New York Yankees Could Be Poised for Significant Trade(s) This Offseason

I know there are more pressing things going on with the New York Yankees at the moment than speculative and vague trade talk, but I can’t hold my tongue (fingers) any longer. Looking at the depth of the New York Yankees’ farm system – especially at the catcher and starting pitcher spots – it seems like the New York Yankees are going to be in a prime spot to pull off a significant trade or two this off-season.

The Yankees have a good problem right now as talent is starting to bottleneck at the Triple-A and Major League levels. The Yankees will go into 2012 with CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett and Ivan Nova in the rotation. You have to imagine they will make a strong run at either Yu Darvish or C.J. Wilson with an outside shot at both. Top pitching prospects Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos will start 2012 in Triple-A and if Mo is willing, each will be knocking on the rotation door at some point next summer. You can already see the potential for an extremely crowded rotation. It is true that you can never have too much pitching, but there is also a point where your organization’s Major League ready assets lose value when they spend too much time in the minor leagues. Even if some of the Yankees’ Triple-A pitchers – Andrew Brackman, Hector Noesi, Adam Warren, D.J. Mitchell, David Phelps, etc. – find a spot in the big league bullpen, there is still going to be a surplus.

There is a similar, but not quite as crowded situation behind the plate where prospect Austin Romine could find himself squeezed out of the mix. Russell Martin has done a great job in his first season in the Bronx and will almost certainly be brought back. Top prospect Jesus Montero has had a strong debut and the team has said that he will do some catching in addition to his DH duties. Add in Frankie Cervelli’s presence on the roster and the continued development of No. 2 preseason prospect Gary Sanchez and JR Murphy and you can see the traffic jam brewing. Like pitching, you can never have too much talent at catcher but you don’t want talent collecting dust.

I don’t have any specific trade targets to speculate on at the very moment, but the New York Yankees appear to have the surplus necessary at key positions that will allow them to pull off a blockbuster this winter. There will be plenty of additional trade speculation in the coming months, but for now just stash this info/speculation/suggestion in the back of your mind.

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  • http://jukeofurl.wordpress.com Juke Early

    Agree w/you totally C. The true problem will be those GMs who try to steal from the NYY. I believe there is a collusion, starting from the used car sales office of(BS — initials how apt) MLB. AND if Cash isn’t distracted by his contract renewal. He needs to be both creative & aggressive in his demands. Lately that results in no deals. There needs to be an icebreaker. If the Yankees don’t get out of the playoffs to the WS this season, somebody got to do something badass, or this could go wrong for a long long time. The whole league profits literally & figuratively when the NYY are winning & strong. They need to stop the baby crap, admit it & do some business.

    • craigwilliams

      Sometimes it definitely seems as though the Yankees have a harder time trading than other teams do. I’m not sure I would say collusion though – not yet at least. If a team thinks it can improve its shot at the playoffs or a World Series by trading with the Yankees they won’t have a problem doing it. I just think everyone has been trying to go after the top-top guys that Cashman isn’t ready to move.

      There has been a sketchy trade negotiation or two involving the Yankees though. I don’t foresee that this offseason, but of course you never know.

      • Shavager

        Right now Sabathia’s the man and Nova has youth, talent. I’d trade Burnett if possible and Hughes provided Cashman and Steinbrenners are confident in the young pitchers in Triple A. Burnett’s been anything but consistent and same for Hughes. Get a young starter in trade, a dependable arm for rotation with CC and Nova with eye on Betances,Banuelos,Brackman,Noesi, etc. being long range start prospect to move up. If they have that much confidence in those pitchers, get more relief help but rotation needs help NOW, Mo ain’t gonna last forever and Logan’s the only lefty in bullpen. Maybe Girari needs to look at Wade as a starter, he didn’t work out in LA but how long can they stick with Burnett?? Montero looks like the real deal at catcher, don’t see how Cervelli makes team next year with talent at catcher and Martin having a good season, consider trading Cervelli now with Hughes for a quality starter or reliever.

        • craigwilliams

          Burnett is likely here for the long-haul unfortunately. Anything that we got back in a Burnett deal would be slop anyway. I don’t think Hughes is going anywhere either unless the upgrade is undeniable. The Yankees are still really high on him – as they should be. Even if he and Nova make up the 3rd and 4th starters down the line, that’s still going to be a top-5 duo in the bigs (or close to it) – not to mention a pretty cheap one too. If I had to throw two more cents in, I’d say that the Yankees would take a bit of a stubborn stance in trade negotiations. They have what teams need/want, but depending on any free agent moves they make they may not have any urgency to make a deal. As long as they can maintain that position of power at the trade table they can demand the players that they want at the price that they want.

  • BeerAnShot

    Yo C.W.,

    Not sure I agree with you concerning Martin doing a good job catching this season. He’s only hitting .240 & has a low % of throwing out base stealers.
    Cervelli is hitting .266 & seems to be kind of clutch, but doesn’t throw out enough base stealers either. I think an upgrade at catcher as to be looked at. Not sure if you can find one though at a reasonable price. The Yanks also need to find a good 3rd baseman & better a starting outfielder. You can do better than Swisher’s .262 & 22 HR’s. Let Swisher come off the bench for both corner spots. Peace

    • craigwilliams

      His average is low, but he’s still getting on base at a solid clip and providing some power. As far as defense goes, there are a lot of things that a catcher can do to help out in addition to throwing runners out. I’m not a player evaluator or scout, but from what I’ve seen Russell Martin looks like he does a lot of good things defensively. I agree with you on 3B simply because A-Rod needs to play more DH to stay healthy, but I have to disagree with Swisher. He’s actually been great since the all-star break with an .891 OPS. I think the Yanks are fine offensively. They just need to be able to find a way to shuffle the lineup effectively in 2012.

    • Ace

      Yankees are high on Martin, he’s going nowhere.

      • craigwilliams

        I agree.

  • Pounder

    I think the Yanks will be open to trading Swisher,if the return includes a premier OFer (Carlos Gonzales).The pitching glut allows us sit and wait for a premier arm,seeing as how we did quite well thank you with two castoffs in the rotation this season.

    • craigwilliams

      I’d definitely love to see a guy like Matt Kemp or Car-Go in Yankee pinstripes, but I don’t think that is likely. If I was to be proven wrong though, I think that sort of a blockbuster would happen after this coming off-season. Car-Go is signed long-term so that hypothetical trade is less likely than Kemp coming to the Bronx. Kemp has one more year left before he hits free agency and the Dodgers will do everything they can to lock him up for obvious reasons. If they determined that they weren’t going to be able to keep him in LA, then they might try to move him, but it’d probably be closer to July 31st.

      I don’t think Swisher would be a prominent factor in those trades though. Swisher’s 2012 option ($10.25 million) is a little pricey by non-Yankees standards and I’m not sure teams will be looking to take that on in a trade. Swish is also a great fit with the club so they may not be looking to move him. I’ve been dead wrong plenty of times in the past. It could happen again.

  • Matt

    I don’t know if many trades are in order this winter. What the Yankees need is a #2 to go behind C.C. and that could be available in C.J. Wilson. I’ve read he wants to sign on the West coast and is easily baited into saying non-PC things by the media (Imagine the field day NY media would have with him), but he could really be the only piece they are missing going into the 2012 season. Maybe a left handed reliever and a high reward/low risk signing like a Johnathan Broxton might also be in the works. I just don’t see any top flight starters that are going to be dangled this winter that would merit the flipping of Betances and Man-Ban.

    • craigwilliams

      The Yankees definitely need to upgrade their No. 2 starter situation and the FA market might be the best place for that when all the dust settles. As far as trades go though, I’m not suggesting that the Yankees trade Dellin Betances or Manny Banuelos and I’m also not suggesting that they’ll be able to trade for King Felix or Clayton Kershaw. I think there might be some decent deals out there though – some of which I’ll investigate more thoroughly in the coming weeks. The Yankees just have a surplus of talent at starting pitcher and catcher. You love depth there, but at some point all that depth needs to be used to create margins elsewhere.

      It’s interesting that you’ve read stuff about CJ Wilson saying non-PC things. He’s a real “straight-edge” type of guy – no alcohol, no drugs, etc. He doesn’t seem like the guy that would create a media buzz.

  • Chris

    Swisher definitely isn’t going anywhere, his option will be almost certainly be picked up. I find it a little interesting that no one has acknowledged that C.C. has a player option at the end of this season that he could very well exercise and although nobody ever outbids the Yankees on the free agent market, there is a possibility that he could be pitching for another team next season. That being said, from everything I’ve read and seen it seems as if he will be back, possibly with some kind of extension.

    As much as it burns my eyes to watch Burnett pitch, he simply makes too much and has too less of value to make it sensible to trade him. The Yankees are stuck with him.

    Problem with that is A.J.’s a #4 starter being paid like a #2 starter. I wouldn’t mind the Yankees picking up someone like Derek Lowe as a stopgap who is making a lot of money as long as the Yankees aren’t giving up more than someone like Brackman and a low ceiling prospect like David Warren. But Lowe is real long in the tooth and as over-achieving as Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon have been, you can’t possibly expect either one of those guys to duplicate their production next year.

    Martin is fine at catcher and although he doesn’t throw out runners at a great clip, he’s a much better receiver than his predecessor, Jorge, ever was.

    3rd base could be a concern. You have to believe Rodriguez will be DH’ing a whole lot more next year with Posada not on the roster, but with that Chavez isn’t a lock to be back. Even if he is, Chavez, for as good a player as he is, has always had a checkered injury history. Are the Yankees high enough on Nunez to play him at 3rd again next season for an extended period of time if need be or do they fell they have to go out and get a starting third baseman?

    • craigwilliams

      That is true. I have no worries that CC will be in Yankee pinstripes in 2012 and beyond though. You’re also right about Burnett. He’s not going anywhere and the Yankees probably just have to keep throwing him out there for two more seasons after this. I don’t even think I would be happy to see Brackman traded for Lowe. I’m going to contradict what I just said, but if the Yanks were to trade for a guy like Lowe or Carlos Zambrano, A.J. HAS to go in that deal just because there is no need for the Yanks to add another horrendous contract or headache in addition to what they already have in Burnett.

      I definitely think 3B could be a problem and think it is time for A-Rod to move to full-time DH. He won’t be full-time in 2012, but hopefully the Yankees recognize the need to extend his health and production for as long as possible. I actually wrote about the Yanks going after David Wright a couple of months ago. There are rumblings that the Mets could look to move him under certain circumstances and I think he has the potential to be a great fit.

      • Chris

        I’d agree that Burnett would have to be in a deal for Zambrano but as terrible as A.J. is I almost feel like I’d rather put up with Burnett’s inconsistency and lack of heart than Zambrano’s ticking time bomb and locker room cancer attitude. From everything I’ve read about Brackman, after seeminly turning it around last year, the guy is absolutely lost at the mound again and can’t find the strike zone. There’s serious doubt he’ll ever turn it around and his value just may not be that high anymore.

        As bad as Wright needs a change of scenery and I’d love to see him in a Yankee uniform, I see no way the Wilpon’s sign off on a trade like that unless they’re getting Major League ready prospects or budding stars in return. Possibly Hughes and/or Gardner and a top prospect to boot. The Wilpon’s are always terrified of a PR nightmare and would need to get a haul to justify trading one of their favorite stars to the crosstown rivals they’re constantly compared to. Lastly, it’ll probably be a moot point as Rodriguez might pout all year long if they replace him at third next season and Cashman will look to avoid that.

        • craigwilliams

          True, I really wouldn’t want Zambrano’s craziness in the Bronx either. I agree with you to an extent on David Wright. They’d definitely want/need a package that they were confident and sold on, but I’m not convinced that it would HAVE to include Hughes, Gardner or Montero.

  • Bravesfan

    Please trade us for Derrick lowe , anyway montero could play LF?

    • craigwilliams

      Haha, I wouldn’t hold my breath on either of those. Jesus Montero is probably limited to DH, C and 1B…..I hope the list is that long.

      • Chris

        Hey, you guys went hard after Burnett when they were both free agents, this is a chance for Wren to redeem himself. And not a chance he can play left, dude is most likely nothing more than a DH that’ll probably have to be moved. For what, who knows.