The New York Yankees are in need of a starting pitcher and some infield reinforcements. The Chicago Cubs might have exactly what the Yankees need in infielder Luis Valbuena and the Cubs are somewhat familiar with the Yankees’ farm system after scouting it during the trade that sent Alfonso Soriano to the Yankees last year.
Valbuena, 28, makes the most sense for the Yankees. He can play shortstop, second base and third base. The Yankees are currently using a platoon of Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson at second with Roberts getting the lion’s share of playing time. Occasionally, Yangervis Solarte gets a start at second but he has been getting most of his playing time at third base with Kelly Johnson getting the occasional start there.
Valbuena is a left-handed hitter with a career slash line of .230/.313/.365 with 33 home runs in 1521 at-bats. He is hitting .284/.382/.458 this season with four home runs in 190 at-bats. Last season, Valbuena hit 12 home runs in 331 at-bats so there is some pop in his bat. Valbuena would fit in nicely in Joe Girardi’s infield rotation and could even steal most of the playing time away from the struggling Solarte who is finally coming down to earth.
Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman and Cubs’ GM Jed Hoyer aren’t afraid to deal and the Cubs do like some of the Yankees’ prospects. Valbuena’s nice start to the 2014 campaign will surely inflate Hoyer’s asking price but it must be remembered by both sides that he is still a .230 career hitter who hit .218 last season in a career-high 108 games.
As the trade deadline approaches, Cashman will be on the lookout for reinforcements for his team. He has already said that he expects to make a trade before the deadline hits on July 31st. Whether he adds a starting pitcher, an infielder, or perhaps a bat to replace Soriano in the lineup and outfield rotation, is anyone’s guess. One thing is certain, the Cubs do have starting pitcher Jason Hammel, Valbuena for the infield and Nate Schierholtz for the outfield. Could the Yankees and Cubs come together for a blockbuster? It makes too much sense.