Identifying potential (ideally left-handed-hitting) DH trade targets


As we all know by now, the Yankees are telling people they are hoping to fill their vacancy at DH via trade (which would presumably include dealing either A.J. Burnett or Phil Hughes) first, and should that fail, scour the remaining free-agent market as a fallback option.

The following is a short-list of potential designated hitter candidates (ideally of the left-handed hitting variety, to create a platoon with Andruw Jones) that could make some sense as trade targets for the Yankees. It should be noted that none of these players are likely on the trading block — three of four are penciled in as starters — but what better to stoke the Hot Stove fires with than irresponsible rumormongerng?

Garrett Jones, Pirates. Prior to embarking on research for this post I’d never even heard of Jones, but he hit righties fairly well last season, posting a .351 wOBA/122 wRC+ in 406 PAs, including an 11.3 BB%. Combined with Jones ideally putting together something reasonably comparable to the .400 wOBA/151 wRC+ he compiled against LHP from last season, and that’d not only make for one of the more productive DHs in the league, but also perhaps the first-ever all-Jones platoon in baseball history. Garrett also carries a career .360 wOBA against RHP along with a 125 wRC+ and 11.3 BB% in more than 1,000 PAs — the man knows how to hit right-handed pitching.

At 30, he’s also no spring chicken, and I can’t envision the cost in players being all that considerable, although as Joe noted to me, “He’s one of their only decent bats, so I’m not sure they’d let him go cheaply. Considering his age and must-platoon status, I’m not sure there’s a good match there.” A late bloomer, Jones is also under team control for three more years, so that would likely impede a hypothetical deal further. Still, Brian Cashman and Neal Huntington do seem to like each other as trading partners, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see Cash figure something creative out given the team’s current glut of pitching.

Nolan Reimold, Orioles. Despite the fact that the Yankees and Orioles have hooked up for just one player-for-player trade in the 19 years since Peter Angelos bought the Orioles franchise, Ken Rosenthal yesterday posited that the birds could be a logical trade partner for Burnett. While a deal involving anyone seems highly unlikely, earlier this offseason I wrote about Reimold potentially being a useful bench piece. Unfortunately he doesn’t meet the left-handed-hitting component of our criteria, but he actually can hit righties, tagging them with a .360 wOBA/124 wRC+ (10.1 BB%) in 201 PAs last season, and he’s evinced a slight reverse platoon split during his career, with a .345 mark against righties compared to .332 against lefties. He’s also not currently projected to start for Baltimore, perhaps making him a bit more expendable. Still, file this under not bloody likely.

Lucas Duda, Mets. This is even less likely than a deal with the O’s, as the Mets would presumably have to be blown away to trade a player that is arguably their second-best hitter and one who also happens to be cost-controlled. After all, the CitiField faithful are going to need something to get excited about given the bleak outlook of the next few years. Still, with the Yankees’ excess of arms, perhaps a deal involving Phil Hughes and one of the fourth-starter types at AAA (who would probably fare quite a bit better both in the NL and at the cavernous ballpark in Queens than in the Bronx) or some sort of package of minor leaguers would be compelling enough to evoke a rare crosstown trade for the left-handed Duda, who obliterated righties to the tune of a .380 wOBA/145 wRC+. Though Duda projects to be the Mets’ starting right fielder, the 26-year-old hasn’t shown much of an ability to hit portsiders to this point (in an admittedly small sample of 86 PAs, Duda has a .282 wOBA), so perhaps the cost wouldn’t be excessive given the need to platoon. (h/t to YankeeSource for inspiring this idea following his musing on Daniel Murphy).

David DeJesus, Cubs. The long-linked-to-the-Yankees local product DeJesus is a no-go at the present moment, having signed a two-year, $10 million deal with the Cubbies at the end of November. However; should Chicago fall out of contention come July — and at the present moment, it’s not clear that they’re better than roughly a 3rd-place team on paper — DeJesus will likely be an attractive trade candidate. Though he had a tough year in Oakland last season, he still hit righties well (.347 wOBA/120 wRC+), and owns a career .356 wOBA/116 wRC+ against northpaws.

Again, with Jones and Duda projected to hit 5th for their respective teams, the Pirates and Mets would likely look for more than the Yankees would feel comfortable dishing, despite both franchises having basically already been eliminated from 2012 playoff contention. The unfortunate O’s are also a lock for last in the AL East yet again, though that still won’t be enough for Angelos to attempt to improve his team via dealing with the Yankees. If the Yankees do decide to go into the season addressing their DH needs in-house, DeJesus will likely be a name that will once again come up frequently should the Cubs falter, and would seem to be the most probable to be dealt out of this quartet.


  1. Soriano is a Liar says:

    Lets trade for Adam Jones and Chipper Jones too, corner the market.

  2. Vegetable Lasagna says:

    These aren’t inspiring choices. Carlos Pena would have been ideal. Johnny is still out there. Tigers don’t need him anymore with Prince. He would be a perfect part time DH in Yankee Stadium.

  3. Mark L says:

    I just don’t see an obvious fit on the trade market. A.J. simply isn’t movable, the only teams with pitching vacancies either won’t deal with us or don’t have the sort of contract we want to take back. Would a Burnett-Torii Hunter swap make any sense? Burnett-Chone Figgins? I don’t see it.

    I suspect that we’ll ultimately end up dealing Garcia to free up a little cash that we then spend on Damon/Matsui/Ibanez.

  4. CJ says:

    Prediction: the “irresponsible rumormongering” of RAB will identify trade candidate before insiders Jon heyman or Joel Sherman or Buster Olney. As was the case in Montero-Pineda deal.

  5. Johnny O says:

    Lucas Duda is intriguing in that he could be the RF for a few years to come with Swisher leaving after this year. Cost controlled, helps for the 2014 $189M-or-bust goal. Is he worth more to the yankees than he otherwise would be in this scenario?

    • Larry Koestler says:

      I too initially thought of Duda as a possible low-cost Swish replacement, but unless he starts hitting lefthanded pitching he may not be a full-time player on a contender.

      • Johnny O says:

        How are his minor league numbers against LHP? as noted, 86 PA’s doesn’t tell us much. Especially in the Grand (Citi) Canyon.

        Nice thing about coming to the Yankees is we’d be looking for him to hit 7th in the lineup, not 2nd or 3rd.

    • JoeyA says:

      If Mets trade Duda, their fans will burn down Citi Field.

      Go on metsblog.com They talk about Duda like hes the next Beltran. crazy sons of bitches

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Don’t think I want Duda in the OF.

  6. Craig Maduro says:

    I like Pedro Alvarez as a trade target. I thought maybe my desire was a bit out of line, but after a little chat with T.O. Chris I realized that I wasn’t as crazy as I thought…or maybe we’re both crazy, who knows?

    I wouldn’t mind the Yanks paying extra to pry a guy like Alvarez away from a team. Young, cheap, talented, can play a position that the team needs to address.

    We did the easy part, now it’s time for the Yankees to take care of everything else. We’re waiting…

    • The Manchine says:

      Pitt is my 2nd fav team. He may be put on the field at the 3B position, but he can’t actually play it. And he needs MAJOR work at the plate too.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        Thank you.

        • Craig Maduro says:

          I’d rather the Yankees take on a project who still has immense potential down the line and can at least be a butcher at 3B (as opposed to a boulder anywhere else on the field) than a Damon or Matsui.

          Alvarez is not the only guy that I’ve taken a liking too, but despite the flaws that he has, I still like him over some of the terrible options that have been tossed around.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            At what cost? Damon will only cost $. Sure, I’d rather have a better player. Only up to a point, though. If you’re giving up serious value for a guy you already know can’t play 3B… what’s the point? Not sure I’d say Alvarez has “immense” potential anymore. He’s a 1B with a solid stick in the best case, and a travesty in the 2011 case. Why is Pittsburgh going to sell low on him anyway? They’ve got nothing but time and patience to develop players.

            “Butchering” a position is a negative to the team. I’d rather have a guy DH than play bad defense.

            Damon is not a terrible option. Take a look at his home/road splits. The Trop is one of the worst hitting parks in the league.
            Yankees also watched a non-terrible option sign with the Orioles for next to nothing. Perhaps the history turned-off one or both sides… but Betemit is basically Pedro Alvarez with a worse glove and better stick.

            • Craig Maduro says:

              Well I said a butcher vs. a boulder. Neither is good, but at least Alvarez could spend some time at 3B when A-Rod gets a breather.

              Maybe “immense” was too strong, but how old is he, 25(I’d check myself, but I’m in a hurry)? I’m not ready to write the chance he becomes a stud just yet.

              Sure the cost comes into play and I’m not advocating going nuts to get him. I just like him over Damon – even if Damon only costs money. The Yankees have passed up several options that have only costed money. Why stop now IF they see value in Alvarez?

              • Ted Nelson says:

                I like Alvarez to an extent, too. I just really doubt the Yankees are going to get Pittsburgh to give him up at a reasonable price.

                B-R has him only costing $700,000 the next three years, and he’s one of Pittsburgh’s few chances at a good player. If you were the Pirates, would you move him after an epic fail of a season (.256 wOBA…)? Or would you hold onto him to see if he can help your team or at least improve his trade value?

                Pittsburgh is allegedly going to start him in the minors to see if he can get back on track, so he might not be a good short-term answer at DH.

                • Craig Maduro says:

                  Probably not. Everyone knows not to sell low, but that doesn’t mean everyone follows that rule of them.

                  Basically, though, I would rather see a project who still has mid/long-term potential to stay and contribute to our lineup than someone old and over the hill. Doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be Alvarez, but I would prefer someone along those lines assuming the cost is reasonable.

                  • Ted Nelson says:

                    Might be best to do both… depending on roster spots (what positions they can play) and options. Get the surer thing and either put the project behind him or in AAA. Hedge your bets and see how things shake out. I don’t think it’s crazy to think Damon can wOBA ~.350 for the Yankees.

    • Reggie C. says:

      Hitting righties well was about the only thing that went well for Alvarez last season. It would seem premature for the Pirates to deal Alvarez even if the return was Hughes, but its not implausible.

      • Craig Maduro says:

        Yea, that’s still what I think. I kind of dismissed my idea because of it, but then I realized I wasn’t the only one who thought about it.

        The kid has short comings, but a ton of talent though. I’d love to see the Yankees give him a chance. Hell, with some of the names being tossed around they’d be throwing slop out there anyway. Why not throw some slop that could at least develop some shine?

        • Ted Nelson says:

          “Why not throw some slop that could at least develop some shine?”

          Because of the likely prospect cost. It’s not Damon (for example) vs. Alvarez. It’s Damon + the prospects it would take to get Alvarez vs. Alvarez. Maybe Pittsburgh is looking to give Alvarez away, but I sort of doubt it. Even in this state he’s one of their few hopes for a good ballplayer.

          • Craig Maduro says:

            There is obviously plenty that I don’t know about the specific feelings that the teams have regarding Alvarez. There is certainly a point where I would have to say “no, its not worth it.” Generally speaking though, I would be more excited about trading some prospects for a guy like Alvarez than signing someone like Damon.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              What prospects, though?

              If you were looking for a house, would you just take whatever house looked the best? Or would you check the price tag?

              • Craig Maduro says:

                Not to side-step the question, but that is for Cashman to figure out. I don’t want to just type up a bunch of hypothetical proposals, but I’ll mention a few things.

                In some ways Phil Hughes could be a good starting point. He’s more expensive and has less team control left so the Yanks would have to add something, but it’s a good start I would say. You’ll almost certainly walk away from any proposal including ManBan or Sanchez and most likely walk away from anything involving Betances and Williams.

                I like Alvarez because of his potential and the glowing scouting reports that he came up with. My desire for the Yankees to go after him is still under the assumption that they believe they can get significant production out of him though.

                • Ted Nelson says:

                  Yeah, you’re right that we don’t actually know what other teams are willing to discuss so there’s not a lot of value in throwing around names. At the same time there’s not a lot of value in throwing around half the equation.

                  I’m skeptical about Alvarez being available at a fair price, but I am also interested to see who Cashman is looking at and at what price. At the same time the talk about looking to trade might be nothing more than a screen to get Damon or someone to drop their asking price.

  7. CJ says:

    Duda, Murphy, Headley, Parra, Prado, Morrison, Dom brown, trumbo, butler? Others? If the yanks are willing to trade some combination of Hughes betances romine phelps/Warren

  8. Monterowasdinero says:


  9. CJ says:

    Seth smith seemed to be the ideal fit and was traded for spare parts the day after montero. Have to think cash considered him and doubt cost was the reason he didn’t get him.

  10. Ariel says:

    Yankees should trade for a DH that could play 3rd Base

    • CJ says:

      Headley is the only option I can come up with. He won’t come cheap either. Hughes, Laird?

      • thenamestsam says:

        Proposing a deal of Hughes and Laird immediately after saying the guy won’t come cheap seems like a contradiction. I would consider Hughes and Laird to be extremely cheap. Both Hughes and Headley are in their last time through arbitration, so you’re basically swapping those. Even if Hughes bounces all the way back, the Padres would basically break even on that part of the swap. I think you need to sweeten it a lot more than Laird to account for Headley’s superiority. Hughes and Betances or Hughes and Romine might get them interested.

        • CJ says:

          The best headley has been able to produce in San Diego is .265 12 hr. The hope is his road split production. But Hughes is fair value. Hughes in petco may be a better bet than headley at YS.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            Have to seriously disagree with you. You’re pretty much ignoring Petco. The Padres can hide any pitcher in that park. That park is also going to hurt any hitter’s line. This isn’t some intangible guess.

            You need to do a park neutral analysis of their values. If Hughes was pre-arb… sure. He’s almost a free agent, though, and the Padres would be trading a better producer for him and a C-prospect. I am willing to bet money Kevin Towers would hang up on Cashman.

          • thenamestsam says:

            We can do a lot better than batting average and HR to assess his value. He had a 125 wRC+ last year, the same as ARod and Youkilis, only he only makes $3M. While Hughes might do well in Petco, they’re not going to take a crappy pitcher just because park effects will make him look good. They’re going to want a good pitcher who park effects will make look great.

            Hughes is a FA next offseason and is coming off a completely lost year. He has one good season as a starter to his credit, and even that one is good but not great. I still believe in the kid, but his value is much less that people on here seem to think.

            Basically you’d be giving up your presumed 6th or 7th starter and a future bench player and getting back one of the 15 best 3rd baseman in the majors, and a perfect fit for what the team needs. Way too good to be true.

      • Reggie C. says:

        I think Axisa addressed the possible cost of Headley yesterday and said it was more likely: Hughes, Nunez.

        Nunez is one of the few average middle infielder role players in the entire league. Given Nunez can play both 3B and SS, i doubt Cashman moves Nunez. I’d do the trade, but could we go out and get Martin Prado afterwards?

    • Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

      Greatly overstated need. If they wanted to do that, then they should just bring Chavez back. While some folks gasp over Nunez at 3B, if he’s your third option at the position, that’s not a bad thing.

  11. Mark L says:

    Toronto has a bit of a logjam that makes Travis Snider expendable. Unfortunately, at this stage in his career, I don’t see him being much better than Dickerson – or Toronto trading within the division.

  12. Yank The Frank says:

    What happened to Eric Chavez?

  13. The Manchine says:

    Personally I’d rather Cash not deal from the newfound pitching depth. Just sign a DH and keep the arms. Kosuke Fukudome?


    Phil in AAA taking Noesi’s place as the #6

    • The Manchine says:

      Or Kotchman now that they have Pena/Scott…..

      • Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

        I don’t think either name you mentioned is the answer, but I agree with the general sentiment unless you’re truly adding a piece that would be good enough to slide into RF next year if the Swisher talks get out of hand.

        Duda would cost too much because of his relative value to the Mets. The rest? Meh. Give me Damon as the piece of bread that soaks up the rest of the DH slop ™ at-bats.

        • Ted Nelson says:


          And Duda also hasn’t shown any ability to play OF. Guy is a DH as far as I’m concerned.

          • CJ says:

            If Duda is that poor defensively (I haven’t seen him enough) that he is more of a dh type then that would lower his trade value and cost to yanks. also if mets dont think he will ever hit lefties, he’s a Platoon DH which would not be very expensive

            • Ted Nelson says:

              Or the Mets just won’t trade him. He’s pre-arb and probably going to hit in the heart of their line-up. Why would you give that away unless you’re getting something you like? He’s not that great, but he’s still one of the better guys the Mets have.

      • CJ says:

        Fukudome and kotchman may be better options than Damon and Matsui, younger can play the field.

        • Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

          I still don’t see the “additional DH dude” role as being a big one. It’s basically the piece of bread picking up the leftovers on the plate if the team intends it to be the person playing when no one needs a half-day off and the split doesn’t favor Andruw.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            The split doesn’t favor Andruw the majority of the time… The LH half of a platoon is the bigger half.

            I am all for a stop-gap rather than overpaying for a slightly better option. However, if a good value comes up on a guy who can play RF or 3B… I’d prefer that to a stop-gap.

    • CJ says:

      Dump Freddy. Hughes to pen not AAA.

  14. Eddie says:

    Pedro Alvarez intrigues me as a young, cost controlled player. I wonder what pieces it will take to get him. I think some time
    With KL and he can get back on track.

  15. Nolan says:

    It would make sense to sign Damon/matsui and wait to see if Hughes or Joba can rebuild some value. Just get rid of AJ for salary relief and use the money to sign Damon. If both Hughes and Joba bounce back then we have something to work a trade with for next year when swisher leaves and we need a great cost controlled outfielder (assuming we sign Hammels) Or Hughes is lights out, we don’t need hammels and we can sign an outfielder

    • craig says:

      I think they are going to bring Joba back as a starter…yeah, I said it!

      The concern was that he would injure himself as a starter…well, he already did that. Let’s start from scratch and see if he can come back and become a mid-rotation starter.

      It’s sort of like in “A World According To Garp”, where the airplane crashes into the house and he says, “We’ll take it. What are the odds of that happening again.”

      Okay…I know pitchers get hurt multiple times with disturbing frequency, but a man can dream…

  16. JoeyA says:

    What’s Nick Johnson doing for 2012? :)

    • Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

      He heard his name get mentioned and hurt himself in excitement.

      Isn’t he on a MiLB deal with Cleveland or something?

  17. Dave M says:

    “Garrett Jones, Pirates. Prior to embarking on research for this post I’d never even heard of Jones, ”

    Never heard of Jones? He used to play for the Yanks in the minors. I’ve actually seen him play when we was in AA. It was a while back, so I don’t really remember much of it.

  18. PBFog says:

    What happened to the concept of not trading the yanks young players. Once jesus was traded it seems like most folks can’t wait to send off other prospects.

    • CJ says:

      The idea is to bring in a young cost controlled hitter

      • jsbrendog says:

        exactly, there are two sides, what you give up and what you get. if you have 5 prospects who might be good-great one day under contorl for 6 yrs whenever you bring em up you trasde one for something you have 0-1 of in the same position. 6 yrs of montero for 5 yrs of pineda basically and 6 yrs of campos for 5 yrs of noesi (simplified due to age etc lay off man im starving!!)

        so if you trade a young prospect for another young prospect well there is huge risk cause majority of em fizzle out anyway but it is mitigated because you have 3 other in that area of need to strengthen an area of weakness. its not trading young player prospects for old guys

  19. MrPappageorgio says:

    The Yankees could sign Nick Johnson to their 60 day DL

  20. bpdelia says:

    I said this last night and its starting to make more and more sense. Nova is the one who should be traded. Coming up his codling was the same as Phelps, Warren, Mitchell. He has the most value and is probably over valued. The Yankees have in house replacements and he may fetch a decent return.

    Yes my trade proposal sucks but….

    Nova and heathcott for dom brown. Nova slides right into the 5 th spot in Phillis is young successful durable and cheap. Heathcott is a lottery ticket who if all breaks right (unlikely but not impossible) replaces victorino in 3 years.

    Brown allows you to let swisher walk freeing up 13 million or so for granderson and cano extensions.

    Both teams get younger in spots they need to, the Yankees in the field phillies on the mound.

    Id even do Nova, Mitchell and heathcott for brown and a low level live arm.

    Or they could do Nova romine. Even though that’s slot it still makes sense. Romine is not the long term future at catcher in Ny and with cc, pineda. Banuelos, Hughes, Phelps, Warren, Mitchell, Marshall, bettances the Yankees can still put together a very nice rotation.

    And if you let swish go you maybe free up money for Cain, marcum, hamels, Sanchez etc.

    Makes slot of sense considering the emergence of mayberry.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      I really doubt the Phillies would do it. They’ve shielded Brown from deals for Lee, Halladay, and Pence, but now they’re going to trade him for Nova?

      I think the Yankees would do it because Brown is a very strong prospect, but for less of a return I don’t think trading Nova is nearly as attractive as you do. What is “codling?”

      • bpdelia says:

        Heh codling is ceiling when my autocorrect decides. I think the phillies have clearly started to sour on brown. They played zombie ibanez over him and in their eyes mayberry has passed him. His stock has clearly dropped. Its not unlike the Travis snider situation. The talk is no longer about his cant miss tools. Now the talk is about hus swing being too long and his inability to adjust. The talk is that the long swing may produce unsustainable k rates at the ml level. And he isn’t 20 anymore. He is the age where wlelite players should be edtablising themselves.

        I don’t doubt that Phillis still wants to keep him but its pretty obvious that he has gone from untouchable sure fire star to potential buy low canditate

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Keeping guys in AAA for more development to get more of their peak years cost controlled seems to be the general trend. Rays have been doing it for a while.

          I know the talk has changed about Brown outside the Phillies organization, I just don’t know what the Phillies think. Why do you say Mayberry has passed him after one good season?

      • bpdelia says:

        I mean just to expand he did triple slash 261/391/370 at Aaa last year and obviously has failed badly in the majors thus far. The isolated patience is still excellent but for the last 18 months dom browns power. Average and k rate have all gone in the wrong direction. He is 24 now, not 20 so you could argue that the phillies, with mayberry’s emergence should move him now before he busts. Which is basically a similar argument that you would make on nova and romine.
        Not saying you are wrong just that its not outrageous to think its possible

        • Ted Nelson says:

          It was one year. Guys have bad years. In 2010 he wOBA’d over .400 in AA and AAA. We’re not going to really know if he can adjust until next season.

          I don’t think it’s outrageous… I have no idea what the Phillies think. I just doubt they’ll do it personally. Maybe if they’re set on losing Cole or trading Lee/Halladay to keep Cole.

          I would say that those guys are any more likely to bust than cement or improve their value. Cs in MLB are pretty bad offensively. Romine has a fairly low bar if he can be average defensively. Nova looked good for a pretty sustained period. If Brown’s value has fallen, now might be the worst time to trade him.

  21. CJ says:

    No way I do nova for Dom brown. Betances tops.

  22. CJ says:

    I would call on Gerard parra. Arizona is not going to dump him but he probably could be had. I may overpay for him. DH Swish.

    • Fernando says:

      Agree, I like Parra. He’s a excellent outfielder, can hit for average, has decent speed, has a rifle arm and he’s young (24). The D’backs just made him their #4 OF with the signing of Kubel. An OF of Gardner, Granderson and Parra would be pretty solid.

  23. J.R. says:

    I think that Giambi would be a great mid season pick up.

    Last year he tagged righties to .273/.354/.636
    And career .288/.413/.547

    If the Rockies fall out of contention I could see this making sense for both sides.

    • jsbrendog says:

      this actually isnt a crazy idea. rox fall out of contention send em someone like the hinske deal, low level slop prospect.

  24. CJ says:

    Mlbtraderumors paraphrased can be had if other team backs up the truck and overpays in an organization changing deal. wonder what that would look like for yanks. Banuelos, campos mason Williams?

  25. rossdfarian says:

    Not that I want him but, Bobby Abreu is available and lefty.

  26. Steve (different one) says:

    I don’t understand this notion that the DH has to be able to play a position. Why? There is a roster spot available for a DH.

  27. Steviedatsun says:

    I would love to get that brennen boesch from the tigers

  28. dcone36 says:

    I almost stopped reading the article when the writer never had heard of Garrett Jones before…..but I kept reading. I think that if Burnett is traded, we’re getting very little back for him except for another bad contract. A guy not mentioned that I think is a strong possibility is TRavis Hafner from teh Indians–fits the bill and the Indians might need an extra starter whose name they can be sure of

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