Early thoughts on the trade deadline


Best deadline pickup ever. (

It’s the middle of May and the season is barely six weeks old, but it’s never too early to start looking ahead to the trade deadline. The Yankees didn’t make a single trade at least year’s deadline despite the assumption that they’d acquire a starting pitcher, but that was the exception and not the rule. They’re always good for a deal or two come late-July and this year figures to be no different.

I don’t think the Yankees have one obvious part of the team in desperate need of an upgrade, but there’s always room for improvement. The recent rash of injuries has potentially  created some openings as well. The new playoff system may or may not ramp up activity at the trade deadline; we’re going to have to wait to see just how many teams are legitimately in the race before we know who may be looking to sell and and who’s looking to buy. The smart money is on the Yankees looking to buy, as always.

Let’s run down the parts of the roster that look primed for a potential upgrade via trade, at least at this very moment…

Starting Rotation
The Yankees do still have some rotation depth despite Michael Pineda‘s injury and Freddy Garcia‘s awfulness, but the starting staff remains questionable. Phil Hughes has a long way to go before proving reliable and Andy Pettitte is going to be an unknown for at least the next few times out given his age and year-long hiatus. Ivan Nova‘s extra-base hit-prone ways could factor into the decision to add a starter at the deadline as well.

It’s been eight years since the Yankees last traded for a starting pitcher with multiple guaranteed years left on his contract — Kevin Brown was the last — and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon. A rental pitcher is likely to be the target if they do look to add a starter, though I suppose a younger guy with several years of team control left is possible as well. I just find that unlikely at this point. Free agents to be like Cole Hamels, Zack Greinke, Jake Peavy, and Ryan Dempster could all be available and would make sense for any team in need of an arm.

A trade for outfield help is dependent entirely on Brett Gardner‘s elbow injury. He recently suffered a setback and could be out anywhere from two-to-four weeks, which will bring us into mid-June. If Gardner gets healthy and comes back like his old self, the Yankees are fine don’t need any outfield help. If this elbow problem lingers, then an outfield upgrade could suddenly become priority number one come July.

Unlike the other positions in this post, outfield figures to be the one area where the Yankees could look to make a long-term addition and not just a rental for the second half. We know all about the 2014 payroll plan and impending free agencies of Nick Swisher (after 2012) and Curtis Granderson (after 2013), which create a need for a cheap, young outfielder. Gardner’s injury could push them into action sooner than expected, but ultimately I think the search for a long-term outfield piece would wait until the offseason.


Mariano Rivera‘s injury is the big loss here and it’s created an opening for another late-game reliever. Until we hear otherwise, I think it’s reasonable to expect David Robertson back from his oblique strain relatively soon, but it’s hard (if not foolish) to count on Joba Chamberlain and/or David Aardsma to contribute something in the second half. Those were serious injuries that usually require more than just the 12 months worth of rehab for a pitcher to get back to being himself.

Trading for relievers is as sketchy as it gets because sometimes these guys just suck for no apparent reason and without warning. If the Yankees do make a deal for a reliever at the deadline, I think it would be something along the lines of the 2010 Kerry Wood trade. A salary dump move with mostly insignificant prospects involved.

Eduardo Nunez‘s defensive problems have landed him back in Triple-A and I don’t think anyone really expects Jayson Nix to be a weapon off the bench. He’s more of a stopgap option. A utility infielder could be high on the trade deadline priority list if Nunez doesn’t show improvement in Triple-A and there figures to be no shortage of candidates. This is just my speculation, but the Rockies are fading fast and Marco Scutaro would make a ton of sense for New York. Again, there’s no evidence that the Yankees are interested in him or that he’s even available, but he would fit perfectly as a utility infielder capable of playing regularly while Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez rest.

Barring injury, Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez provide enough outfield depth. Doesn’t seem like the Yankees will look to add a fourth or fifth outfielder, but again this is contingent on Gardner’s elbow.

* * *

We’ll look at potential trade targets in the coming weeks and I plan to break down the Yankees’ top trade chips at some point, which believe it or not is actually easier said than done. Things are different when Jesus Montero is no longer around and most of the club’s high-upside prospects are in the low minors. Anyway, at this point of the season it appears as though the Yankees’ trade deadline activity will be heavily influenced by the players currently on the DL and how well/quickly they return.

Categories : Trade Deadline


  1. Chad Gaudin the Friendly Ghost says:

    We might be able to pry Chad Gaudin away from Miami.

  2. Jimmy McNulty says:

    So what type of package are we talking for Cole Hamels? Mason Williams and Dellin Betances?

    • Knoxvillain says:

      I wouldn’t want that loser on the Yankees. He’s just a punk who gives up in the playoffs. But if they were to get him, it would cost much more than that.

      You’re talking Sanchez, Williams, Banuelos, and Marshall to start. Then throw in two more fairly good prospects.

      • Mike Axisa says:

        3.09 ERA in 81.2 playoff innings and he’s won both the NLCS and World Series MVP. Took me literally 15 seconds to look that up.

        • Matt says:

          Hahaha, well done

        • Knoxvillain says:

          Four years ago. Last time he was in the World Series he bitched about having to play and then had his ass handed to him.

        • Jimmy McNulty says:

          By contrast the current “Post season stud” on the roster has a 4.81 ERA in 86 playoff innings with a 1.616 WHIP and a 1.72 K/BB.

          • Mike Axisa says:

            Irrelevant to Cole Hamels, but whatevs. Sabathia has a 3.54 playoff ERA with the Yankees and they’ve won eight of his ten starts, by the way.

            • Jimmy McNulty says:

              I was agreeing with you, if you think Cole Hamels sucks in the playoffs you should have literally shat a brick when they re-signed CC. But we all love the big guy and are glad he’s here. I’m not much for this playoffs stuff anyways, good players are good players. If this team had nine players that hit like Nick Swisher I’d be happier than a pig in shit.

              • Mike Axisa says:

                My bad then, I misunderstood.

                • Jimmy McNulty says:

                  I realize I’m a loud and violent dick and my posts come with a certain connotation, but c’est la vie.

                  Though I will add if a guy has a health condition that prevents him from playing a full season he might suck in the playoffs too, but that’s an entirely different scenario all together.

                  Life as a minor leaguer fucking sucks and if you can make it through that and see the other side of a major league career you have the mental make up hit in the postseason. The A-Rod shit annoyed me to no end, yes he’s a bizarre asshole with a huge self-awareness problem, but he’s not mentally weak nor does he not care. He’s dealt with pressure and expectations his whole life, to make it this far he’s been through a ton.

      • Thomas says:

        You are way too high.

        The Mariners traded Cliff Lee who is better than Hamels for Smoak (top 20), Beaven (B prospect), Lawson, and Lueke (two no names). They wanted Yankees to give up Montero (top 10), Nunez (B levelish), and something else. You’d probably be talking Banuelos (top 30), Santana/Bichette (B+ levels), and 1-2 throw in.

      • DERP says:

        The Nats are on like their fourth catcher. What could we get from them for Cervelli?

      • thenamestsam says:

        You’re not trading 6 prospects for a midseason rental. Are you joking?

  3. DM says:

    Wandy might be an interesting option if Houston ate some of the $.

  4. Rich in NJ says:

    The Yankees’ catchers have a 72 and a 38 OPS+, respectively. I don’t understand why that’s not a place to look to upgrade.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Who’s realistically available?

      • Jimmy McNulty says:

        AJ Pierzinski? Maybe Kurt Suzuki?

        • Mike Axisa says:

          Pierzynski is an asshole and Suzuki hasn’t outhit Martin in about four years.

          • Jimmy McNulty says:

            Oh you meant actual upgrades? Maybe Martin would be better with more rest? Maybe if he only caught 90 games he’d have like a .335ish wOBA. Suzuki might be a nice back up option…tangibly better than Cervo? I dunno.

            Is AJ’s personality really that big of a deal? They had an AJ that was a nice guy and that didn’t workout so well maybe if they had one that’s a dick it’d be better ;)

            • Tom Logie says:

              Pierzynski might make some sense if Cervelli cannot regain his old form from the concussions. He’s smart, competitive and thinks quickly. He’s alert. He’s a winner. A lefty bat does not hurt. He is not the warm, fuzzy type, but he might be able to help if the price is reasonable.

          • Chad Gaudin the Friendly Ghost says:

            “Pierzynski is an asshole”

            I literally lol’d. Maybe we can get him and pull Kevin Brown out of retirement to see if their combined presence opens a portal to Asshole Hell.

            • Jimmy McNulty says:

              Those two combined with Martellus Bennett and Amare would be the ultimate asshole hell, only Tim Tebow starting at QB would balance out the NY Sports character.

      • Jimmy McNulty says:

        Maybe Ryan Doumit?

      • Rich in NJ says:

        What if the DBacks come to believe that the other Montero won’t re-sign?

        • GardnergoesYardner says:

          I’m guessing they’d ask for the farm, considering the availible catchers on the market these days.

      • CP says:

        Do you think the Mariners would agree to a Montero for Pineda trade?

    • Kevin Winters says:

      Because offense is secondary for a Yankee catcher.

      • Rich in NJ says:

        That’s at odds with what has characterized the position for much of the team’s history.

        And secondary shouldn’t mean non-existent.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Martin had a slow start… they’re not looking at the first 1.5 months of the season, they’re looking going forward. One good month and his season stats will be fine. He’s already pulled his wOBA up 20 points in the last week or so.

          • Jimmy McNulty says:

            Yeah I noticed his batting average is unsustainably low. .173? If people insist on an upgrade, though.

        • Kevin Winters says:

          That’s at odds with what has characterized the position for much of the team’s history.


          It is but that’s that they want from the catching position all defense no stick. Offense is a bonus at this point smh

          • Ted Nelson says:

            Based on? Trading one guy?

            Martin is not a “no stick” C. This is a guy who had two seasons above .350 wOBA not all that long ago, and was available for $4 million. It was just a no-brain move. He put up a .325 wOBA last season. That’s an above average C.

            • Kevin Winters says:

              Based on? Trading one guy?


              Based on Girardi himself saying it doesn’t matter if a guy hits 24 Hrs and 100 rbi’s their main job is defense and offense is second.

              • Ted Nelson says:

                I don’t think that means Cashman will let him put an offensive zero out there full-time if he can help it. Their actual actions since Girardi re-arrived have been to have an AWFUL defensive C, then replace him with an all-around guy.

  5. Rooting For U.S. Steel says:

    “Andy Pettitte is going to be an unknown for at least the next few times out given his age and year-long hiatus.”

    *laughing* Mike: You’re a bad, bad, counter-narrative man. Even if what you say is based in solid reason and reality.

  6. Jimmy McNulty says:

    Jason Heyward? He’s kinda slumping, granted he’s still young but the Braves have traded away promising, yet underperforming, talent before.

    • Greg says:

      It would take a ton to do that deal.

      • Jimmy McNulty says:

        They traded Yunel for Mike Gonzalez.

        • jsbrendog says:

          i thought they traded him to tor for alex gonzalez….

        • Ted Nelson says:

          It was Alex Golzalez (and Tyler Pastornicky), and it was a different situation. It was a questionable move, no doubt, but… Yunel suddenly at 27 was having a terrible season right as he was going to enter arbitration. (Anyone should have guessed he’d bounce out of it… but for whatever reason Atlanta got rid of him. At least they got Pastornicky out of it.) Heyward is 22 and not slumping right now. He’s bouncing back fairly nicely after a bad sophomore slump.

  7. CP says:

    Another possible rotation option: Roy Oswalt.

  8. GardnergoesYardner says:

    If the Yankees were to pursue a Hamels trade, would they make an extension part of the deal, kind of like the Halladay or Johan trades? If he would come for half a year, it would be kind of a waste to give up top tier talent and then watch him leave(probably to go back to Philly).

    • Johnny O says:

      Seems like he’s pretty determined to hit FA. Which he should be after watching what Cain got from the Giants with no FA. Boras won’t let him go for a discount, not with all that Dodger $ out there.

      • GardnergoesYardner says:

        I agree, but if the Yankees just overwhelmed him with an offer, wouldn’t he want to play for a high salary for a sure contender than take a deal with, say Miami or some borderline team and miss the playoffs?

    • Voice of Reason says:

      You no longer get comp picks for rentals under the new CBA, so it would take less to acquire him than you’d think, but the ability to sign him becomes a lot more important. I seriously doubt the Yankees would want to trade for Hamels, but if they did, there’s no chance they’d pull the trigger unless they’re assured of signing him.

  9. Alkaline says:

    Hmm. It is going to be interesting to see what our trade chips could be. Montero was a nice trump card to have in that aspect.

  10. Robinson Tilapia says:

    I don’t see the point of prospects for a short-term rental, especially as it pertains to pitching. This team will need to fill more than one slot in 2013. It’s not worth it to draw from the lone position prospects in Single-A to give the team a slightly better chance than they have already to contend in 2012.

    What will happen? The usual. Clear those that don’t have a future role with this team out for role players who can fill in the gaps and give the team more depth.

    Don’t mortgage the future for a slightly better shot at 2012.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Not all prospects are equal. There’s definitely a price that’s worth paying for a short-term upgrade. Especially since we don’t know the financial value of marginally improving the team vs. a typical prospect of X quality. I’d imagine the Yankees have tried to quantify that.

      I don’t know how much appeal they have in trades, but the Yankees also do have decent prospects higher than A-ball who might be enough for a half-season rental of a good player.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        True, although I’m speaking more about swinging for the fences for a starter when you have three slots to fill next year. I realize you can’t keep everyone, things don’t work out, etc., but risk has to meet potential reward.

        Yes, I’ll drive Melky Mesa and Zoilo Almonte myself somewhere.

        This is a reply to Axisa’s reply as well.

        Will be offline until this evening and not able to reply further.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Yeah, I definitely think they have to be discerning and consider value. The top guys might not be worth it depending on demand.

          I would also guess that part of it depends on their mind-set regarding $189 mill… I certainly assume they’ll spend on offense to keep or replace Cano, Granderson, Swisher, and Martin. They might have different ideas, though. If they’re ready to re-sign/extend a top P, would be a different calculation. Or if $189 million is a total lark to establish leverage with agents… (I don’t think it is, but it’s possible.)

      • Alkaline says:

        Especially if we’re just looking for bench and fillers. Maybe I’m looking at this wrong, but I don’t see us giving up some of the high quality bats at A currently for a better than Nix backup if it comes to that.

    • Jimmy McNulty says:

      REMEMBER THE ZACH MACCALISTER TRADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Depends on the rental, but if they were to trade like a Colin Curtis or something for a reliever that’s around a high 3s ERA I wouldn’t be opposed.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        Colin Curtis?

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        I just looked up his stats. Congrats on one good start two years later. What am I supposed to remember?

        • Ted Nelson says:

          That they got a half season rental of Austin Kearns for him. That you don’t have to give up the farm to get a half season rental. Kearns wasn’t Peavy or Cole or Greinke… but there will probably be decent values out there along with over-pays.

        • Jimmy McNulty says:

          Next time I’m sarcastic I’ll be sure to use all caps and lots of exclamation points to make it easy on you.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Not all of these guys are going to work out, they can’t just keep everyone. If there’s an potential upgrade sitting out there that will increase the team’s chances of winning the World Series in 2012, they should pull the trigger and not worry about a prospect who won’t have an impact until 2015 or something.

  11. viridiana says:

    Well said, Robinson.
    Every prospect we now have — and at all levels — became more valuable with new CBA. Yanks will have hard time getting top young talent — unless, of course, they are really bad and “earn” high draft picks. Current roster of prospects could sustain team for a decade. But it’s going to take alot of patience to wait for guys now in low-A.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Can’t wait until this narrative dies. It’s a marginal change. They never drafted at the top of the draft, they signed bonus babies occasionally. It will probably end up hurting them, but more on the margins. Montero’s and Sanchez’ and DeLeon’s will become rare. They might draft Williams and Betances in the first and second round, instead of letting them fall and drafting other guys ahead of them. They’re not going to suddenly be cut off from acquiring talent, though. They have $4 million for the draft and $3 mill for IFAs this season. If they don’t get talent, that’s their fault.

      • Jimmy McNulty says:

        See…this is what I fucking hate. Yes the new CBA hurts them in acquiring new talent, even Mike Newman said this. You’re being an idiot for acting like it’s no big deal a “marginal change” and this other guy is acting like they’ll be stuck drafting a scrub that couldn’t hit .300 in JuCo in the first round. There’s middle ground here. It will make things a lot harder for them, how much harder remains to be seen but things definitely got a lot harder for Oppenheimer and Co.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          You might want to re-read my comment. I did say it will hurt them, I said that it will be much more marginal than viridiana suggests. And, yes, I believe that marginal is the word. How many prospects are they producing annually right now? How many will they in the future?

          This season their budget will barely change. Going forward it will change in IFA, but not particularly in the draft compared to what they usually spend. And in IFA prices will come down across the board. They have to. It should be a marginal change. If it’s worse than that… it’s the Yankees own fault for not acquiring and developing talent.

          • Jimmy McNulty says:

            I’m too lazy to find them, but there were several pieces, including interviews with Mark (Mike or Mark? one of those M names with a K) Newman, where he hated this new provision in the CBA. There were also other pieces where guys were concerned the quality of overall athletes entering the game will go down. The IFA prices go down, the camps in these countries close, and there’s less talent coming from the DR.

  12. Barbara Booey says:

    Stupid article. Absolutely useless to speculate what needs will be at the deadline and what asking prices will be. The article states that deadline activity will depend on guys who are currently on the DL and how quickly / effectively they return. Well…duh.

    It will also depend on who is on the DL at the time of the deadline. Something totally unpredictable at this point. Does nonsense like this pass for “journalism” or simply blog fodder?

  13. Greg says:

    Maybe we’re just not very good. And maybe it’s going to be too hard to do a real upgrade. And maybe we’ll just have to muddle through and wait for the kids (Banuelos, Mitchell, Marshall and the hitters at Charleston)

  14. DJ4K&Monterowasdinero says:

    Come on-we’re talking Proctor, Gaudin, Mitre and not Golson?

  15. Greg says:

    For catcher, what about Ryan Doumit from the Twins? Switch hitter, has versatility.

  16. UncleArgyle says:

    I think the Yankees should be looking to add two players. The first should be a young Right Handed hitter with opposite field power still on a rookie contract. Ideally he should be able to play first base, DH, and Catch maybe once a week. I wonder if Seattle would be intrested in moving that Jesus Montero guy….
    Second, they need help in the bullpen. If only there was an under 30 pitcher, who could do anything from spot start to close. He’d need to be AL East Proven though. Maybe Ben Cherrington will non tender Alfredo Aceves for no reason what-so-ever and we can grab him….

    • Mike Axisa says:

      There’s no need for a player who can play 1B and DH and Aceves has an ERA near 6.00. They only reason he’d be useful to the Yankees right now is because they have two better relievers who got hurt.

      • Kosmo says:

        I don´t think Aceves would solve anything that NY couldn´t solve in house but if you subtract 2 relief appearances where Aceves didn´t record an out, he´s been lights out the rest of the time 2 ER in 16 innings.

  17. LiterallyFigurative says:

    The major question with this team is (using a car maintenance analogy)

    Do we just have to rotate the tires and change the oil?

    Or do we have to do a wheel alignment and adjust the suspension?

    And not just for the trade deadline, but going forward the next year and a half.

    Tex and A-Rod are the variables to whether we have to do minor tweaks (Catcher), or if we are going to have to do wholesale repairs to this team.

    If they are hitting like 3-4-5 hitters, then you can live with Martin being a defensive player. Also, you can see Swisher and Granderson as compliments to the main bats.

    But if they continue to regress at the rapid rate they are (Tex especially), you are going need NEW nucleus hitters to replace the lost 3-4-5 caliber production. Swisher and Granderson are fine as 2 or 6 or 7 place hitters. Do you want Swisher hitting cleanup? Granderson, for all his power, still has a sub-optimal BA and pull approach that concerns me. I don’t see him as a 3-4-5 kind of hitter.

    This was my only fear of trading Montero. I endorsed the trade, but worried how the Yanks would suppliment the loss of middle-order hitting as Tex and Alex regress, especially with the next wave of impact offensive players years away.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      A-Rod is hitting fine. Right in line with what he did the last two seasons.
      Tex is disappointing vs. initial expectations, but I think he’ll bounce back to 2010-11 production for the season.

      And I don’t care at all if Granderson hits 2 or 3. He’s been their 2nd best offensive player since arriving… so I would not call him complimentary at all.

      Nor do I care if Swisher hits cleanup. He’s been their 3rd best offensive player since the start of 2010.;sort=15,d

      • Ted Nelson says:

        Ultimately the order of the line-up is only so important. That A-Rod and Tex hit in the middle of the line-up the past few seasons didn’t mean that they were the two best hitters.

      • TomH says:

        I would restate this–from “A-Rod is hitting fine. Right in line with what he did the last two seasons–to: “ARod is hitting in line with what he did the last two seasons.”

        • Ted Nelson says:

          A .360-65 wOBA is fine to me. It’s not what he used to do or a good value for the $, but it’s still a very productive 3B.

      • forensic says:

        How is A-Rod hitting in line with the last 2 seasons? He’s 30 OPS points lower than last year (50 in SLG) and 50 OPS points lower than 2010 (95 in SLG). He’s getting on base more, but with the same BA that means it’s walks and HBP, neither of which drive in runs or put him on second very often at all.

        While he’s not as bad as people have tried to make it out to be at this point, he’s not hitting up to the level of the last couple years.

  18. DJ4K&Monterowasdinero says:

    What exactly is Austin Romine’s back injury? He hasn’t played in almost 3 months and no surgery.

  19. Andrew Brotherton says:

    I’d love to see the Yankees go after Will Myers from the Royals. If there was anyone to target it would be him.

  20. Manny's BanWagon says:

    There’s not one specific need that if filled, is going to make this team great all of a sudden so I would hold onto my minor league chips and hope the rest of the team’s performance improves as the season goes on.

    Moving forward, they’re gonna need to fill some spots with inexpensive young players if they’re serious about $189 in 2014 and 2015.

    What I’d really like to see is them make a run at Hamels or Greinke in the offseason.

  21. Mainer says:

    Question: Doesn’t Curtis contract expire this season but the team holds an option for 2013?

    I ask because in your article it states that Curtis will be a free agent after 2013. In actuality he could become a free agent after 2012 if they buy him out (2mill) Were you just assuming the Yanks will pick up his 13 mill option?

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