The Trade Deadline and Organizational Depth


(Roger Peterson/MiLB.com)

The Yankees’ needs leading up to the trade deadline are pretty clear. The pitching staff needs reinforcements — both the rotation and bullpen — and the bench can use an upgrade, specifically behind the plate and on the infield. There is always room for improvement with the rest of the roster as well, but those two aspects of the team figure to get the most attention prior to July 31st.

Trading is a two-way street though, and you have to give something to get something. For the last two or three years the Yankees had a significant carrot to dangle in Jesus Montero, the type of upper-level impact prospect that gets your foot in the door for any trade negotiation. With Montero in Seattle, Manny Banuelos injured, and Dellin Betances demoted to Double-A, the Yankees are left without that high minors stud to offer. That leaves them at a disadvantage when it comes to pursuing impact players like Cole Hamels or Zack Greinke or whoever else you can come up with.

The cupboard is not bare, however. The Yankees do still have a number of prospects — include top shelf guys — to offer up in trades. I’ve already written about using impending Rule 5 Draft eligible players in deals, but now let’s look at where the the Yankees have the most organizational depth to use as ammunition at the deadline (in no particular order)…

(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Triple-A Pitching
Adam Warren‘s disastrous big league debut dimmed his prospect shine a touch but thankfully front offices won’t change their evaluation of a player based on one game (barring injury). He remains the same back-end pitching prospect as always, just now he has two or three days of MLB service time to his credit. D.J. Mitchell is in the same boat as well, though David Phelps has separated himself from those two just a bit because he’s experienced some big league success. Plus we heard back in Spring Training that he was generating buzz with improved velocity.

Those three definitely have trade value, primarily because they’re dirt cheap, offer six years of team control, and have multiple minor league options remaining. At similar points of their careers, guys like Zach Stewart, James McDonald, Clayton Mortenson, and Clayton Richard were included in trades in recent seasons for anything from a rental reliever to multiple years of a star caliber player. Teams value the cost control and flexibility.

Single-A Prospects
New York’s best prospects are all young kids down in the lower levels of the minors, years away from making it to the majors, let along having an impact. It’s tough to build a trade package around those guys, but they do have value. Outfielders Mason Williams and Tyler Austin highlight the group along with catcher Gary Sanchez, and to a lesser extent there is outfielder Slade Heathcott and infielder Angelo Gumbs. Williams, Austin, and Sanchez are the headliners though; they’re the ones we’ll see in all of the top prospect lists this coming winter.

In recent years we’ve seen some big names — Dan Haren, Hunter Pence, Roy Halladay, etc. — dealt for packages built around high-end prospects in the lower minors. The other pieces in those trades were lesser big league ready guys, so it can be done. It’s just a question of finding the right trading partner and a team willing to take the long-term rebuilding route. That’s much easier said than done.

(Mark LoMoglio/MLB.com)

Catching Depth
The Yankees have stocked up on offense-first catchers in recent years and with good reason — quality catching is hard to find. Heck, it’s so hard to find that a team called about Austin Romine‘s availability this spring even though he was on the DL with a somewhat serious back issue. They have J.R. Murphy in Double-A and Sanchez in High-A to go along with the recently drafted Peter O’Brien and recently signed Luis Torrens. Even Frankie Cervelli has trade value because he’s cheap and has a big league track record we can reference. As much attention as those three Triple-A starting pitchers and Single-A high-end prospects get, the catching depth may be the team’s best weapon at the trade deadline.

Infield Depth
Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, and Alex Rodriguez aren’t going anywhere, which means if you’re an infielder in this team’s farm system, you have two paths to the big leagues: become a bench player like Eduardo Nunez or get traded. We know that several clubs have expressed interest in Nunez in the past, plus David Adams was supposed to be part of the Cliff Lee trade until he smashed his ankle. The Yankees still have those two to market as well as Corban Joseph, who’s been played very well in Triple-A. I do think Brandon Laird and Ramiro Pena is valueless at this point, however.

* * *

As Brian Cashman likes to say, no one is untouchable but some are more touchable than others. I don’t think they would consider trading Ivan Nova or Phil Hughes unless it was part of a major package with a star caliber player coming back, which seems unlikely at this point. If/when the Yankees swing a deal at the deadline, they won’t have any aces up their sleeve. Their closest to the Majors prospects are back-end pitchers and their highest ceiling prospects will take years to get to the show. Then again, the team’s best asset at the deadline just may be it’s ability to absorb salary.

Categories : Trade Deadline


  1. Smart Guy says:

    am i the only one who thinks the yankees need a better hitter and not pitching? i could be wrong but i believe our main problem is hitting when it counts, not leading the league in homers or stacking up personal numbers when the team is already ahead.

    maybe a Left fielder, hunter pence? that would be an upgrade

    dump andruw jones, get mustelier for his spot

    cc and andy come back and walla, problems resolved

  2. jay destro says:


  3. Luisergi says:

    Boy i’d look for a catcher… but honestly i can’t find a real/good match.

    Anybody not missing Posada’s era??

    • Kosmo says:

      you´re right not alot of potential trade candidates but I´d consider these 3 :
      Ramon Hernandez- he might be done as an offensive player but I´m sure Colorado would trade him. Lightning in a bottle ?
      John Jaso-LHH can hit with a little pop but not the greatest D catcher.
      Max Ramirez- Hitting well for triple A Omaha. KC now has Perez back and Pena as a servicable backup.

    • norm says:

      Martin is below the Mendoza line. He should be in little league. What a bum.

  4. blake says:

    I think they need a bat….either outfield, DH, or a catcher upgrade much more than they need pitching either in the rotation or bullpen….finding one of those is the tricky part. I like their rotation when everyone gets healthy and the hopefully will have bullpen help coming in the 2nd half.

    • viridiana says:

      Unless CC is out for longer than we expect, count me in the bat-first camp. This team has survived its lack of clutch hitting but it could use a solid line-drive contact hitter. Ideally, he would be a young outfielder. Or perhaps an older slightly overpriced outfielder who might even fit in to the 2014 budget. I think the best point is the piece is the last — Yanks major trading asset is ability to absorb salary. Under no forseeable circumstances would I deal Sanchez, Austin or Williams. Their trade value is still far from ripe and with so many guys ageing and the new CBA, simply must hold on to upper-tier prospects.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      They’re 2nd in MLB in wOBA.

  5. blake says:

    Would the Phillies trade Ruiz? What would they ask….probably a lot?

    • Toyota Kuroda says:

      The way he’s playing, yes. But man he would be nice! Kinda wish Molina or Montero didn’t sign extensions.

    • Bunt Gardner says:

      The problem is you would be paying for this year’s version Ruiz. Not to say he isn’t normally a good catcher, but I doubt at age 33 he’s suddenly discovered the secret to hitting.

      • JohnnyC says:

        Phillies media guys say Ruiz is buffed this year. Wanted to get stronger over the off-season. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

  6. Andy Pettitte's Fibula (former Manny's BanWagon) says:

    They really need to address the catching fiasco. It’s bad enough neither catcher can hit a lick but our 2 have been pretty putrid defensively too.

    Cashman should be grateful that Martin didn’t sign that 3/$30 million extension this spring which would have easily moved into his top 5 biggest screw ups.

    • Chad Gaudin the Friendly Ghost says:

      That sort of begs the question in my mind, what is Martin worth after this year? He’s certainly not worth 3/30. He’s starting to look an awful lot like Kurt Suzuki before this year who looks overpaid with a 4/16.

  7. Rich in NJ says:

    They need a starting catcher. I have no idea if one is available or what the cost would be.

    • Luisergi says:

      Probably Santana form Cleveland??? i don’t know…

      • Knoxvillain says:

        I’m pretty sure he just signed an extension. There really aren’t any catchers out there worth trading for that are available. They all suck.

        • Crime Dog says:

          There’s a huge gap in catchers. There’s the McCanns, Poseys, and Yady Molinas of the world (who are most certainly not available) and then there’s the scrap heap. Not much in the realm of usable pieces.

          • jjyank says:

            This, and the catchers that are on the trade block will likely cost way more than they’re worth. I would much, much rather bank on Martin turning it around.

            • Andy Pettitte's Fibula (former Manny's BanWagon) says:

              The fact is there are probably no realistic catching upgrades available for a reasonable price but as for “banking” on Martin turning it around, I wouldn’t count on it. He was terrible in 2010 and he’s been terrible for the Yankees in 2011and 2012 aside from the first month or 2 when he started out on fire.

  8. Toyota Kuroda says:

    Do you guys think the Marlins will sell or is it too early?

    • Gonzo says:

      That run in May should give them some hope going forward. I also imagine they have to try and make a run in the first year of that park and all those acquisitions.


      • Reggie C. says:

        An assessment that I agree with though it bears mentioning that the Heath Bell returns have been shockingly poor.

  9. Paul VuvuZuvella says:

    I just don’t see the trade flexibility here for the Yankees. I wouldn’t expect anything more than receiving a salary dump or just making a minor acquisition.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      What more than that do they need?

      Low minors guys are consistently used for some of the most attractive pieces on the trade market, though, so I can’t agree they don’t have te flexibility. I think it’s just a matter of not needing to pay theough the nose for a minor upgrade.

  10. Rob says:

    This is so right on point for what I expected from the Yankees this year. With the bad history of “over valuing or hyping” their kids in the minors by calling them prospects – we have nothing to offer. Our kids that come up and get these shots usually fail miserably and are in there mid 20′s. With over 90 million committed to only 3 players with steep decline in 2 of them, Good Luck!!I would seriously consider releasing Afraud at the end of the year. Happy Forth of July to everyone!!

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Ah yes, the release A-Rod, pay his full salary anyway, and play Brandon Laird at third base solution. Surefire way to improve the team.

      • Chad Gaudin the Friendly Ghost says:

        I’m not sure which brand of Yankee fan I find more difficult to have conversations with, virtual or IRL:

        The ‘get rid of A-Rod/Teixeira and their ridiculous contracts’ crowd or the ‘let’s trade Nunez and Phelps for Troy Tulowitzki/CarGo (or fill in outlandish trade scenario here)’ crowd.

    • Angelo says:

      This is why I avoid reading the comment section.

    • viridiana says:

      “Miserable failures”: Cano, Hughes, Nova, D-Rob, Jeter, Pettitte, Mo. Good thing these guys haven’t cluttered up the roster last few years.

  11. Eric S says:

    And happy April Fool’s Day to you sir!

  12. Reggie C. says:

    Jr Murphy makes an interesting prospect. He’s the type that if he improves at the plate, even marginally, would certainly draw teams’ attention. Murphy may not hit well with balls put into play, but he doesn’t appear to strike out much and he does seem willing to take a walk. Murphy is more than org filler right now.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Murphy did start hitting in High A before being promoted. I don’t think he was ever viewed as org filler. Certainly may become that, but has been treated like a prospect and viewed as one o their better ones by the media.

  13. NYCSPORTZFAN says:

    I have said this for a week now, but i’ll say it again, the yank should be all in on Carlos Quentin and Huston Street.. At least try for one or the other if u can’t aquire both..

    As i’ve said for Quentin, he’d really give us some “pop” and a solid batter overall from the Right side of the plate, where guys like Alex, Russ Martin, Tex, and even swish, just aren’t getting it done.. We just gotta get a solid bat on the right side.. Also, when garner comes back, being able to fall back on Quentn when a Lefty like David Price is on the mound, is priceless… Theres a big diffrence between Andruw Jones and Quentin, and i don’t care what anyone thinks… Also, Quentin can DH on occasion, and when hes on the bench, and is with CHavez, being able to fall back to not one, but 2quality players like Chavez and Quentin would be so ideal..

    As for Huston Street, hes had plenty of success aginst the AL EAST, dominating against all the teams except Toronto, all though he hasen’t been horrendus against them either, and hes also gt a proven track record, unlike guys like Epply and Rapada, and Wade, and Logan for that matter.. All those guys have been terrible and seemingly picked it up for us at times, but as u see with Corey Wade, at any point, there true colors can be revealed… U end the game mixing and matching with Street, Robertson, Logan, Rapada, and Soriano, and possibly down the line Joba, and ur talking filthy bullpen..

    Also, both street and quentin aren’t ancient, and if they do well, could end up here for awhile, ala Nick Swisher… SUre, it’ll be fairly expensive trade, but i think it really puts us in the driver seat, and gives us a complete team….

    • Knoxvillain says:

      No thanks on Huston Street. He wouldn’t really improve the team since the bullpen is already great. Street would be the 7th inning man, not worth his cost.

      Same for Quentin, he will probably just cost too much also.

    • Knoxvillain says:

      No thanks on Huston Street. He wouldn’t really improve the team since the bullpen is already great. Street would be the 7th inning man, not worth his cost.

      Same for Quentin, he will probably just cost too much also.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      You don’t seem to be addressing cost at all. What should they be willing to give up to get those two?

  14. nsalem says:

    I think that Chris Stewart is doing quite a good job at back-up catcher. Unless I misread, I don’t understand why you think he should be replaced.

    • Crime Dog says:

      Have you seen his defense? He’s atrocious back there. And he is hitting the emptiest .270 I have ever seen. Ground balls to the 3rd basemen for singles aren’t exactly sustainable.

    • jjyank says:

      He’s been way too bad defensively to warrant keeping the BUC job. If the Yankees have a BUC that can’t hit, he should a least be above average defensively, which he has not been.

  15. Cuso says:

    Wonder if Derosa can be had from Nats.

    • Paul VuvuZuvella says:

      Don’t think they’d be selling.

      • Cuso says:

        I don’t know if they’d consider him a sell, though. He just came back from injury and isn’t really guaranteed ABs. They have Espinosa/Desmond starting in 2B/SS. They have speedy Bernandina as the swingman for backup middle IF and 4th outfielder. Morse, Harper and Ankiel in OF with Werth coming back in late July.

        Derosa may actually be trade bait for them.

  16. Robinson Tilapia says:

    “We need a new catcher” is today’s new bone to chew on, I see.

    • jjyank says:

      Apparently. But I do think the Yankees could use a BUC that’s better than Stewart.

      • Kosmo says:

        Jaso, Ramon Hernandez and Max Ramirez all come to mind. They could all give NY abs. Jaso is LH so could easily platoon with Martin. Ramirez once a top rated prospect and now at the age of 27 is hitting quite well at triple A Omaha. All these catchers are expendable. Not the cream of the crop but I´d take a flyer on anyone of them.

      • stuart k says:


    • Cuso says:

      Where’s Dirty Don Slaught when you need him?

  17. viridiana says:

    With all due respect to Mike, who does a great job, I think there’s one other category of trade bait. Quietly, a number of the Yanks’ second tier prospects in AA have really begun to tun the corner. Melky Mesa has dramatically cut down on Ks — a pretty rare feat for a minor leaguer — and is hitting over .280, with power, speed and defense. Z. Almonte is on a bit of a power tear. A. Almonte has stolen 30 bases, is a very solid defender and only just now turning 23 seems like he will hit for average. Add David Adams, now also over .280 and really warming up, and that’s four guys with value. These guys are not super-stars but they may have turned the corner in time to help the Yanks on the field or in trade mart.

    • Cuso says:

      Mesa has no value in a July trade. It’s a seller’s market this year with the additional WC. These names may be throw-ins in potential Winter Meeting trades, but they fall short in making any GM salivate come the Trade Deadline. GMs are looking for meat and potatoes in July, not hors d’oeuvres

      • Ted Nelson says:

        I disagree. A lot of small deals and dumps happen at the deadline. For the relievers and bench players likely to be atop the Yanks’ shopping list those are the type of fringe prospects with some potential that the Yankees might be willing to give up and a team might be willing to take.

        No GM will salivate over them, but at the same time we might not be salivating over the Austin Kearns, Kerry Wood type players the Yankees might be bringing back.

        • Cuso says:

          You completely disregard the crux of my point.

          This year is DIFFERENT than other years where “deals and dumps ” happen. It is a sellers market because of the extra WC.

          We can’t get these pieces with Zachary McCalister now because more teams are buyers. They can get better than Melly Mesa from the Pirates, Mets, Nationals and Royals for example. Whereas last year they had only one or two possible trade partners other than the Yankees.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            You completely disregard my entire point. I read your point, and I disagree with it. A sellers market doesn’t mean middle relievers and 5th OFers suddenly become worth top 100 prospects. One extra playoff spot doesn’t mean all logic goes out the window.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            I read it, and still disagreed. There will still be marginal guys out there available for marginal returns. A sellers market doesn’t mean prices rise exponentionally.

          • Preston says:

            Usually those dumps of 5th OFers and bull-pen pieces are mainly done for salary relief not for the fringe prospect they get in return. I don’t think the Pirates, Mets, Nationals and Royals are willing to take on salary like the Yankees for the marginal upgrade of a bench or middle relief player.

  18. LiterallyFigurative says:

    I’m not a big trade-prospects-for-one-magic-bullet type of guy.

    I don’t think a bundle of Charleston kids for Cole Hamels makes a ton of sense for either side.

    The starting pitching isn’t a problem. I know in Yankee land 1 week = eternity. But CC will be back and I think Freddy/Phelps can handle the 5th spot. Kuroda, Nova and Hughes have been anywhere from good to great, so I see no need to worry about them.

    The most you’d be looking for when it comes to the bullpen is a Cory Wade replacement. Aardsma’s setback hurts, but I don’t see the point in trading away anything useful for a 6th inning guy. Eppley and Rapada can mix and match those outs. Maybe a multiple inning guy (Mitchell or Phelps) would be more useful with all the short inning/matchup guys we already have.

    Offense is an issue, but outside of LF until Gardner returns, what can you do? Most teams barely have 1 decent catcher. With the second wild card, who would be a real seller? Ibanez/Jones haven’t been great, but all I really ask out of them is HR’s and RBI’s.

    Let’s be real about this offense. The SS hasn’t hit for the better part of 2 months. The 3B seems as if he can’t drive the ball anymore. The 1B comes and goes with the power. These 3 guys aren’t going anywhere. They have to step it up. Cano and Granderson have been doing their thing, but not too many other regulars have been pulling their weight, and that needs to change.

    If our season comes down to Cory Wade, Freddy Garcia, Chris Stewart and Dewayne Wise, then we’ve been Fucked since Opening Day.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Offense is #2 in wOBA, so I don’t ser what you’d do there. A bench player or two, but even the bench is pretty solid.

      The season doesn’t come down to those guys, but if you’re going to win the WS you’ll probably get/need some help from unexpected places along the way.

      • Preston says:

        I think our team would benefit greatly from a C or OF/DH type. A catcher probably isn’t realistic, but if Gardner doesn’t come back soon, we should try and get an offensive and or defensive upgrade for LF.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          I don’t really like their chances of getting a C who is better than Martin. People whine about his, and then praise or even pine for guys like McCann, Santana, Montero, or Arencibia who are struggling just as much. Obviouslt WAR metrics don’t capture C defense well, but I think Martin is at least a league average starting C. I see no one who is better and likely to be available.

          Maybe a back-up who deserves more burn than Stewart… but Cs are expensive so I’d put it like 50/50 they find decent value.

          I can see a 5th OF. Seems like Gardner is expected back right around the deadline, though, so may be hard to get a read. Not sure how much a 5th OF will help the offense.

  19. yankeefan says:

    Ronny Paulino Of The orioles just because he’s my friend and would benefit with him been with the yankees :D Free games lol

  20. Ted Nelson says:

    Wouldn’t particularly say that they need starting pitching. The rotation is stacked both in terms of quantity and quality. I doubt that the upgrade would be worth the cost.

    I also don’t think it’s tough to build a package around low minors guys. The other Javy trade is another example. Happens all the time and happens with some of the best pieces traded. I think it’s unlikely that they’ll make a deal large enough to require the inclusion of a big 3 Tampa guy, but recent evidence is that those guys should have a ton of value.

    • Cuso says:

      Again. This year is not “most” years. The landscape is different with more teams in the playoff hunt. Your low level minor deals aren’t as sexy as they were in past years because the amount of buyers has greatly increased. You cannot apply past Trade Deadline thinking to this year.the market is different.

      • Preston says:

        You say that without knowing that it’s true. The market may be influenced that way by the extra WC but we haven’t seen this play out yet. Maybe the extra WC will encourage more teams to stand pat knowing that they might get that WC spot without mortgaging the farm and GM’s won’t necessarily pay more for players just because there are fewer of them.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Yeah, I think less activity is more likely than teams suddenly valuing players drastically higher. Teams can try to leverage their power due to lack of supply, but at some point buyers will just walk away and stand pat. Or look to the Russell Branyans in AAA with opt-outs and the Darnell McDonalds.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        Again, I think you are drastically overexaggerating. The world didn’t suddenly flip upside down. It’s a marginal change. Teams are unlikely to suddenly overpay drastically to maybe get in a game where they bave a 50% chance to maybe get in the playoffs.

        These were the top guys on the market, teams could have gotten high minors guys for Pence, Halladay, etc. They didn’t.

  21. Wayne says:

    Is there any reason to think they would trade Jose Ramirez. I hope not!!!!!

  22. FreeAgentSignee says:

    We need another LH. Rapada is only good against LH’s. We need someone who is good against LH’s and RH’s.

  23. FreeAgentSignee says:

    We need another LH RP. Rapada is only good against LH’s. We need someone who is good against LH’s and RH’s.

  24. FreeAgentSignee says:

    We need another LH RP. Rapada is only good against LH’s. We need someone good against RH’s and LH’s.

  25. FreeAgentSignee says:

    We need another LH RP. Rapada is only good against LH’s. We need someone good against LH’s and RH’s.

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