Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Finding The Next Great Swish/C-Grand-Type Trade Candidate

Barring a a big-time unexpected swerve, the Yankees seem pretty well set in their plans to not add significant payroll this offseason as they try to address their team needs.  They've engaged pretty much every older free agent from last year's team in some capacity while letting the younger, more expensive ones walk.  If there is going to be any real effort towards improving the quality of the on-field product next year and not just controlling the dollars, that effort may have to come through the trade market, a roster-building medium with which Cash has great familiarity.

The Montero-Pineda deal aside, Cash has had a pretty successful recent track record adding productive pieces in their prime to the aging core of his lineup, most notably with the now departed Nick Swisher and the likely soon-to-be departed Curtis Granderson.  Both of those moves followed a similar formula- seeking out and adding sub-30-year-old players with skill sets that fit the Yankee mold who were coming off seasons of significant decline in production.  It's the classic buy-low method and there's no argument to be made for the Swish or Granderson deals not being good ones in terms of the production they brought to the team.

There are some names out there that could fit that similar mold of what Cash has looked for when making trades to bolster the lineup, some of which everybody knows and some that haven't been considered nearly as much.  There's been no real indication that the Yankees will make a move for any of these players, but if Cash is playing opossum again, here are 4 guys who would make a lot of sense to go after.

And The AL East Plot Thickens...

Points for effort and creativity on the part of the Toronto Blue Jays, who swooped in and got themselves a pretty nice haul yesterday in their massive 12-player salary dump trade with the Florida Miami Marlins.  With the Yankees still being on top looking down, the Orioles coming off a successful season and getting involved in the running for Josh Hamilton, the Rays holding a lot of valuable trade chips of their own, and the Fraud Sawx signing... David Ross to be their... backup catcher... whatever, Toronto had to do something drastic to keep up with the Joneses and this was it.

I'm not going to get into the nitty-gritty analysis here, but suffice it to say that the Jays improved the top of their lineup, improved their starting rotation, and improved their bench depth with this trade.  Add a healthy Jose Bautista back into the mix and this could be a much more effective offseason approach than the "hope our young starters come around" tactic they've used the past few seasons, and should make the AL East even more competitive than it already is.

To that point, how will this big swing by Toronto affect the Yankees' offseason plans, if at all?  On the one hand, this aggressive bid to compete for the division title could and normally would be the type of thing to make the Yankee front office scrap its payroll slashing plans and make some big moves of their own to beef up their roster.  On the other, this type of blatant fire sale by Jeffrey Loria could be exactly what reinforces the Steinbrenners' belief that getting under the luxury tax threshold is the right thing to do so they aren't cutting more checks to help line Loria's pockets.  Stay tuned, sports fans...