While I personally think the Yankees should be sellers due to the amount of age, injuries, and mediocrity on this current club, it’s clear they see themselves as still in the race in trading for Alfonso Soriano. Currently, they are seven games back in the loss column behind Tampa Bay and Boston for the division since they dropped both series against the two clubs. Since May 25th, they’re just 25-32 thanks to a horrible offense and mediocre starting pitching sans Hiroki Kuroda.
Fortunately, they are still two back in the loss column behind Baltimore for the second wild card spot so all hope is not lost, especially with the return (AGAIN) of the Captain. Still, they have plenty of work to do if they are gonna make a run at the playoffs. They boast arguably the best bullpen in baseball, so the focus should primarily be on the lineup and the rotation.
1. Third-base: Yankees 3B provide the worst production at the position in baseball, putting up an atrocious .219/.278/.291/.569 line. The second worst 3B production is the Marlins with an OPS 39 points higher. With Kevin Youkilis likely gone for the year and Alex Rodriguez likely to be suspended for his involvement in BioGenesis, GM Brian Cashman needs to look to the trade market for a steady fill in at the hot corner.
The best choice would be Aramis Ramirez since the Brewers are horrendous and Ryan Braun is gone for the year for his involvement in BioGenesis. Ramirez is currently on the DL and has only played in 54 games this year but has put up a solid .271/.359/.414/.773. The injury concern and age is the only thing that should stop Cashman from trading for him. Other targets include San Diego’s Chase Headley (105 OPS+) who will probably cost some good prospects to get, and Michael Young (104 OPS+) even though the Phillies are still deluding themselves that.
2. First base: Mark Teixeira is out for the year, and Lyle Overbay hasn’t really provided much since the beginning of June. The potential market for first baggers is very rich. The Mariners could again be partners in a deal with the Yankees: Mike Morse (119 OPS+), Justin Smoak (122 OPS+), and Kendrys Morales (132 OPS+) all are instant updgrades over Overbay
3. Sell off: Just because the Yankees aren’t sellers, doesn’t mean they still can’t trade people off. Phil Hughes is the biggest trade piece they have, arguably as he is a rental. Although extemely inconsistent and mediocre (4.58 ERA), he can survive in the National League in a huge ballpark. Teams in the Senior Circuit desperate for pitching will be interested. The Braves will need an arm after Tim Hudson suffered that gruesome ankle injury. Turner Field could be a friendly fit for Hughes, as could Dodger Stadium.
With Hughes gone, Ivan Nova and David Phelps (currently on the DL) both can hold the fort beautifully at the back end of the rotation. They have to get Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia back on track if this team is going to make the playoffs. They also need to get rid of Joba Chamberlain, also soon to be a free agent. Just a change of scenery, because he’s worthless here.
4. Catcher: The Bronx “Bombers” have another giant black hole at the backstop position. The collection of Chris Stewart, Austin Romine and a brief season of Francisco Cervelli has put up numbers in the bottom third in the majors in production.
Unfortunately, the market for a catcher is very dry. The best options aren’t very pretty. John Buck has a .585 OPS since May 4th and Ryan Doumit has an 86 OPS+, but he’s raked in a small sample at Yankee Stadium. Still, they’re both upgrades over Chris Stewart.
5. Cut Bait: Management is still apparently committed to cutting the payroll to $189 million next season. Vernon Wells is on the hook for just $2.4 million, so they need to look into trading or out-right releasing him, especially after acquiring fellow right-hander Soriano. They also need to look into cutting Travis Hafner and Kevin Youkilis, as they are both on the DL and have been very unproductive when on the field.
CF Brett Gardner
SS Derek Jeter
2B Robinson Cano
1B Kendrys Morales
3B Aramis Ramirez
LF Curtis Granderson
DH Alfonso Soriano
RF Ichiro Suzuki
C Ryan Doumit
Totally un-realistc, but you never know.