Sunday, July 22, 2012

How "In On Everybody" Are The Yankees, Really?

(How much does this guy really know?)

Jon Heyman helped stir the trade talk pot with his report yesterday that the Yankees were "in on everybody" in looking for a replacement for Brett Gardner in left field.  His report built off of some of the already-existing rumors out there connecting the Yankees to guys like Shane Victorino, Denard Span, and Justin Upton, and also off of Thursday's news that Gardner will have arthroscopic surgery on his injured elbow and will likely miss the remainder of the season.  There hasn't been a whole lot of real evidence to support the Yankees really being THAT interested in any of the available trade targets, despite Heyman's quoting of a "rival executive," and in my opinion there's too much about these 3 that doesn't fit with the Yankees for any of them to be considered serious trade targets right now.

Victorino- Probably wouldn't come cheap in terms of prospects if the Phillies stick to their early hardball tactics, and definitely won't cheap in terms of money if the Yankees were interested in signing him long-term.  Victorino is 31 years old, starting to decline, and reportedly not handling it well, and it would not be worth the Yankees' time or money to go through another aging player's identity crisis like they did with Jorge last season.  If he isn't a good fit as a long-term lineup option, why overpay for a rental who might not give you that much in return?

Span- Lot to like about the skill set in terms of being a straight replacement for Gardner.  Span can work counts and draw walks (9.7% career BB rate), play above-average defense in multiple outfield positions, run the bases well, and is under team control at a very friendly rate for the next couple years.  But Span doesn't hit for much power at all, and future budget constraints or not, the Yankees aren't likely to put a pair of corner outfielders on the field who don't hit for power.  The Twins are also asking for a lot in return, and that's a lot to give up for a guy who won't replace the power the Yanks could lose in Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson.

Upton- I weighed the pros and cons on him earlier in the week, and the latest news makes an offseason trade look more likely than a deadline one.  The D-backs are probably just testing the waters to see how much interest there is in Upton, and the discussions it would take to come to an agreement on proper prospect compensation likely aren't the type that can be hammered out in a little over a week.  Adding someone of Upton's caliber really doesn't fit Cash's recent MO either.  He looks to plug the little holes at the deadline and rock the boat in the offseason.  And for the prospect haul it would take to get him, the Yankees would be wise to not rush into this deal right now and give themselves time to do all their homework on Upton.

Rick Ankiel's name has also been dropped, but I don't see much materializing from that.  The fact is, the Yankees are still getting very good production from their left field-by-committee group right now, and there's not much motivation to go fixing something that isn't broken when you're in the situation the Yankees are in. 

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