With the July 31st trade deadline looming, the Yankees have been suspiciously quiet. Is this Brian Cashman in his patented Ninja mode? Or should we take his recent comments at face value, that he’s happy with the team as currently constructed and feels no need to do anything. From a negotiating standpoint, it makes sense to project confidence and calm. Nobody wants to look desperate. But in the case of the 2012 Yankees, projecting an image of serenity is well warranted. They sport the best record in baseball, have an 8 game lead in their division and before their two straight losses to a red hot Oakland team they had won 9 of 11 and 26 of their previous 35 games.
But even when a team is playing well, internal evaluations can paint a different picture. Are there areas of concern under the surface? Will the highly productive LF platoon of Jones/Ibanez/Wise begin to show their age and wear down if called upon to play regularly? Is the Eppley/Rapada bullpen tandem a small sample mirage? A product of a small adjustment that scouting reports will eventually catch up to and opposing hitters will pummel? Maybe. We saw the Yanks get a surprisingly good year out of Cory Wade before the clock struck midnight this past April. But the bullpen is the least of Yankees concerns. They’re 5th in the AL in ERA (Yankee pitching is 4th in ERA overall). Soriano, Robertson and Logan have the 8th and 9th locked down. Joba’s on the mend and throwing the ball exceptionally well in his rehab outings. Even if Eppley/Rapada go kablooey, you’re talking about low leverage relievers which are a dime a dozen. Internally or externally, you can find someone.
If there’s one spot on the team that stands out, the most obvious place for an upgrade is Left Field. Brett Gardner‘s slated for elbow surgery, and it appears he’s out for the season. One oft-heard criticism of this Yankee group is its over reliance on the long ball, and its inability to build a run. The theory goes that you won’t be able to hit as many dingers in October and will get shut down against the good pitching. I don’t buy it, the Yanks just ended a 42 game stretch where they scored 3 runs or more (2nd longest in live ball era). In any 42 game stretch you’re going to face both good and bad pitching, so this group has shown remarkable consistency in its ability to score runs. But I’m all for a diverse attack. Distractions at 1B can lead opposing pitchers to make more mistakes, and this group will crush them.
In my view, there are two types of deals that would make sense for Cash to make. One would be a pure salary dump for a marginal upgrade to the 2012 team, preferably someone with a similar skill set to Brett Gardner. In that category, Shane Victorino stands out as an obvious choice. The other type of deal that would make sense would be one that addresses the 2012 team as well as provides insurance for the pending free agencies of Nick Swisher after this season and Curtis Granderson after 2013. In this category we have Carlos Quinten (3rd year arb in 2013) Denard Span (signed through 2015) or a mega deal for someone like Justin Upton (signed through 2015). I love Span, but he’s very similar to Gardner in terms of skill set and we have to assume Brett will be back healthy for next year. Span’s not a RF, so he doesn’t fit long term to replace Swisher. Quinten and Upton could play RF and match or exceed the fine production Swisher has given the Yanks since 2009.
But the Yanks aren’t currently in the best position to make a deal for a top level player. They spent their best trade chip this past offseason when they dealt Jesus Montero in the (thus far) ill fated Michael Pineda deal. Their two top pitching prospects in Baneulos and Betances have had wasted 2012 campaigns, Banuelos dealing with an elbow injury and Betances dealing with command issues that got him demoted to AA. The best chips the Yanks have to deal are in A-ball, and while fans often see smooth paths to major league stardom for the likes of Mason Williams, Tyler Austin and Gary Sanchez, other GMs typically prefer safer, MLB ready talent in high profile deals. So even if the Yanks were willing to empty out their farm system for a Justin Upton, they probably still wouldn’t have enough. This offseason could be a different story. A player in his final year of arb like Phil Hughes could be made available depending on how the starting pitching shakes out. David Phelps had shown he could add some value as MLB ready talent for a team with a back of the rotation spot to fill. By year’s end top prospects like Williams, Austin and Sanchez could get a taste of AA action, while others in the upper levels like Brett Mashall and David Adams have reestablished value after serious injuries. Banuelos and Campos are both scheduled to see action later this year and could be in the mix with big performances. But as things stand today, the timing isn’t right to make an Upton type deal. Deals like that will have to wait until after the 2012 season.
LIKE TYA ON FACEBOOK
- TYA To Merge With It’s About The Money, Stupid
- What about Kevin Youkilis?
- Teix Now Front And Center On The “Needs To Produce” Radar
- Cashman: Heathcott A Dark Horse Candidate
- A Dog Chasing Cars
- Outfield Trade Targets
- The Problem With Brett Gardner
- A Look At Relief Prospect Branden Pinder
- The Yankees Should Be Realistic, Put Team on Short Leash in 2013
- Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- Brand bc on Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- http://2804lasela.wordpress.com/ on TYA Predictions: Bold predictions for 2012
- the tao of badass pdf on What about Austin Romine?
- Joey Parkhill on Dante Bichette Jr’s Swing
- lululemon factory outlet on Contact Us
- Cary on Will R.A. Dickey’s Knuckleball Succeed In A Domed Stadium?
- Brenna on Links: Prospects, Support for A-Rod, Mariano is Love and Who’s in Center?
- Louis Vuitton Outlet Sale Singapore on The Monthly Prospector: April Edition
- Authentic Louis Vuitton Outlet Store on The Monthly Prospector: June Edition
- Louis Vuitton Outlet San Diego on Banuelos to Undergo Tommy John Surgery, Yankees Prospectors to Undergo Grief Counseling
TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees