Yankees are no stranger to this time of year. In fact, the New York Yankees are everyone’s favorite pawn in a sense. Agents like to manufacture New York Yankee interest in their clients to support high asking prices; teams like to agree to trades in principle with the New York Yankees only to pull out at the last moment; and the media likes to inject the New York Yankees into as many rumors as possible to drive up ratings (I suppose I’m no better, but oh well). The rumors and speculation can get kind of wild and unrealistic at times, but I suppose that is life as a sports fan – especially a New York Yankees fan. How about a blockbuster trade that isn’t restricted to your fantasy baseball squad though? I’m talking about a trade for the New York Mets’ David Wright in the off-season.
First things first, let’s talk about Alex Rodriguez. He currently plays third base…well, he’s currently out 3-5 more weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus in his right knee. I talked about Rodriguez and why the Yankees should move him to designated hitter last week. Assuming that the Yankees see things the way I do, third base will be open in 2012. Who could argue with bringing on a player of David Wright’s caliber to take over the hot corner? I’m not talking about the David Wright that let Citi Field get inside of his head. I’m talking about the pre-2009 David Wright that was a .900+ OPS’ing beast, the face of the New York Mets and on his way to superstardom. It’s not like he’s washed up – not at 28 (29 in December). He needs to prove that he’s healthy and productive during the second half before the Yanks make a run at him, but we should find that out fairly soon. He’s in the middle of a rehab assignment as he nears a complete recovery from a stress fracture he suffered in his lower back.
A healthy David Wright, removed from Citi Field, could just mess around and post a .910+ OPS like he did from 2005-2008. If you look at the home/road splits, there is no obvious evidence that Wright performed that much better away from home, but the slugging was down and the strikeouts were way up. I can’t believe that his new digs did not have something to do with those trends. When he’s right, he crushes the ball to right field which can be a very fruitful approach at Yankee Stadium -I think he’d have a blast. Pre-Citi Field, Wright slugged .553 at Yankee Stadium…yeah, it was the old stadium but its almost exactly the same – just more hitter friendly.
The price would likely be pretty steep, but I think adding David Wright to the mix could be worth it. I’m not even sure what pieces the Mets would want from the Yankees. They would definitely want pitching and the Yankees have plenty to offer. You would imagine they would want some offensive potential as well. Jesus Montero would be in the discussion but his inclusion in a deal ultimately depends on how confident they were in his defensive ability behind the dish. They don’t have the option to DH him and they have first base covered by Ike Davis. There is also Austin Romine who we all know doesn’t have the same offensive upside as Montero but is a better bet to develop into a more complete player. I’m as big of a prospect hugger as anybody and I wouldn’t be thrilled to see some of the top Yankees’ youngsters traded away, but I think David Wright could be worthy of the sacrifice.
There is a lot that needs to happen before David Wright and the New York Yankees can unite. First of all, Wright has to show that he is healthy and capable of producing at the levels that he reached from 2005-2008. Secondly, Alex Rodriguez needs to accept a move to the designated hitter role – not a given by any stretch. Lastly, you have the whole “crosstown rivalry” business. I don’t consider the Yankees and Mets rivals, but the fact that they share a city puts a bright spotlight on any dealings that these two teams make. Consequently, Brian Cashman and Sandy Alderson have to be that much more certain that a trade helps out his team – a level of certainty that often precludes the two franchises from consummating blockbuster trades . The reality is that a David Wright trade to the Bronx is a long-shot, but I think the Yankees would be foolish not to rotate the tires on it (that is two steps beyond kicking the tires fyi).